Breaking News
More () »

Road to Hope: Help is out there. Here are some places to start.

If you are suffering an emotional or suicidal crisis, there is hope and help available. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, or read through our resources page.
Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. — If you are suffering an emotional or suicidal crisis, there is hope and help available. Here are some resources from SAVE (Suicide Awareness Voices of Education).

  • If you have tried to hurt yourself or have recently attempted, get help immediately by calling 911
  • If you are not hurt, have a friend help you get to the emergency room
  • If you are having suicidal thoughts and need to talk to a crisis counselor you have several options:
  • Reach out to at least one or more of the following:
    • Family member
    • Friend
    • Crisis counselor (1-800-273-8255 in the USA) or text HOME to 741-741 (Crisistextline.org).
    • Primary Care Doctor
    • Mental Health Professional (Therapist)
    • Teacher or educator you trust
    • Church Leader
    • Find a Support Group
    • Online peer support (SAVE has its own peer support program called Peer Connections, and also recommends 7 Cups of Tea)
  • If you belong to the LGBTQ, American Indian, Alaskan Native, veterans or seniors community, you can find some specific resources here.
  • There are many more resources and places you can go for help on SAVE.org.

If you are concerned for a loved one, SAVE also suggests some things you can do:

Educate yourself about the warning signs of suicide. (Specific warning signs for youth can be found online here.)

  • Talking about wanting to die or to kill oneself;
  • Looking for a way to kill oneself;
  • Talking about feeling hopeless or having no purpose;
  • Talking about feeling trapped or being in unbearable pain;
  • Talking about being a burden to others;
  • Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs;
  • Acting anxious, agitated, or reckless;
  • Sleeping too little or too much;
  • Withdrawing or feeling isolated;
  • Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge; and
  • Displaying extreme mood swings.

You can begin a dialogue by asking questions. Suicidal thoughts are common with some mental illnesses and asking non-judgmental questions can help a person decide to seek professional help. Research has found that asking about suicide won’t hurt them or make them feel more suicidal or lead them down that path. In fact, it helps reduce risk and anxiety, so it is safe to ask.

  • Do you ever feel so bad that you think about suicide?”
  • “Do you have a plan to kill yourself or take your life?”
  • “Have you thought about when you would do it (today, tomorrow, next week)?”
  • “Have you thought about what method you would use?”

From SAVE: Asking these questions will help you to determine if your friend or family member is in immediate danger, and get help if needed. A suicidal person should see a doctor or mental health professional immediately. Calling 911 or going to a hospital emergency room are also good options to prevent a tragic suicide attempt or death. Calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) is also a resource for you or the person you care about. Remember, always take thoughts of or plans for suicide seriously.

Never keep a plan for suicide a secret. Don’t worry about risking a friendship if you truly feel a life is in danger. 

Don’t try to minimize problems or shame a person into changing their mind. Reassure them that help is available, that what they are experiencing is treatable, and that suicidal feelings are temporary. Life can get better.

If you feel the person isn’t in immediate danger, acknowledge the pain is legitimate and offer to work together to get help. Follow through. Help find a doctor or a mental health professional, participate in making the first phone call, or go along to the first appointment. 

More resources for learning how to care for and help your loved ones in crisis, are available here.

Before You Leave, Check This Out