Most young people in crisis don’t consider or attempt suicide. There may come a time, however, when someone you know and care about starts having a bad time or showing signs of suicidal behavior. Don’t be afraid to ask. Don’t be afraid of being wrong. It is estimated that 80% of those thinking about suicide want others to be aware of their emotional pain and to keep them from dying.
Talking about suicide or suicidal thoughts will not plant the idea in someone’s mind. Instead, it can come as a great relief to that person to know that someone cares.
It is also not true that people who talk about killing themselves will not actually try it. It is important for you to take them seriously.
You may know your friends better than their own parents do. And you may observe that something is bothering one of your classmates even when your teachers and guidance counselors don’t have a clue that anything is wrong. Sometimes it’s hard to get help for a troubled friend because you’re afraid they’ll accuse you of telling on them. Just remember that silence places you both at risk—your friend for death by suicide and you for tremendous feelings of guilt if that happens.
Never promise to keep information about suicide a secret.
Time can be crucial when dealing with a friend who is experiencing suicidal thoughts. It’s not unreasonable to regard these thoughts as a direct threat to your friend’s life. It is also not advisable to think that you can handle things on your own. You can’t. Nobody can.
Take the person seriously. Don’t assume they’re just being dramatic or wanting attention. And don’t be afraid of making them mad at you. Wouldn’t you rather have them alive?
Tell a trusted adult, someone who will know what to do. Get them the help they need.