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Worried about a friend?

If a friend tells you that they are thinking about hurting themselves, what should you do? What if your friend asks you to keep it a secret? Here are some tips for dealing with this difficult situation:

  • Ask questions. It can be awkward and uncomfortable to hear a friend talk about being sad or not wanting to live anymore, but it is important that you ask them if they are thinking about hurting themselves. Asking questions shows them that you care about their safety and well-being.
  • Take it seriously. Kids and adults who hurt themselves often tell others before they do it. They may post Facebook, Twitter, or Snapchat messages that are sad and worrying. Don’t assume that they won’t hurt themselves or that they are kidding. It is better to be wrong and take them seriously than to be wrong and NOT take them seriously.
  • Don’t keep secrets. Even if your friend made you promise not to tell anyone, remember that keeping it a secret could lead to no one helping your friend. People who are thinking about hurting themselves are usually suffering and not thinking clearly. Though it may feel like you are betraying your friend’s trust to tell someone else, you are actually doing your best to look out for your friend’s well-being because it means you are trying to help them. They may be mad at first, but they will likely thank you after they get help and start feeling better.
  • Get help quickly. When you hear that a friend is thinking about hurting themselves, it is important that you tell a teacher, counselor, or parent immediately. If you don’t think that the first person you tell is taking you seriously, tell someone else. Don’t try to handle this by yourself - there is help available! If you think your friend is on the verge of hurting themselves, click here for emergency contact information.
  • Why should I? Click here to see why you should always find an adult immediately if you know of someone who is talking about suicide.