Someone considering harming themselves or ending their life may talk about:
- Ending his/her life.
- Feeling the “world would be better if I wasn’t here.”
- Death and dying.
- Feeling intensely sad.
- Having no purpose in life.
- Being worthless, hopeless, or helpless.
- Being a burden to other people.
- Feeling stuck.
- Dealing with intense pain.
Signs to look for on social media:
- Posts about being hopeless or helpless: “I can’t do anything.” or “I want to stay in bed forever.”
- Angry Posts: “F*@K the world.” or “I hate my life.”
Someone considering harming themselves or ending their life may experience changes in behavior such as:
- Begin using or an increase in use of alcohol and/or drugs.
- Doing online searches looking for ways to end one’s life.
- Socially isolating her/himself.
- Showing lack of interest or withdrawing from activities he/she used to enjoy.
- Experiencing insomnia or sleeping excessively.
- Giving away material possessions.
- Saying goodbye to family and friends.
- Engaging in reckless/risky behavior.
- Acting aggressively towards others.
- Showing lack of energy or constant fatigue.
- Changing eating habits and/or experiencing weight gain or loss.
Signs to look for on social media:
- Posts about engaging in risky/reckless behavior (i.e., reckless driving, driving fast) or increasing alcohol/drug use.
- Posts about insomnia: “Can’t sleep again. I’ve been up all night.”
- Posts about social/academic withdrawal: “Missed class again today – I’m a failure.” or “Stayed in bed all day again.”
Someone considering harming themselves or ending their life may experience changes in mood such as:
- Feeling depressed.
- Losing interest in usual activities.
- Acting out in anger or rage.
- Feeling humiliated or embarrassed.
- Displaying anxiety or irritability.
- Using Negative Emoticons: sad, guilty, irritated, lost, depressed.
- Using Hashtags that indicates emotional distress or following posts related to harmful behaviors: #depressed, #lonely, #lost, #worthless or “I can’t handle this anymore.”
Ask for help immediately If you hear someone talking about wanting to harm themselves or wanting to end their life, trust your gut and ask for help immediately.
How to help Talk About It
- Discuss your concerns in private. Listen to what they’re saying with your full attention and take it seriously. Don’t pass judgment.
- Be clear and direct with your concerns. Have specific examples ready such as, “It concerned me when you said...”
- Remember that asking if someone is thinking about suicide will not make them “more suicidal.”
- Don’t promise secrecy. This will interfere with your ability to share information and make an effective referral.
- Have you been thinking about ending your life?
- Do you ever wish you could go to sleep and never wake up?
- Are you thinking about killing yourself?
- AVOID asking: You’re not thinking about killing yourself, are you?
- I want you to live.
- I’m on your side.
- We’ll get through this.
Get them connected
- Let them know that it’s okay to ask for help. Keep in mind that our backgrounds, cultures and experiences influence how we view help-seeking.
- The best referral is taking them directly to a professional or agency who can offer immediate help.
- Get a commitment from them to accept help, and then make the arrangements to get that help.
- Give them referral information with good faith commitment.
- Offer to work in a team.
- Let them know you care.
- Stay in contact with the person and follow up.
- Will you go with me to get help?
- Will you let me get you help?