Are you worried about someone?
If someone you know is in immediate danger, please dial 911 immediately or take them to the emergency room.
Worrying about someone you care about can feel uncomfortable, scary, and even confusing. Never underestimate comments about self-harm or suicide. You can make a difference by listening and knowing when to intervene.
Here are some tips on approaching someone you feel may be in danger:
- Talking about your concerns can be uncomfortable for both people. Choose a place that you both feel comfortable, but is still a private setting.
- Even if other people are concerned about your loved one, you never want to make them feel ambushed or attacked. Talking to them one-on-one is always recommended.
- There is no way to predict the length of the conversation. Keep in mind it may be short; however, make sure you have plenty of time in case they do open up and need to talk. You never want to stop the conversation.
- Have a backup plan in case you need extra assistance. That could be a parent, teacher, or local health professional. Even though your friend may feel angry temporarily, your priority is to keep them safe.
- Always have resources available to give to them. You can use our resource tab or you may want to utilize your local counseling/mental health services. Offering to be there for their first call or first appointment may give them the support they need to follow through.
- Stay confident that you’re doing the right thing. You are keeping them safe out of love. Your friend may not appreciate your concern and you could be met with anger, denial, or rejection.
- It’s crucial to express your concern without seeming judgmental and instead encourage conversation and problem-solving.
Here are some ideas that might help get you started:
- I've noticed that you haven't been acting like yourself lately. I'm worried about you, is something going on?
- What can I do to help?
- How long have you been feeling this way?
- Have you spoken with anyone else about all of this?
- Can I help you find someone to see about your concerns?
- It makes me afraid to hear you talking about dying; there is hope for feeling better, can we talk to someone about this?
- Do you want me to walk with you to the counseling center?
- What do you feel like? What are you experiencing?
- Have you been having thoughts about trying to kill yourself?
- Have you ever had thoughts about hurting yourself?
- Do you think you might be in immediate danger?