It can be quite hard to know when someone is thinking about self-harm. Here are some warning signs that could potentially help identify someone at risk and save a life.
Look for signs such as:
- talking about wanting to die or kill oneself
- looking for a way to kill oneself
- talking about being trapped or being in unbearable pain
- talking about being a burden to others
- increased use of alcohol or drugs
- acting anxious, agitated, or reckless
- sleeping too little or too much
- withdrawing or feeling isolated
- display severe mood swings
- multiple cuts and/or scares on specific areas of their body
If you feel the situation is life threatening please do not hesitate to call 911 immediately.
It is important that you stay with the person until help arrives if you think someone is in danger of taking their life.
How can I help?
It is important to know that every situation is different and will come with different needs.
1. Just be there – without judgement. This creates a safe place for the individual to talk or to sit silently with (sometimes that is all they need).
2. Listen – let them know you are there to support them. Note: it is usually better to listen with open ended questions rather than to give advice (as you would not want to give the wrong advice).
If your comfortable doing so, let them know that they are important to you.
3. Practical help – you can also help in other ways such as getting them what they need in the moment, for example, a glass of water, a cold pack, their favorite comfort item, etc.
4. Third party – if they do not feel comfortable talking to you or anyone that they know offer them to reach out to Kids Help Phone or another crisis line.