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Someone you care about—a friend, family member, or co-worker—may be struggling with thoughts of suicide, perhaps without you realizing it. It may be difficult for this person to talk about the emotional pain they are experiencing, the thoughts they are having, and the need for help. You might want to ask about suicide but are worried about introducing or even encouraging the idea. It is important to know that talking about suicide does NOT put the idea in someone’s head. In fact, addressing the topic of suicide directly often provides relief and may reduce the risk of them acting on suicidal feelings.
By taking action to help a loved one—recognizing the warning signs, finding the words to start a conversation with someone you are concerned about, and reaching out for support—you have the power to make a difference, to help someone find their reasons for living.
The warning signs of suicide aren’t always obvious, but most suicidal people show some signs that they are thinking about suicide. The signs may appear in conversations, through their actions, or in social media posts. Knowing what to look for is the first step toward being there for a friend or family member in need.
If you observe one or more of these warning signs, especially if the behavior is new, has increased, or seems related to a painful event, loss, or change, take action, step in, and speak up:
If you sense something is wrong, trust your instincts. If you think a person is having thoughts of suicide, don’t leave them alone. If any of these signs are present, have a conversation and/or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.
TAKE ACTION: START A CONVERSATION
Few questions are as difficult to ask someone we care about. But when it comes to suicide prevention, none are more important. If you are concerned about someone, don’t hesitate. Here are some ways to get the conversation started.
You are not alone. The person you are concerned about is not alone. Help is available. To find local resources, visit www.suicideispreventable.org.
If you are in crisis or concerned about someone, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or visit www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/chat to use the Lifeline Chat. Trained counselors are available 24/7 to offer support.