Helping a Friend or Loved One

  1. Believe the person and take their concerns seriously.  Acknowledge the problems that they are facing, trying not to minimize their situation.  Avoid lecturing or telling them what to do.
  2. Be calm and understanding and listen.
  3. If you think this person may be suicidal, do not hesitate to ask them directly (“Are you thinking of suicide” “Are you thinking of killing yourself”).  This may be really hard to do but it shows that you care and that you were really listening.  If they say “Yes”, DO NOT make promises to keep a secret.
  4. Stay with the person, DO NOT leave them alone.
  5. Keep talking with them until someone can come and help.
  6. Get someone to contact a family member or a trusting adult relative/friend
  7. Suggest that they should get professional help as soon as possible, from a:
    • Hospital
    • Doctor
    • Counsellor, Psychologist
    • Clergy
    • Healer

    Possibly you could help them make the appointment and go along with them to
    help  them feel more comfortable.

  8. If the person is in immediate danger of harming themselves, someone should stay with the person until their out of danger. This doesn’t mean that has to be you, but it should be someone that you trust to get the help that is needed.
  9. If you cannot find someone to help and the person is still in immediate danger of harming themselves, call 911 and notify parents or guardian.
  10. After having to care for someone who is suicidal, make sure you take care of yourself as well.  Find someone you trust to talk to and tell them how you feel and what you’re thinking.