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TALKING TO YOUR FRIEND

“What if we went up to the school counselor? I know it sounds scary, but I really think it could help. I’ll go with you.”

Only 1 in 5 teens seek help for their depression or suicidal thoughts. Don’t hesitate to reach out to your friend and encourage them to seek mental health services and get the help they need.

If you are worried that a friend may be contemplating suicide, or if they are displaying warning signs, speak up. Remember: It’s not important how you ask, it’s important that you ask.

What to do if a friend comes to you for help

Don’t panic! Remain calm and remember that you can help.
Listen carefully. Let your friend know that you care. Be supportive and don’t judge them.
Take it seriously.
Seek help. Get a trusted adult to help you.
Ask if they are thinking about suicide.
Do not leave your friend alone. If you cannot stay with them, find someone you trust.

What NOT to do if a friend comes to you for help

Don’t promise to keep it a secret. It is important to get help.
Don’t be afraid to ask them directly.
Don’t say “I know how you feel”. Listen openly to what they have to say. Make it about them.
Don’t suggest that something is “wrong” with them because they feel this way.
Don’t ignore your friend. It takes courage to ask for help and they chose you.

How to start the conversation

Ask if you can talk with them alone in private.
Ask questions to get them to open up.

  • "I'm worried about you. How are you doing?”

  • “You haven’t been acting like yourself lately. Is everything okay?”

  • “You seem really down. Are you okay?”

Listen to their story and allow them to talk freely.
Express concern and caring. Ask if they have thought about ending their life.

  • “Are you thinking about suicide?”

  • “Do you want to kill yourself?”

Have resources available and encourage them to seek mental health services.

  • “Seeking help can take courage, but it’s the smart thing to do.”

  • “I know reaching out for help can be scary, but I want to help you.”

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