It was 11:30 pm when I got the first text, “Should I? Yes.”
After 30 minutes and no luck of trying to convince my friend to not swallow a handful of pills, I woke my parents and told them that my friend was about to take her own life. Two hours later and several calls to the local sheriff office, my parents and I did everything we could do. The next day, we were informed by my friend’s cousin that she was still alive and well.
Although it has been months since this experience, I still hold my phone a bit tighter at night. Since you never know when you may get a text like that from a friend, bookmark this list of ways to deal when your friend is thinking of suicide:
1. Insist they call or chat with the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255
The Lifeline counselors are available to help even if you’re not actively suicidal. When you call or chat, you’ll be transferred to a crisis worker who will listen to your problems and may be able to suggest mental health services around your area. Find out what happened when one You Matter blogger called the Lifeline.
2. Tell a trusted adult
No matter how scared you are, your friend’s life is at stake. There’s only so much a minor can do without an adult.
3. Don’t make deals
When your friend tells you to not tell anyone about their suicidal thoughts, don’t keep quiet. If no one knows, the chances them of receiving help are drastically lower.
4. Be a friend
If a friend confides to you about being suicidal, they trust you a lot. Listen, offer hope, be sympathetic, and most importantly, be yourself. They’re looking for help, not a runaway friend. Read what suicide attempt survivors wish their friends knew.
You have to remember that the only person you can control is yourself. Sometimes, you have no power over what others do. At the end of the day, you may feel like your friend will hate you for stopping them. Truthfully, your bond will grow stronger. They may not see it at first, but you have given them the most important gift of all: a second chance.