Four Steps to Help

  1 WATCHING:  BE AWARE OF THE WARNING SIGNS   Be aware of what your friends are doing and how they are behaving.  As a friend you could be one of the first to become aware of changes in behaviour:   Warnings signs to watch out for may include but are not limited to: Withdrawing from family and friends. Having difficulty concentrating and thinking clearly. Sleeping too much or too little. Feeling tired most of the time. Gaining or losing a significant amount of weight. Talking about feeling hopeless or guilty. Talking about suicide or death. Self-destructive behaviour like drinking too much or abusing drugs. Losing interest in favourite things or activities. Giving away prized possessions. Mood swings.     2 SHOWING: SHOW YOU CARE   Let your friend know that you really care. Ask about their feelings. Listen carefully to what they have to say.   Here are some examples of how to begin the conversation:   "I'm worried about you/about how you feel." "You mean a lot to me and I want to help." "I'm here if you need someone to talk to."     3 ASKING: ARE YOU THINKING ABOUT SUICIDE?   Talking with a friend about suicide will not put the idea into their head. Be direct in a caring, non-confrontational way.   Here are some ways to ask the question:   "Have you ever thought about suicide?" "Do you want to die or do you just want your problems to go away?"     4 HELPING: GOING THAT EXTRA STEP, GIVING OR SEEKING HELP   If a friend tells you they are thinking of suicide, never keep it a secret, even if you're asked to. Do not try to handle the situation on your own. You can be the most help by referring your friend to someone with the professional skills necessary to provide the help that he or she needs. You can continue to help by offering support.   Here are some ways to talk to your friend about getting help:   "I know where we can get some help." "Let's talk to someone who can help. Let's call the helpline now." "I can go with you to get some help"   If a friend mentions suicide, take it seriously. If they have expressed an immediate plan, or have access to prescription medication or other potentially deadly means, do not leave them alone. Get help immediately from your GP or another medical professional. If necessary take your friend to the nearest hospital or Accident and Emergency.   [HELPLINES]