What if Someone I Know Needs Help

It can be scary when a friend or loved one is thinking about suicide. Let us help. If you or someone you know is in immediate danger, or if you are unable to connect with us or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline by phone or chat for whatever reason, call 911 or go to your local emergency department.

When You Should Call

If someone you know has any of the following warning signs we encourage you to call 1-888-CRISIS2 (274-7472) during our posted hours, or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline anytime at 1-800-273-8255 (TALK) so that you can find out what resources are available in your area. The Arkansas Crisis Center can provide information about resources such as counseling or in-patient treatment centers for your friend or family member. Most importantly, please encourage them to call 1-888-CRISIS2 or 1-800-273-TALK. If for any reason you are unable to connect, please dial 9-1-1.

  • Talking about wanting to die or to kill oneself.
  • Looking for a way to kill oneself, such as searching online or buying a gun.
  • Talking about feeling hopeless or having no reason to live.
  • Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain.
  • Talking about being a burden to others.
  • Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs.
  • Acting anxious or agitated; behaving recklessly.
  • Sleeping too little or too much.
  • Withdrawing or feeling isolated.
  • Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge.
  • Displaying extreme mood swings.

How To Be Helpful to Someone Who Is Threatening Suicide

  • Be direct. Talk openly and matter-of-factly about suicide.
  • Be willing to listen. Allow expressions of feelings. Accept the feelings.
  • Be non-judgmental. Don’t debate whether suicide is right or wrong, or whether feelings are good or bad. Don’t lecture on the value of life.
  • Get involved. Become available. Show interest and support.
  • Don’t dare him or her to do it.
  • Don’t act shocked. This will put distance between you.
  • Don’t be sworn to secrecy. Seek support.
  • Offer hope that alternatives are available but do not offer glib reassurance.
  • Take action. Remove means, such as guns or stockpiled pills.
  • Get help from persons or agencies specializing in crisis intervention and suicide prevention.

Be Aware of Feelings

Many people at some time in their lives think about suicide. Most decide to live because they eventually come to realize that the crisis is temporary and death is permanent. On the other hand, people having a crisis sometimes perceive their dilemma as inescapable and feel an utter loss of control. These are some of the feelings and thoughts they experience:

  • Can’t stop the pain
  • Can’t think clearly
  • Can’t make decisions
  • Can’t see any way out
  • Can’t sleep, eat or work
  • Can’t get out of depression
  • Can’t make the sadness go away
  • Can’t see a future without pain
  • Can’t see themselves as worthwhile
  • Can’t get someone’s attention
  • Can’t seem to get control

If you experience these feelings, get help! If someone you know exhibits these symptoms, offer help!

This content was developed by the American Association of Suicidology.