Have a game plan in place in the event that any one of your friends ever indicates they are struggling or thinking of hurting themselves. Don’t be afraid to talk to someone who seems to be depressed or hurting. At the very least, your friends will know there is someone who cares for them.
Talking about suicide does not give a person ideas about it. The opposite is true. If a person is depressed or unhappy, discussing their feelings openly and allowing them to express how they feel is one of the most helpful things you can do. Even if they have had suicidal thoughts, giving them permission to express those thoughts can relieve some of their anxiety and provide them an avenue to recognize other ways to escape their pain and sadness.
Always be prepared to approach a trusted adult when you are worried about a friend. Never tell someone that you will keep their thoughts or feelings a secret. Be willing to risk a friendship to save their life. Where could you go for help?
- Your favorite teacher/coach
- Guidance counselor
- Trusted adult
- Local mental health center
- Crisis line such as 1-800-Suicide (784-2433)
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255)
- Crisis Text Line – Text 741741
Another good way to “Be Prepared” is to download The Jason Foundation’s smartphone app “A Friend Asks.” It is a free app and includes such topics as 1) Warning Signs; 2) Elevated Risk Factors; 3) How to Help a Friend – the do’s and don’ts in helping; and 4) Resources. The app even has a “Get Help Now” button which connects to the closest certified Suicide Prevention Crisis Call Center that can help you or a friend. “A Friend Asks” is an easy way to have information and resources always as close as your smartphone. You will find a link to download this free app on the next page.