If someone talks about suicide, take it seriously. Friends may tell you they are thinking of killing themselves and ask that you keep it a secret. This is a secret you cannot keep. You can be a better friend by telling someone - a parent, teacher, counselor, clergy, or someone who will listen and believe you. You might also encourage the person talking about suicide to talk to an adult he or she trusts.

If you think someone may be suicidal, don't be afraid to ask. Mentioning suicide will not give people the idea or push them over the edge. Talking about it can prevent suicide from happening. A suicidal person is not beyond help. The crisis period usually lasts a short time. With help a person can get better.

These five questions are often asked to find out whether or not a person is seriously considering suicide:

  • Has this person shown any of the following warning "signs": giving away prized possessions, doing poorly in school, talking about wanting to die, isolating themselves from family and friends, taking unnecessary risks, abusing drugs or alcohol or suddenly happy for no reason after being depressed for a long period?
  • Has this person ever threatened or attempted suicide before?
  • Does this person really believe he or she has a "good reason" to commit suicide?
  • Does this person have a plan to commit suicide?
  • Does this person have a way to put that plan into action right away?

"Yes" answers to any of these questions means you must be concerned and tell someone who can help. Don't try to handle it alone. Remember, you cannot take responsibility for another person's life. The decision is their own. You may however, be able to help your friend see other ways of dealing with problems and pain.

The first step in stopping a suicide is to have the person promise, "If I feel like I'm going to hurt myself, I will call someone or a hotline first".

Remember, it is better to tell someone and risk a friend's anger than to do nothing. If you know someone who is talking about suicide, care enough to get help.

Call for information and support for you or a friend.

The following organization will provide information and/or assistance (click on the agency's name for more information):

(800)310-1160 or TDD: (585)275-2700
Lifeline provides a variety of support and referral services including access to other agencies.

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