If you think they could be in danger of hurting themselves, tell somebody asap, perhaps their parents, school counsellor, trusted family friend or contact The Lowdown Team.

If they talk about suicide (even as a joke) start giving stuff away, or are saying goodbye to friends, these are signs you need to take seriously and do something about – even if you’ve promised not to. Their life is way more important.

Here are some ways you can help a friend who is suicidal:

  • Take it seriously
  • Acknowledge that their fear, sadness or despair is real
  • Make them feel valued and worthwhile
  • Acknowledge their problem
  • Be calm and understanding
  • Show your concern by listening carefully and ask questions
  • Ask if they’re thinking of suicide
  • Don’t promise not to tell
  • Suggest alternative solutions
  • Suggest they get professional help. And go along with them if they want you to
  • If you feel they are in immediate danger of harming themselves, don’t leave them alone. Get help.
  • If they refuse help or can’t help themselves, let their parents know what’s going on, unless it’s an emergency and you have to act straight away.

Finally, don’t forget to look after your safety as well. Don’t make it your problem alone. Make sure you take time out and talk the problem through with people you trust.

Take a look around the other sections of the site to help you understand what your friend might be going through (check the main menu).

You’ll also find ideas they can use to help themselves to feel better – you could even work together on them. The Common Ground site also has advice for supporting a friend through hard times.