You might have a friend who is talking about suicide, or you might be wondering if your friend is at risk of hurting themselves. If your friend is showing a big change in how they are feeling or acting, you might want to ask them what’s going on.
Other warning signs that someone might be thinking of suicide are:
- talking about wanting to die or talking about death a lot (for example, saying “it would be better if I wasn’t here anymore”)
- being really sad or down
- using drugs and alcohol to deal with life’s problems
- no longer being involved in activities they once enjoyed
- not taking care of themselves or their body
- putting themselves in harm’s way
- any other change in personality
Questions you could ask if you are worried about someone
- Are you thinking about suicide?
- Are you thinking about ending your life?
- Do you have a plan to do this?
- Do you have a way to carry out your plan?
- When are you thinking about doing this?
What to do
If the person answers yes to any of the questions above, here are some choices:
- Talk to an adult right away about your thoughts and feelings (Elders, parents, aunts, uncles, teachers, counsellors, or leader of your faith organization)
- Call a 24 hour help number (Kids Help Phone, Mental Health Helpline, or the Bullying Helpline). The Get Help tab on this page can direct you to resources to assist you as well as the Emergency Numbers page on the Home page of MyHealthAlberta.
- If you are unsure who to call, call 811 to get some assistance
- Call 911 or go to the nearest emergency department if the person you are worried about has hurt themselves
If that individual asks you to keep it secret, let them know that you can’t keep this info to yourself. You might feel like it is hard to tell an adult or feel conflicted about sharing your friend’s secret, but in order to take care of yourself, and help your friend, you have to seek help. If you are looking for other individuals to talk to, you might feel safe talking to your school counsellor, your minister or spiritual leader in your faith organization, or an elder in your community.
So, if you sense someone might be considering ending their life, don’t keep silent. It is important to say something. Speak up and reach out!