Helping a Suicidal Friend

Self Help Resources  Helping a Suicidal Friend

If your friend needs someone to talk to when feeling depressed and/or suicidal, suggest that s/he call 1-800-273-TALK. All calls are private and confidential. This is a national suicide hotline and is toll free and operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Alternatively, you or your friend can talk to a CAPS therapist by phone (24/7) at 826-3236 or in person during normal business hours (M-F 8-5).

Suicide Prevention at HSU

Prezi on Understanding Self-Harm

What to Do

If You Feel A Friend Is Thinking Of Suicide

If someone you know is talking about suicide, please take this seriously and ask for help.

  • Do Not Be Afraid To Talk To Your Friend About Suicide Or Use The Word "Suicide." This will NOT put the idea in your friend's head or influence him/her to do it.
  • Try To Get Your Friend To Talk About What Is Going On In His/Her Life That Is Creating Such Negative Feelings. The more talking on your friend's part, the better.
  • If Your Friend Currently Possesses The Means For Suicide. (e.g., weapon, pills) Strongly suggest that s/he removes them from her/his immediate access (e.g., by turning the item over to the police or another trusted individual).
  • Try To Convince Your Friend That S/He Needs To Speak To A Trusted Elder: A Parent, Teacher, Coach, Counselor, Psychologist, Etc. Tell him/her that you want him/her to get more help than just you alone can give. Go with your friend to speak with this person, or make the call to a crisis hotline together.
  • Unless You Are Absolutely Sure Your Friend Is Seeking Help And Has Spoken To Someone About Suicide, You Should Speak To A Trusted Elder Or Healthcare Professional About Your Concern For Your Friend. It is better if you tell your friend you intend to do this.
  • If You Friend Asks You Not To Tell Anyone, Should You Keep The Secret? NO. There is no rule of confidentiality when it comes to potential suicide. It does no good to keep the secret and lose the person.
  • Your Friend May Be Angry And Try To Convince You That You Will Get Him/Her Into Trouble If You Tell. Your friend is at risk-you must act. All you can do is convey you are sincerely trying to help.

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Internet Resources

Promotes research, public awareness programs, public education, and training for professionals and volunteers. In addition, AAS serves as a national clearinghouse for information on suicide.

A national not-for-profit organization exclusively dedicated to understanding and preventing suicide through research and education, and to reaching out to people with mood disorders and those affected by suicide.

Suicide helplines and information

Information about challenges and issues faced by college students.

The Jed Foundation partnered with Facebook and the Clinton Foundation to create this guide to help college students identify potential signs of emotional distress. The guide includes advice about how to talk to a friend who may be struggling and how to connect them with the help they may need.

Interactive web-site from the Columbia University Health Services. Includes lively answers to questions commonly asked by college students in many areas, including general health, sexuality, fitness and nutrition, drugs and alcohol, relationships, and emotional well-being.

Mental Help is an organization providing information about depression, diagnoses, and treatment.

Informational web page provides information about university students, depression, bipolar disorder, and suicide prevention.

The Unabridged Student Counseling Virtual Pamphlet Collection

Suicide helplines and information


Apps for iOS and Android

  • ASK & Prevent Suicide: includes warning signs associated with suicidal behavior, what to do, access to crisis lines. Free.
  • Jason Foundation A Friend Asks: how to help a friend who might be thinking of suicide. Provides warning signs, do's and don'ts, and the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, etc. Free.
  • QPRBook: For suicide prevention. A book available in Spanish and English for those thinking about suicide and for those who know, love, and counsel them. Highly recommend. (As an alternative, you can also download the book to your computer in pdf or view it online). Free.
  • Spill--Get real about life anonymously. Hear honest opinions from people who can relate. For people in high school, college, graduate school, & beyond. Share stories, advice, encouragement and empathy with one another. Spill has long been available on the web and now has this handy app as well. Free.


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Self Help Resources  Helping a Suicidal Friend