Worried about a Friend?

Ask. If you suspect a friend is depressed or thinking about suicide, ask them. Simply asking them will not give your friend the idea to commit suicide. Most depressed individuals have already had thoughts about death or suicide. They may be relieved you are asking questions like:

  • "I’ve noticed that you’ve seemed blue and have been keeping to yourself lately. What’s wrong?"
  • "Are you thinking about death or suicide?"
  • "Have you had thoughts about harming or killing yourself?"

Listen. Often one can be much more helpful as an active listener of your friend's thoughts and feelings rather than talking. Take the problem seriously. Seventy-five percent of people who commit suicide hint that they have a plan to do so.

Remain Calm. Avoid panicking. Not only will you keep a clearer head, but your friend may feel more comfortable expounding upon his or her feelings.

Be yourself. Try not to mouth simple platitudes like, "It'll get better," or "But you have so much to live for." Your friend most likely will not find this helpful. Rather, speak out of love and concern and show that you care about them as they speak.

Be caring. Your friend may try to put you off, but stay in touch. Reach out. Invite them to do things with you. Tell them how much you care.

Encourage professional assistance. Your friend opened up to you, because they could trust you. Encourage them to seek professional help and to enlarge their circle of support. You do not have to handle this alone. If your friend is a Drury student, contact one of the following resources:

  • Counseling Services —Findlay Student Center (down under) or @873-7418. Open M-F, 8 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
  • Campus Security —Findlay Student Center (down under). For emergencies, contact @873-7911. For nonemergencies, contact @873-7400.
  • Health Center —Findlay Student Center (down under) or @873-7218 for physical health concerns. Open M-F, 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Keep your friend alive. If all else fails, contact 911. It is better to have an angry friend than a dead one! If you are not with your friend, but in contact by phone or online, encourage a suicidal friend to call 911 on their own or to call a suicide hotline @1-800-273-TALK. Chances are your friend will thank you later.

Address your own needs. Helping a distressed friend can be stressful, draining, and sometimes frustrating. It may be useful for you to talk to someone or receive individual counseling to address your experience and feelings. Keep in mind that you are not responsible for another person's actions when they are stressed, depressed, or suicidal. Only they can help themselves.


Related Links:
Reacting to Stress & Problems
Signs & Symptoms of Distress
Suicide Danger Signals
Making a Referral
Online Screenings