Feeling suicidal or knowing someone you love is having suicidal thoughts can be scary. Here are some things that you can do to help (and some things to stay away from). Most of all remember that every life matters, someone is always willing to listen and everyone deserves support! If you are thinking of killing yourself or are in need of immediate support, please contact 911 or your local authorities, or access the Help page of TeenCentral for a list of support hotlines.
Pay attention to warning signs for yourself and others…
- Prolonged periods of sadness, despair and hopelessness
- Increased irritability, anger or rage
- Increased isolation- withdrawal from family, friends, activities or poor performance in school
- Increased use of substances, problems with authority
- Changes in eating or sleeping patterns, giving away belongings or bizarre behavior
- Suicidal thoughts, actions or threats
Remember that although you do want to keep an eye out for these signs, they are only risk indicators- they don’t always mean that someone is suicidal.
What to do if it’s you…
- Remember that these feelings are not permanent and can pass, even when they feel like they won’t.
- Pay attention to your thoughts and feelings- if you are feeling worse, seek help.
- Place yourself around safe people you trust.
- Remove yourself from unsafe objects.
- Seek professional help!
- Remember that the TeenCentral Help page has a list of available resources and helplines.
- Call the National Suicide Hotline- the number is 1-800-273-TALK. Program it in your phone for emergencies!
What to do if it’s someone you love…
- Let them know that these feelings are not permanent and can pass.
- Ask specifically if they are thinking of killing themselves.
- Stay with them- listen to them non-judgmentally.
- Remove unsafe objects.
- Encourage them to seek professional help- offer to go with them.
- Give them the number for the National Suicide Hotline- 1-800-273-TALK and encourage them to call.
Some things to stay away from…
- Don’t ignore how you feel- if you are having suicidal thoughts, don’t be afraid to seek help. These feelings can worsen quickly.
- Don’t ignore signs and symptoms in those you love and don’t shy away from talking about suicide, often the person who is feeling suicidal wants to talk but doesn’t know how. You will never put suicidal thoughts into someone’s head simply by talking about it.
- Don’t use guilt-remember that often a suicidal person already feels increased guilt.
- Don’t leave the person alone.