With such knowledge in mind, you will have a better chance at actually helping your friend conquer his inner demons. Just keep in mind that your role as a friend is to be there for him, not to judge him, not to lecture him, and certainly not to push him over the proverbial edge.
First, speak up but do so with a compassionate attitude.
If you spot the warning signs of suicide – talking about suicide, preoccupation with death, and a hopeless outlook on the future, among others – you should speak to your suicidal friend as soon as possible. Yes, the risk of your friend initially getting angry at your questions is present but the risk of inaction on your part leading to his successful suicide is higher.
You should then extend a helping hand in the right way.
Tips for Helping and Listening to a Suicidal Friend
Start the conversation by expressing your concern. “I have been concerned about you lately.”
Ask the right questions – no judgment, just support. “How can I help? What happened that you have started feeling this way?”
Listen. Often, this is the only thing that your suicidal friend will need to ward off his thoughts but be sure to express your support for whatever he is going through.
Ask your friend how he/she feels on a zero to ten scale
You can also say things like “You are not alone. I am here for you.”
Quickly respond to a crisis such as when your friend is threatening suicide especially if he/she can carry out a plan.
Does your friend have a suicide plan?
Does he have the means to carry it out?
Does he have a time for doing it?
On a zero to ten scale, how strong are the ideas of suicide.
If the answer to any of these questions is very worrying, you can offer to go to a GP with your friend (to make sure your friend actually attends), or seek the assistance of a suicide helpline or emergency department of a hospital.
Disclaimer: The Australian Suicide Prevention Foundation (1800HOLDON.com.au) is providing information only, not medical or psychological assessment, advice or treatment.
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