If You Know Someone Who Might Be Suicidal
“ACT – Better an angry friend than a dead friend”
You don’t need to be an expert in suicide to make a difference. In fact, few of us are. You do, however, need to act. What you may need to overcome is a set of natural barriers – or inner voices – that can interfere with acting to prevent a teenage suicide. Those include:
- You may not know what to do.
- You might be afraid that you will make the person angry (or angrier).
- You could fear that talking about teenage suicide will make it worse.
- You may be afraid of being clumsy or awkward and making a mistake that makes matters worse.
- You might feel that getting involved will make you responsible for whether the person lives or dies.
Unfortunately, those are all natural responses to facing the need to act to support a potential suicidal teenager. Few of us are trained and experienced in working effectively with teenage suicide. That’s the bad news.
Acting to Prevent Teen Suicide
Actions. The good news is that there is a set of three core principles that you can follow and sets of effective actions that you can take in emergencies, in the short-term, and longer term. There are also important and genuine talking points about teenage suicide that you can use as common ground for connecting. In addition, there are a lot of resources here that you can rely on – from hotlines and videos to other websites dealing with teenage suicide.
- The Good News
- Start Here – “Notes to a Suicidal Teen”
- If in Immediate Crisis – Get Emergency Help
- What to Do – Actions to Take in Emergency or Non-Emergency Situations
- Pitfalls for Supporters
- What to Do – Longer Term Actions
Background and Resources. You can strengthen the foundation for acting by understanding the causes and signs of suicide, avoiding the misperceptions, having a general knowledge of the data, and having access to a wide array of resources. Those resources can be hotlines, videos, websites, etc. Remember – you don’t need to be an expert to act effectively. But having general knowledge can increase your focus as well as your confidence.
- Causes of Teen Suicide
- Signs of Suicidal Intent
- Common Misperceptions
- Resources – Hotlines, Websites/Textlines & Videos
The most beautiful people we have known are those that have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss and have found their way out of the depths. These people have an appreciation, an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.Elisabeth
This Site & the Larger Support Network
This site is not a substitute for emergency services, therapy, counseling or other sources of support for teenagers struggling with suicidal thoughts.
The site can be part of the network you rely on for supporting a suicidal teenager, but you need to add as many elements to the network as possible – supporting you and your friend or family member
The more resources that can be added to their support network – particularly over time – the better. Take advantage of the resources offered here, but also think about connections that can be made in school, faith communities, community organizations, online support groups, the neighborhood, extended family, etc.