Help a Friend

Emergency? Determine if everyone is safe. Are there weapons? Are other persons, especially children, in the vicinity? In all life threatening situations, please call RI Emergency 911 directly.

Did you know that most people who die by suicide show warning signs?

If you notice warning signs in a friend you care about, you are in a position to help.  You need to take that responsibility seriously.  You would not hesitate to assist your friend in a medical emergency that involved an accident or trauma, and it is important that you help when your friend is depressed or suicidal.  Because suicide is so often linked with mental illness, your friend may not be able to get the help he or she needs without you.  We are providing  important information that can help you help your friend.   Let your friend know you care and understand.  Be ready to listen.

Suicide is considered a missed opportunity in prevention. It is also NOT a one size fits all problem. The challenges of one person may not be the challenges of another.

Ask “Are you suicidal?”

It is a myth to believe if you ask the thought will be planted and the outcome inevitable.   Tell your loved one, it’s ok to talk to you, that you love and care about them and don’t want them to die. Show you care by asking in a calm, concerned manner. Do not act shocked or afraid.  Overreacting, speaking in a judgmental manner or closing the door with advice will push your loved one away. Take the time to listen, patiently. Ask your loved one what is bothering him or her the most. The answer may provide a clue to the problem and ways in which you can help.

Offer to go with your loved one as he or she seeks care

Often times, a depressed person is so hopeless and despairing he or she is unable to seek help.  Offer to go along. Encourage your family member or friend to give his or her permission for you to speak on their behalf to emergency, primary and behavioral health care providers. Present your list of concerns, observations and all background information.

Tell Someone!

Feelings of depression and suicide are treatable, with the right help. It can be a huge burden to know that a friend is suicidal. The idea that suicide may be preventable with the right help should guide your decision to break the confidence. If the suicidal person confronts you about breaking the confidence, tell him or her that you did it because you care and you don’t want

that person to die. A good friend would always tell a trusted adult when another friend shares the fact that he or she is contemplating suicide.

To better understand the breadth of the problem and how to address it, we encourage you to read:

How to Help Friends Who are Depressed or Suicidal

Emergency Checklist: What to do when a family member or friend threatens suicide

Frequently Asked Questions

Why Seek Professional Help?

To learn how to refer your friend.

Learn where to find help in your community.

It is our hope that this site will help provide you some of the information, tools and resources to help you identify at-risk youth and know how to assist them in getting help before a tragedy occurs. Prevention begins with education.