Thoughts of suicide are serious.
If you need immediate assistance: Call 1-800-273-8255, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room.
How do I know if my friend is thinking about suicide?
The easy answer is, you probably won’t know for sure. But there are some signs you should watch out for:
Suicidal thoughts or plans. Maybe your friend says "I just want to swallow this whole bottle of pills and never wake up." Even if they say they’re just joking, you should take it seriously.
Talking about "not being around" or about death, even if they’re casual about it. People considering suicide say things like "Who cares, I won't be here anyway." This is serious stuff.
If your friend is extremely depressed or feels hopeless they may be considering suicide. They might say "I feel like I'm in a black hole and I can never get out. Things will never change."
Have you had a friend that cuts or burns himself? That kind of thing can lead to thoughts of hurting themselves even more.
Other things that can lead to suicidal thoughts:
- If they have depression, bi-polar disorder, or other mental illness
- They’ve lost someone close to them
- The break-up of a relationship
- Pressure to succeed in school, sports, etc.
- Family problems
- Low self-esteem
- If they’ve been abused sexually, physically, or verbally
- Problems with peers, including bullying behavior
- Family history of suicidal behavior
- Someone close your friend has committed suicide
If you see any of these signs, there are things you can do...
A lot of the time we’re scared to bring up something like suicide. But good friends talk about everything, and this is no different. Ask directly if he or she is thinking about suicide. And ask if they’ve made specific plans to take their life. Tell them how important they are to you, and that you’ll help them get through it.
Then, help your friend find someone trained to help, like a doctor, community health center, counselor, psychologist, social worker, youth worker, or minister. In Wyoming you can call 1-800-457-9312, or call 1-800-273-8255, and they can help you find someone. It’s totally anonymous to call.
If your friend has a detailed plan or seems ready to commit suicide and will not talk, he or she could be in serious danger. Don’t leave your friend alone, and find help immediately, even taking your friend to a hospital emergency room if you if you think there’s even a small chance they’ll hurt themselves.
Nobody wants to betray their friend’s trust. Even if it will piss your friend off, talk with someone you trust about your friend's situation so that you aren't carrying the burden by yourself. Don’t try to be a hero and try to handle the situation on your own. Your friend has a lot going on in their head that only professionals can help them work out.
Myth-Buster: Some people say that talking about suicide with someone who’s depressed or struggling will put the idea of suicide in their head. Or maybe if they’re thinking about it already, you’ll push them over the edge just by asking about suicide. Don’t believe it. When you ask someone you care about if they are considering suicide, you give them a chance to talk about something that’s probably a big secret they haven’t shared with anyone else – something that is probably eating them away inside. Asking them to share this with you may be one of the best things you can do.
Myth Buster: Some people think, “Well I’m close to this person. I can deal with this. I can fix the situation.” Don’t kid yourself. Suicide is bigger than any one person to handle alone. In most cases of suicide there is a lot going on – mental health issues, drugs or alcohol, and/or situations that the suicidal person just can’t handle anymore. This is the kind of stuff that trained and caring professionals can help with, but in every case you want as many resources brought in to help as possible. Don’t fool yourself into going it alone.