top of page

Recognizing and Handling Suicidal Thoughts: A Guide to Supporting a Friend in Crisis

Have you ever faced a time when you were worried about a friend? I mean, worried that they might want to die. Perhaps you were scared and didn't know what to say. Here are some ideas on how to recognize and handle this situation.

What might be some warning signs that someone is suicidal?

Their mood has taken a drastic downturn, or they just seem withdrawn. They may post or make statements that suggest they don't want to be here anymore or that life is overwhelming. They may make comments suggesting they feel like a burden to others or the world would be better off without them. They may talk about future events as if they are not there. They may express intense feelings of guilt or shame. They may express feeling like they have no reason to live. They may try to give away important belongings. They may have a sudden interest in buying a gun. All of these are signs that a person is considering suicide.

In times like these, it is best to be direct with the person. This is not the time to be polite or passive. If possible, go and see the person. Let them know you are worried and ask how they are feeling. You might say, "You seem really hopeless; what is going on?" After sharing your concern, ask specifically if they want to die. Ask, "Are you having thoughts about harming yourself?" If they say yes, ask, "Do you have a plan?" Ask the person if they have a weapon. If so, ask if they will give it to you. If they say yes to any of these questions, it is time to get help. If possible, notify the person's spouse or parent to gain help and support. The easiest way to get help is to call or text the national crisis line at 988 to speak to a crisis counselor. If the person seems to be in immediate danger, call 911 or take them to the nearest emergency room.

Your county may have a crisis assessment location. In Coweta County, Georgia, Pathways has a crisis assessment location on Hospital Rd. If the situation permits, take the person there. Do not leave the person alone until you have a plan of action.

Being direct with a friend in crisis, demonstrates your care and concern. Your friend will be grateful once their emotional crisis is over, and you will feel good about your actions.


bottom of page