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Helping Someone With Suicidal Thoughts: Reach Out to a Friend Today

Helping Someone With Suicidal Thoughts: Reach Out to a Friend Today

Today is World Mental Health Day (#worldmentalhealthday) — a day to promote awareness of mental health issues. Just like physical health, we all have mental health. Whether we spend any time acknowledging or doing anything about it is up to each one of us.

This year’s theme is a focus on suicide prevention. And despite it sounding somber and serious, suicidal thoughts are far more common than most people realize. In fact, research suggests most people have had at least a passing thought of suicide at least once in their life.

The World Health Organization (WHO) encourages us to learn more about suicide prevention today, because every 40 seconds, someone’s life is lost to suicide.

Contrary to what some common myths suggest, suicide is not inevitable — and it’s not any survivor’s fault if a person is successful with their attempt to die by suicide.

That’s why WHO has suggested you take 40 seconds out of your day to consider how you can help make a difference when it comes to suicide. Read the WHO brochure to learn more about how to help spread the word about suicide and suicidal resources available to help a person struggling.

I Want to Help Someone who Is Suicidal

What can you do to help someone who is feeling suicidal? That’s a great question, and one we answered here:

Forty seconds is all it takes to reach out — via phone, text, Snapchat, or whatever — to a friend you think could use a little help. Maybe you think they’d laugh at your question (“Are you alright?”) or somehow get offended for your asking. Maybe you think that you’d even introduce the idea of suicide to them if they hadn’t already been thinking about it.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Asking about suicidal thoughts won’t make a person any more likely to try to die by suicide in the future. In fact, the opposite is true. By reaching out to someone you care about, you may help them realize they need more help than they’re currently getting today.

Your single voice and 40 seconds of your time could make all the difference in the world.

Consider reaching out today. While not everyone may feel comfortable doing this — and please don’t if you don’t feel able or up to the task — most people can try to have this conversation. It may not be easy or pleasant, but you might just change someone’s life if you do.

Not sure if a person may be having suicidal thoughts? Here are the common signs and symptoms of someone who is suicidal. These signs can help you figure out who in your life may be struggling with suicidal thoughts.

Learning More About Suicide

Learn more about suicide by watching a video from PsychHub:

B#1 – 3. Suicidal Ideation from PSYCHhub on Vimeo.

Need More Ideas?

Check out this article about 12 Ways to Help Someone Who is Suicidal, which suggests ways to talk or doing an activity together that may help comfort them.

Helping Someone With Suicidal Thoughts: Reach Out to a Friend Today


John M. Grohol, Psy.D.

Dr. John Grohol is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Psych Central. He is a psychologist, author, researcher, and expert in mental health online, and has been writing about online behavior, mental health and psychology issues since 1995. Dr. Grohol has a Master's degree and doctorate in clinical psychology from Nova Southeastern University. Dr. Grohol sits on the editorial board of the journal Computers in Human Behavior and is a founding board member of the Society for Participatory Medicine. You can learn more about Dr. John Grohol here.


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APA Reference
Grohol, J. (2019). Helping Someone With Suicidal Thoughts: Reach Out to a Friend Today. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 13, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/blog/helping-someone-with-suicidal-thoughts-reach-out-to-a-friend-today/
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 9 Oct 2019
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 9 Oct 2019
Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.