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.

realityCheckTalking 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.

timeTime 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.

Silence can be deadly.

Warning signs are the earliest observable clues that a person may be considering suicide in the near-term (within minutes, hours or days).

Cause for Immediate Concern:

  • Threatening suicide or expressing a strong wish to die
  • Seeking access to lethal means--guns, medications, poisons
  • Talking or writing about death, dying or suicide

If it's you...

If you find yourself acting or feeling in one or more of these ways, get help immediately. Dial 2-1-1 in Vermont, a mental health professional , Call 9-1-1 for police or emergency services or Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255). You will reach a real person who can help, even if you only want to talk.

Or someone else...

urgentIf someone you know is behaving in any of these ways, get help right away. Stay with the person until professional help is available. Keep the person away from firearms, medications, alcohol and other substances which they might use to kill themselves or which might lower their resistance to causing themselves harm. Dial 2-1-1 in Vermont to reach a mental health professional, Call 9-1-1 for police or emergency services or Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255). You will reach a real person who can help. Never leave a suicidal person alone.

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