When it comes to mental distress – trust your gut!
Things don’t always work out our way, and bad things happen. It’s normal to get upset during upsetting times. Be aware of your own feelings and emotions as well as your friends’ emotions. If you notice a friend not responding normally, there may be something wrong. Listen to your intuition and act.
HOW WILL I KNOW IF IT’S A CRISIS?
A friend is talking about, texting, posting or has written a note expressing a plan or intention to self-harm or take their own life
A friend talks about unbearable pain and ending that pain
Friend hears voices telling them to kill themselves
You are afraid to leave them for fear they will attempt suicide
You discover a friend has already made a non-lethal attempt (pills, cutting with intention to die, etc.)
Remember to trust your gut
WHAT DO I DO IN A CRISIS?
- Stay Calm
- Don’t wait to act
- Ask your teen directly, “Have you ever felt so bad that you have had thoughts of suicide?”
- Be prepared to listen.
- Do not leave the child alone
- Remove any items from the home or area that could potentially be used for suicide
- Assure them you are there for them and will get help, let them know you care
- Take them to a mental health center
- Call a suicide hotline
If you are a parent or adult who would like more training and understanding in how to address the mental health of your teen or others, go to MentalHealthFirstAid.com
How do I know if someone (or myself) is in distress?
Look for these common warning signs:
- There is a drastic change in his or her everyday behavior
- They are withdrawing or isolating from family, friends or activities
- They are easily angered or agitated
- They show increased worry or an overwhelming fear that gets in the way of daily activities
- They are exhibiting risk-taking behavior
- They are talking or writing about self-harm or making plans to do so
- They are repeatedly using drugs or alcohol
- They are having extreme difficulty in concentrating or staying still
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255 (Inglés y Español)
Crisis Text “HOME” To 741741
NAMI Hotline 1-800-950-6264
What can I do and say to help a friend in distress? Start a conversation and follow up.
This may be the time your loved ones need you the most. Sometimes, just talking about your observations might help them feel less alone and more understood. You can be the difference, just a simple conversation can make a difference in someone’s life.
Talk with your loved one in private
Speak and listen with kindness, share your observations of their mood and behaviors you have noticed and say something like –
“It worries me to hear you talking like this. Let’s talk to someone about it.”
“I’ve noticed that you haven’t been acting like yourself lately. Is something going on?”
I’ve noticed you’re (sleeping more, drinking more, eating less, angry a lot, etc.), is everything OK?”
Ask directly about suicide “Have you had thoughts about hurting yourself.”
Stop talking and listen to their story.
Offer Support. Keep in mind that they may not be ready to talk about what they’re going through, so offer and be ready to support them when they are ready. You might say:
“How can I best support you right now? Is there something I can do or can we ask others who can help?”
“Can I help you with the stuff you need to get done until you’re feeling better?”
“Would you like me to go with you to a support group or to see an adult who can help?”
Check-in again. You can play an important role in helping to build positive social connection.
Call or text them once or twice a week to check in. Let them know you are there.
Include them in your plans. Even if they don’t participate, they will appreciate being included.
Learn more about mental health.
Avoid judgmental or dismissive language such as “toughen up,” “snap out of it,” “you’ll get over it,” and “It could be worse.” Just let them know you are there if they need you.