You may have heard that people who talk about suicide
won't actually go through with it. That's not true. People who talk about suicide
may be likely to try it.
Immediate warning signs that someone may be thinking of suicide include:
talking about suicide or death in general
looking online for ways to kill oneself or buying items to use in a suicide attempt
talking about feeling hopeless or having no reason to live
engaging in self-destructive behavior (drinking a lot of alcohol,
taking drugs, driving
too fast, or cutting, for example)
visiting or calling people to say goodbye
giving away possessions
What Can I Do?
If you have a friend who's talking about suicide or showing other warning signs,
don't wait to see if they start to feel better. Talk about it. Ask them directly if
they're having thoughts of suicide. Having someone care enough to ask these questions
can help save your friend's life.
Some people (both teens and adults) are reluctant to ask teens if they've been
thinking about suicide or hurting themselves. They might worry that, by asking, they're
planting the idea of suicide. Research has proven this to be 100% untrue. If you're
worried — ask.
Asking someone if they're having thoughts about suicide can be hard. It can help
to let your friend know why you're asking. For instance, you might say, "I've noticed
that you've been talking a lot about wanting to be dead. Have you been having thoughts
about trying to kill yourself?" Be prepared for their answer and be ready to talk
to a trusted adult at home or at school to get the help needed.
If your friend asks you to keep these thoughts a secret, let them know you care
about them and need to share this with a trusted adult. It may feel like you're betraying
your friend, but you should always tell a trusted adult.
Share your concerns with an adult as soon as possible. You also can turn to these
resources for 24/7 help:
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or
text CONNECT to 741741. You also can contact them through their
Trevor Lifeline for LGBTQ community: 1-866-488-7386 or text START
to 678678. You can also contact them through their
The important thing is to notify a responsible adult. It may be tempting to try
to help your friend on your own, but it's always safest to get help.