I just got a “goodbye” text/call from my friend, what do I do?

If you are aware that a suicide attempt is imminent or has already begun, you should call 911 immediately.

  • When you call 911, share whatever information you have: such as location, status, and what means or methods they may have used.
  • Try to contact their family/friends who might be close to them.

If the attempt has NOT occurred yet, here are some steps to take.

  • Call and keep your friend on the line.
  • Try to find out their location and what means/methods they’re planning to use.
  • Try to contact their parent(s)/guardian. If you don’t feel comfortable reaching out, consider asking your own parent(s)/guardian.

This may feel like you are betraying the trust of your friend, but this is a crisis situation and you need to take action.

  • Call 988. They will talk through next steps with you.
  • If your friend or their family/friends can’t be reached, call 911.

I’m worried about something my friend posted on social media.

Are they at immediate risk of harming themselves or others? Did they post specifics on a plan, date or time, or a place? If so, report your concerns on social media.

Then follow the steps in “I just got a good-bye text/call

If it doesn’t seem like an urgent crisis, or you’re not sure, check in with your friend immediately. For tips on what to say and do, go to this section: “I’m worried a friend is thinking about ending their life, how do I reach out?

Make sure your friend knows they’re never a bother — and that they can talk to you anytime.

What are the warning signs of suicide?

Take these signs seriously — especially if the behavior is new or has increased recently, or if it’s related to a painful life event, loss, or change (like a breakup or argument).

A friend having thoughts of suicide might say things like:

  • “I don’t want to be here anymore.”
  • “No one would care if I’m gone anyways.”
  • “What’s the point anyways?”
  • “I’m going to kill myself if that happens.”

I’m worried a friend is thinking about ending their life, how do I reach out?

The most important step you can take is to talk to them, openly and directly. Talk to them about suicide (that may sound scary, but you can do this!).


Check in with them and create a safe space to talk (go for a walk or invite them over)


Let them know you care about them, and you are there for them. Reassure them that what they are feeling is real.


Ask directly about suicide. Don’t worry — it won’t put the idea in their head. You can say:

  • “You know I care about you, and I’m worried. I know you’d be there for me if I needed it.”
  • “I need to ask you: Have you been thinking about suicide or ending your life?”

Reassure, comfort, validate, and support. Opening up about thoughts of suicide can be intimidating for anyone. Your friend might be relieved to talk about it, or feel overwhelmed with emotions. Remember to be supportive. Say:

  • “Thank you for trusting me, that must have been tough.”
  • “I want you to know that even if you feel alone, I’m here.”
  • “I’m glad you’re still here.”

My friend said YES, they ARE thinking about suicide. What do I do now?

Take a deep breath. This is tough news to hear, but try to stay as calm as possible.

Ask them:

“I care for you, and I want to help. But we can’t do this all by ourselves. Is there anyone you would feel comfortable talking to about this? I can be there with you.”

“Would you be okay if we call the crisis line together? They can give us advice.” (You may need to offer to make the call for them.)

Most importantly, you have to talk to someone you trust. That might be a professional or contacting a crisis line.

Where do I take my friend for help if they are thinking about suicide?

It’s different for everyone. It might be a parent, teacher, mentor, or counselor. This might differ based on cultural or financial issues.

  • Ask your friend who they would trust and like to talk to.
  • In your community, services called “mental health urgent care” or “crisis stabilization units” might be an option.
  • Call 988 or TeenLine. They’re here to help you and your friend navigate what to do next.
  • Remember, you cannot keep this a secret even if your friend does. Say something like: “I care about you too much to keep a secret like this. You need help and I am here to help you get it.

What if my friend said no, that they are NOT having thoughts of suicide?

If you believe them, then that’s great news. But they’ll still need support.

Say things like:

“I’m glad to know you’re not thinking about suicide. But if you ever do, I’m always here for you.”

“I’m relieved you’re not having those thoughts. I can tell you’re still hurting though, and I want to help.”

But if you feel like they might actually be having thoughts of suicide, here are some suggestions:

  • Have another friend reach out and talk to them.
  • Talk to a teacher or their parent.
  • This may feel like you’re breaking your friend’s trust. But as they say, “It’s better to lose the friendship than lose the friend.”

I learned a friend attempted suicide, how can I support them?

There are many ways to support a friend after a suicide attempt — we’ll get into those in a second. But you should also remember to take care of yourself during this stressful time, and to have your own supports in place.

Here are a few steps you can take to support your friend:

  • Create and allow space for open conversations about the attempt.
  • Be patient and let them take things at their own pace.
  • Show up and stay connected. Whether it’s to talk about their feelings or distract them from negative thoughts.
  • Don’t promise to keep any thoughts or warning signs of suicide a secret. Identify a trusted person or resource to contact, just in case.
  • Ask how you can support their recovery.
  • Support safety planning. After an attempt, mental health professionals should have helped to create a safety plan that identifies triggers and coping strategies. Ask your friend if they’re comfortable sharing their safety plan with
    you. If they don’t have one, encourage them and/or their family to help them develop one.

I lost a friend to suicide. Where do I go from here?

We are so sorry for your loss. Coping with any death can be extremely difficult, especially when the loss is to suicide. The healing process will take time and you will probably feel a range of emotions.

You can find a suicide loss support group in your area here. Note: some groups are for teens, some are for ages 18+, others for all ages: https://afsp.org/find-a-support-group/

Call or text 988 to reach the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline 24/7, and get immediate support with your grief.

Consider connecting with a mental health professional who is trained in suicide bereavement.

To learn about additional resources for survivors of suicide loss, visit the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP.org) and find your local chapter.

Helping a friend