My Friend is in Crisis

How do I know if my friend needs urgent help?

If your friend has:

  • made a plan
  • has the means to hurt themselves or someone else (e.g. pills or a weapon)
  • had suicidal thoughts or hurt themselves before​

Please get them help immediately! Please do one of the following:

  • call 911
  • go to the nearest Emergency Hospital
  • call the local Emergency Response Service


If your friend refuses to get help, you may need to call 911 or your local emergency response team on their behalf. Remember: this is someone you care about, who may not be thinking clearly at this time. They may resist your efforts now, but later, when the crisis has passed, they will be alive to thank you. Once you have called for help, use these tips to help your friend wait safely.

If either of you need to talk to someone, but don't need to call 911 or go to the emergency room, there are many other ways that you can get help

Even if your friend isn't in crisis right now, they may still need help.

Talk to friends, family members, teachers, guidance counselors or a family doctor if you notice the following:

Your friend makes statements like...

  • I want to die
  • Things would be better without me
  • I can't go on like this
  • It will soon be over
  • They will be sorry when I'm not here
  • I want to go to sleep and never wake up

Appears to feel...sad, helpless, hopeless, worthless, guilty, ashamed, exhausted, angry, confused, irritable or withdrawn.

Behaves in unusual ways...

  • Isolating him/herself
  • Giving away prized possessions
  • Partying excessively
  • Using substances more than usual
  • Having unsafe sex or changes in libido
  • Having difficulty making decisions
  • Under- or overeating
  • Under- or oversleeping

If you've noticed these types of changes, ask your friend if he/she is thinking about suicide. Talking about it won't give them the idea, but it may be what they’ve been waiting to be asked to talk about, and could lead to them seeking help.

If you want advice or information, you have options.
Last Updated: 
October 2012