A friend is having suicidal thoughts?
A friend is having suicidal thoughts?

•    If you think one of your friends is having suicidal thoughts, the best way to find out is to ask directly by sharing your concerns (e.g. “I’m worried, are you thinking about suicide?”).

•    Someone who is thinking about suicide can sometimes send direct or indirect messages.

•    Here are some examples of clues given by someone thinking of suicide:


- “I want to end it...”
-  “You’ll be better off without me...”
-  “You’ll soon have peace…”
-  “I’m afraid of what I might do...”


- Gives away things that are important to them
- Isolates themself, has no energy, stops taking part in activities they used to enjoy
- Shows an interest in things that can cause death (e.g. firearms, medications)
- Doesn’t take care of themself anymore
- Seems uninterested in everything, including school
- Takes little pleasure in what they do, is quick-tempered and unpredictable
- Changes their behaviour radically
- Shifts quickly from being depressed to being in a good mood
- Takes risks, seeks out intense experiences, doesn’t care about danger, whereas usually they are quite careful

•    It’s important to pay attention to these distress signals and not just attribute them to seeking attention. Always take them seriously because they are a cry for help.

•    You can respond to this cry for help by listening to the person’s distress without judging them and by promptly directing them to an adult or resource person (e.g. their parents, a teacher, a professional at school or the CLSC) or to a qualified organization such as Tel-jeunes or the Centre for Suicide Prevention (1-866-277-3553).

•    Professional assistance can help your friend to see their situation from another angle, find solutions they might not have thought of and feel better. Remember that this is a professional’s job; it’s not your responsibility.

•    Afterward, the best way to help your friend is to be honest with them and resume your usual activities together. You can also help by encouraging them, allowing them to take their mind off suicide, and showing them you value them as a friend.

•    Has your friend asked you to keep things secret or do they not want to seek help? It’s important for you to keep this information confidential in terms of not discussing it with everyone, but you absolutely must tell an adult you trust, who can intervene and ensure your friend’s safety. Remember you’re not doing this to betray your friend; you’re trying to help them because they’re important to you!

•    You may need help as well in managing this difficult situation, so don’t hesitate to talk with an adult or someone else you trust. You can also call Tel-Jeunes.

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