Here Are Five Ways You Can Help
1. Don’t be afraid to ask the tough question.
When somebody you know is upset and feeling hopeless, be direct and honest. Ask them upfront, “Are you thinking about killing yourself?” Encourage him or her to tell you the truth, and let them know that you will be there for them no matter what.
2. Keep your friend safe.
If your friend is thinking about suicide, ask them if they’ve thought about how they would do it. This information can then help you make it harder for them to go through with it. Ask them if you can hold on or separate them from any lethal means that they have in order to help keep them safe. Research shows that removing access to means for suicide is a very effective prevention approach.
3. Stay connected and available.
Research shows that when you’re available to a friend in crisis, it can reduce the risk of suicide. Say to your friend, “I’m here for you, right now and any other time you may need me.” Be present with them and stay connected. Don’t forget to tell them you will follow-up in a day or two, and do it. If you reassure them that they aren’t a burden to you, they will be more likely to reach out to you again if they’re still feeling distressed.
4. Get help as soon as possible.
There are resources such as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline that you can call, text or chat – 24/7/365 (http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/). You can also always reach out to clergy, therapists or teachers. Help your friend establish a list of other contacts so they will have options the next time they are feeling this way.
5. Know that getting help works!
Most people in crisis find help and get through it. They go on to experience life in ways that their despairing mind could never have imagined. By being a friend and following these tips, you can help make this happen.