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Female youth sitting on a basketballHow to Help a Troubled Friend

Harmful and Helpful Tips

When You Suspect Someone is Thinking About Suicide

Sometimes people may feel depressed or overwhelmed by their problems. Some may even think about killing themselves. A suicidal person may feel that s/he can't stop the pain, think clearly or see any other way out. They need help to cope with feelings of hopelessness and to gain control. Suicide is often preventable, and anyone can help a suicidal person get the help they need.

What is helpful

  • Listening to what your friend has to say without judgment
  • Repeating what you have heard in your own words so the person knows you understand them
  • Asking the person if they have a plan and a way to carry out the plan
  • Telling the person that you will help them to get help
  • Involving other people who are trained to deal with people in crisis

What may be harmful

  • Ignoring or minimizing the issue
  • Acting shocked or embarrassed
  • Challenging, bargaining, or daring the person
  • Giving harmful advice, such as drinking and drugging, to run away from the problem
  • Promising to keep suicidal plans a secret