10 Things to Say to a Suicidal Person

Two people in hoodies sit on the beach with their back to us, facing the ocean. Each person's hood is up.

Many people desperately want to know what to say – and what not to say – to someone who is thinking of suicide. The article 10 Things Not to Say to a Suicidal Person is SpeakingOfSuicide.com’s most popular post. Almost a half-million people have viewed it in the last 2½ years. Several hundred have left comments.

Sometimes people complain to me that the post describes what not to say, but it doesn’t say enough about what to say. They’re right. So in this post, I provide 10 things to say to a suicidal person.

First, Some Caveats

Before starting, I want to make some things clear: I came up with this list based on my conversations with suicidal individuals in my work as a clinical social worker, my readings of both clinical literature and accounts by individuals who experienced suicidal crises, and my own past experiences with suicidal thoughts. Nobody has actually researched systematically the most effective things for friends or family to say to a suicidal person, so opinion and experience are the best we’ve got for now. Results will vary according to different people’s needs and personalities.

I also want to make clear that this list of things to say is not intended to be a script. Instead, I illustrate ways that you can help a suicidal person continue to open up, rather than shutting the person down with a comment that minimizes, invalidates, or even denigrates the person’s experience.

Just a pretty picture of an orange tiled roofAnd I want to add that what to say often isn’t nearly as important as how to listen. As I explain in my post “How Would You Listen to a Person on the Roof?”, someone who is thinking of suicide needs to feel understood. Let the person tell their story. Refrain from immediately trying to fix the situation or make the person feel better. These efforts, however well intended, can halt the conversation.

So, with all that said, here are 10 things you can say to someone who tells you that they are considering suicide.

1. “I’m so glad you told me that you’re thinking of suicide.”

When someone discloses suicidal thoughts, some parents, partners, friends and others react with anger (“Don’t be stupid!”), pain (“How could you think of hurting me like that?”), or disbelief (“You can’t be serious.”) Some “freak out.” A suicidal person might then feel a need to comfort the hurt person, provide a defense to the angry person, or retreat internally from the disbelieving person. The person might regret ever having shared in the first place that they were thinking of suicide.

By saying “I’m glad you told me” – or something similar – you convey that you welcome and encourage disclosure of suicidal thoughts, and that you can handle it.

2. “I’m sad you’re hurting like this.”

This simple expression of empathy can go a long way toward validating the person’s pain and soothing a sense of aloneness. There’s no “Oh it’s not so bad,” no “You don’t really mean that,” no “But you have so much going for you,” no other statement denying or minimizing the person’s pain.

3. “What’s going on that makes you want to die?”

Two young men sit together, both looking worried or stressed, but not looking at each other or saying anythingThis invitation to the suicidal person to tell their story can provide validation, engender a sense of connection, and show that you really want to understand. Ask the person to tell their story. And then, listen. Really listen. To deepen your understanding, follow up with more invitations to share, like “Tell me more.” Show empathy and understanding, too: “That sounds awful” or “I can see why that’s painful.”

4. “When do you think you’ll act on your suicidal thoughts?”

Even if you’re not a mental health professional, you still can ask some basic questions to help understand the person’s risk for suicide. Asking about timing will make the difference between whether you need to call someone immediately for help (for example, if the person says, “I have a gun in my backpack and I’m going to shoot myself during lunch”) or whether you can continue to have leisurely conversation with the person.

5. “What ways do you think of killing yourself?”

This is another risk-assessment question. The answer can help reveal the gravity of the situation. A person who has put a lot of time and thought into suicide methods might be in more danger than someone with a vague wish to be dead, for example.

Understanding the suicide methods that the person has considered also will help you in your efforts to keep the person safe. For example, if you’re a parent and your teenage child discloses suicidal thoughts, knowing that your teenager is considering overdosing on a painkiller alerts you to the need to lock up or throw away all potentially dangerous medications. (See this information from the Center for Youth for ways to make your home safer.)

6. “Do you have access to a gun?”

Even if you think the person doesn’t own a gun or can’t get a hold of one, this information is always important. If the answer is yes, ask the person to consider giving the gun (or a key piece of the gun) to someone, locking the gun up and giving someone the key, or doing something else to make the home gun-free until the danger of suicide goes down. For more information about firearm safety related to suicide risk, also see this gun safety fact sheet.

7. “Help is available.”

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, in big letters. 1-800-273-TALK (8255). suicidepreventionlifeline.orgBy telling the person about help that’s available, you can help them to not feel so alone, helpless, or hopeless. If you are in the U.S., you can give them the number to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (800.273.8255) or the Crisis Text Line (741-741). You also  can show them the SpeakingOfSuicide.com Resources page, which lists other resources in the U.S. and worldwide to receive help by phone, email, text, or online chat. If the person who reveals suicidal thoughts to you is your child, take them to a mental health professional or an emergency room for an evaluation.

8. “What can I do to help?”

Definitely tell the person about resources for help, but also make clear that you are available, too, if you’re able to do so. That said, there’s only so much you can do, so if you are feeling solely responsible for keeping the person alive, it’s best to involve others, too.

9. “I care about you, and I would be so sad if you died by suicide.”

Be careful here. In my earlier post, one of the 10 things not to say is, “Don’t you know I would be devastated if you killed yourself? How could you think of hurting me like that?” As I note in that post, “Your loved one already feels awful. Heaping guilt on top of that is not going to help them feel soothed, understood, or welcome to tell you more.”

At the same time, a simple statement of how much you care about or love the person can help nurture a sense of connection, if your statement isn’t an attempt to stop the person from talking further about suicide.

10. “I hope you’ll keep talking to me about your thoughts of suicide.”

Just as you want the person to feel welcome for having shared their suicidal thoughts to you, it’s good to make clear that you would welcome further disclosures, as well. Often, someone who has suicidal thoughts senses from others an expectation to “get over it already.” By inviting the person to come to you again about their suicidal thoughts, you can help prevent isolation and secrecy.

What Are Your Ideas about What to Say to a Suicidal Person?

There are many other helpful responses besides those listed here. If you have thoughts of suicide, what do you wish someone would say to you if you told them? If you have ever helped a suicidal friend or family member, what responses from you seemed to foster sharing, connection, and safety? Please feel free to leave a comment below.


Stacey Freedenthal, PhD, LCSW, is the author of “Helping the Suicidal Person: Tips and Techniques for Professionals,” a psychotherapist and consultant, and an associate professor at the University of Denver Graduate School of Social Work.

Copyright 2017 by Stacey Freedenthal, PhD, LCSW. Written for SpeakingOfSuicide.com. All Rights Reserved. Photos purchased from Fotolia.com.

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  1. like who you are says:

    you shouldnt talk about it with just anyone, theres people that get happy about things like that [ for different reasens],
    talk to family members in person about whats bothers you, or someone that you could really trust, you cant trust everyone, they lie or try to emberess us beleive me, i should know

  2. Apoorva HN says:

    The best thing to do would be to listen to the suicidal person, hear out the pain and be empathetic. Also help him or her to find out the triggers and the possible action course, and be more sensitive to the thoughts and help with chores. Immediate action would be to make the person feel good, basically, and then long term solutions to the found problem. Also remove negative factors affecting the environment of such a person and bring positivity. A thing to avoid would be-not giving false hopes. Also consult a psychologist if possible to find the root and other causes.

  3. Nellie Haddad says:

    You are not alone.

  4. Judy says:

    I think that a very good thing to say to a person contemplating suicide is that the depression is TEMPORARY…..you are very sad right now but your situation/circumstances will change and your depression will not be so overwhelming. There is a good tomorrow. Second, remember the good tomorrow and understand that suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. You cannot undo this decision. Third, make some lists: things you like about yourself, what you’d like to do / be in ten years, things you like to do (knit, jog, bake, paint……there are so many things people are interested in!). Fourth, Don’t isolate, start volunteering to help somebody else or at a place like the Humane Society. Stop focusing on how unhappy you are and GET BUSY doing something, anything. Take the depression in hand and treat it like the bad influence it is.

    • Avon says:

      The author has a post about what *not* to say & several things you’ve mentioned are on that post.

    • Travis says:

      Depression is not temporary, nor can you guarantee one’s situation will change. I’ve been chasing the end of the proverbial tunnel for close to two decades now and I’m no closer than I ever was. “Depression is temporary” is one of the absolute last things I want to hear in a crisis because then I know for sure the person telling me hasn’t experienced the true depths of this horror like I have.

  5. Nancy says:

    This is not going to be popular no doubt. But i get so sick of people around me threatening or not even threatening just telling me they don’t want to “be here anymore” which to me means they want to kill themselves. of course i don’t want them to die. I do not know what to say to this I dont know why I don’t have more sympathy I love these people but i am sick of them lashing out at me telling me this when i feel it is to hurt me and get a response from me. What can I do? I cant make anyone feel happier i try to no avail and i get sick of it never making a difference. I know I can be too harsh i know that about myself, i want to scream right now what in the ++++ do you want from me? Do something different then – CHOOSE to be happy instead of miserable.

    • Travis says:

      Don’t you think we wish it was that easy? Just flip a switch and no longer be plagued by whatever condition or illness is eating us up inside and making our lives miserable? I would give ANYTHING to be free of the depression that’s destroyed my hopes and dreams. So how about we trade brains? Since you’ve clearly got it all figured out, I’ll take your working one and you can have my broken, defective one that you’re more than capable of handling. That way, you’ll learn to truly intimately know the darkest depths of despair and hopelessness that I’m cursed with every single day.

      In the meantime, next time one of these people around you speak of comes to you with their pain, I beg of you to tell them the truth – that they’d be better off going to someone else because you can’t be bothered to care!

    • Laura Emmett says:

      I hear you! You are not alone feeling that way. I too am there.

  6. miyo says:

    i dont think i stopped them…

  7. Ava says:

    Hello, my friend is struggling with depression, anxiety, and PTSD after being molested by her step-father. She has told everything about what had happened and believes that no one is able to help her after searching for counselors and so on. She has began cutting and thad told me that she has suicidal thoughts. After reading this I am still left with the question, “How must I approach this situation?”. Please, help me- or rather help her.

  8. dianne says:

    dont ask them how ….. i asked how and my bf said watch this: and proceeded to jump out the fourth floor window.

    rip colten, love you always

    • Stacey Freedenthal, PhD, LCSW says:


      How terrible, and how traumatic for you to have witnessed that! I’m very sorry for your loss.

    • Linda Straubel says:

      My sympathies! What a horrible thing to watch. If I were you, I’d strongly consider getting some therapy to help you deal with such a traumatic event.

  9. Emily says:

    My boyfriend has mentioned many times feeling hopeless and lost . He has mentioned that he has sh and recently relapse. He is also struggling with his own identity because he thinks people will only see him as a girl. That is eating him alive I can tell. I want to help him and he knows Im always here to talk but sometimes I just get quiet because Im worried and dont know what to say. Please help

  10. Reality Check says:

    What would help if someone said they were thinking of committing suicide? “I understand your Pain” or ” I know your pain”, “I really understand where your coming from.” But no matter who it is they wont believe you really understand or have been there unless you got something real to back it up with. So hopefully its coming from a person who really knows and understands that kind of pain. Because its real. and the person your talking to will be able to cut right through a total BS story. Because only a person who has really felt that kind of excruciating pain can convince a person they really had and that they really care. It is an unceasing legitimate pain right in the center of your chest, in the heart and it friggin hurts! From a wound or wounds that have been never allowed to heal, and are continually being reopened or made worse and its there festering and no one cares. Because the only people in your life find joy in your anguish and continue to heap the abuse on you just to watch you hurt and laugh or taught you because you feel it. There is no way to get rid of that kind of pain and all you want to do is make it stop. Its baffling and almost incompressible even to the person who is experiencing it that your very being can be so completely filled with nothing but pain a yet there is this gaping and vast indescribable, bottomless pit of emptiness inside you at the same time. And no matter how much anguish and pain gets heaped upon you, it never fills that void. In fact the gaping chasm only gets bigger as if it were contemplating making room for more. At that point you break when you come to the realization that that void will never be filled with anything other than more pain or torment. There are some really sincere people out there who really want to help and sincerely care and I think maybe they can at some point convince a person that someone really cares. There will be some you just cant reach because even though they may comprehend that you do really care, they know that you really don’t understand and they need someone who really, really understands the depth of their pain the way they are feeling it, and the only way you could possibly comprehend it is if you experienced it yourself. Even if the slightest negative comment is made, or a comment that lacks total understanding, will compounds and enhances the pain to new heights creating a bigger vaster void. What does this person really have to look forward to? Are you going to fill their life with loving supportive people who really care? Or do they just end up enduring a life of the same crap? The latter is most likely the reality. Maybe it is enough for some people to hear some stranger say they care even if it a last desperate effort . Maybe that individual hasn’t been repeatedly let down or repeatedly abused, traumatized, neglected, used, rejected or ignored by everyone they’ve ever met or cared about and there might still be a glimmer of hope left in them that helps them believe that there might be someone left of the planet that could actually care about them and love them someday. Do you really understand the pain?

    • Stacey Freedenthal, PhD, LCSW says:

      Reality Check,

      Wow, you’ve shared an amazing, powerful, true description of the depths of mental anguish that many suicidal people experience, along with feelings of hopelessness and loneliness. I hope it helped you to write it, because I know it will help others to read it. It will help them to understand if they know someone who has suicidal thoughts, and to feel understood if they themselves are suicidal. And no, nobody can ever 100% understand another person’s pain, but the farther away we get from 0%, the better.

      If you’re suffering even half as much as your description conveys, I hope that you’re able to get – and to receive – help and support soon. Thanks for sharing here.

  11. ann says:

    i’m glad u shared w me about how u feel. i care about u & want to help u manage your pain. what can i say that might help?

  12. asha Black says:

    As a person who suffers from extreme depression….I often have suicidal thoughts and if someone was to say to me “I care about you, and I would be so sad if you died by suicide.” I’d be angry because in this situation their feelings don’t matter…..If I’m feeling down sad, hurting, feeling useless, and suicidal the last thing you wanna say to me is I’d be sad if you did this because then you would just make me feel like a burden to you…..you gotta remember that a depressed person mostly always feel sad so we would just look at you like you’d feel sad im bloody hurting everyday of my life and you just expect me to care that you’d feel sad for what a couple of months this is every day for me

    • Anonymous says:

      What should we tell them then? It would be really helpful if u could share what u want to hear from others…

  13. Leigh-Ann says:

    Thank you for helping me find some words to say to my daughter. When she feels there is no help or way other than to end it I can encourage her to keep talking. This might keep her alive just knowing I want to listen.

  14. jason meadows says:

    your advice is to lie and manipulate a suicidal person into believing that you care, and that “there is help out there” when there is none. This treatise is hypothetical, and these statements have very little real world value.

    • Stacey Freedenthal, PhD, LCSW says:


      I gather you feel helpless and/or have had trouble finding help. I’m sorry to hear that. There are many different sources of help, though some can be difficult to access, depending on one’s financial situation, transportation, etc. A good place to start is the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255 or the Crisis Text Line at 741-741. I list other free resources here. Also, you might be interested in my post 12 Ways to Get Therapy if You Can’t Afford It.

      Thanks for sharing. I hope you are able to find help out there.

      • Linda Straubel says:

        Stacy – Thank you for your tempered and helpful response, even in the face of some clearly insulting statements about your site. You are a true professional and a clearly empathetic person.

        • Stacey Freedenthal, PhD, LCSW says:


          Thank you so much. I very much appreciate your supportive words. And I appreciate your participation in this and other discussions, so thanks again.

        • jason says:

          cynical and nihilistic, yes, that was how i was feeling- i don’t know how you. consider those statements to be insults. that is something you shouldn’t post regarding someone who is considering suicide, i would guess. The doc got it right, there are resources, nevertheless it so easy to feel discouraged at the gaping maw of public services. I am finally getting through to some departments, and have found the people to be friendly and helpful-but, to be clear, i personally can feel hopeless, and -i dont want the darkside deathwish to hang around anymore. I fear it has replaced the will to live thingy, forever….So- its a thought pattern that dips and dive, and although urgent – not a personal nag. thanks for putting that list together, doc. its a difficult dialog to negotiate, and I am sorry if i insulted you at all

    • Linda Straubel says:

      Jason – Your post shows a very cynical point of view and I’m sorry you feel that way. But your assumptions are illogical, since you equate trying to help with manipulation. You also assume that people can only pretend to care and cannot really care. That is very sad, and, putting aside the emotion that informs those attitudes, you might just try putting aside the emotions and think about it more logically. Of course, people can care, maybe not everyone and maybe you’re been deceived by people, but, believe me, there ARE people who do care. Finally, there is help out there; you just need the willingness to reach out and find it.

      • jason says:

        Ok mr. Spock
        I have been willing, and scoured the surface for a help I could have faith in.
        I then came to the very Logical conclusion that drowning rats don’t care that other rats are drowning.
        Anyone who claims they can help, are some percent fraud, some idealism power-trip, and partly the” being of service” actually serving self first and more importantly.

        • Linda Straubel says:

          Jason, As long as you’re tied to that absolute cynicism about help, no one can help you. Try casting the same critical assessment to your own thought process and consider that you could be wrong. Try re-reading your own post and ask yourself if this is a truly realistic portrait of EVERYONE who might want to help you or if your point of view might be more than a little skewed. Try shifting that cynical point of view to one that is less cynical and more skeptical instead, in other words, try not to dismiss all help offered; that’s cynical. Try giving it a shot and shop around until you do find someone you can trust. As to not having “faith” in anyone’s ability or willingness to help you, ask yourself what it would take for you to make that leap of faith. You seem to be dismissing even the willingness of others to help as not perfectly altruistic. No one is perfect, but that doesn’t mean they can’t help you.

    • Stevie says:

      I absolutely agree Jason, nobody is happy to hear about someone elses negative issues. Nobody is happy you shared them, it’s hypocritical to the sufferer to say most of these things to them. At best you can tell them you love them, only if you mean it and spend time around them saying as little or as much as they want you to.

    • Stacey Freedenthal, PhD, LCSW says:


      This is a very late reply to your comment of January 2021. I apologize, I somehow missed that you’d directed part of your comment specifically to me. In case you see this comment so many months later, I want you to know that I appreciate your thanks for the list, and I didn’t feel insulted by your original comment, though I can see how someone interpreted it as such since you said my advice was to “lie and manipulate.” It’s also clear to me from your subsequent comments that your comments came from a place of pain and hopelessness, and I’m sorry you were in such pain. I hope things have gotten at least a little better for you by now.

    • trusting adult says:

      you shouldnt tell people there isnt help, its sad that some people contribute to one feeling sad, just for their own fun sometimes, do some people think thats its alright to make fun of people, or tell lies about them, young people should not deal with such things but they get put in a situation, or think about their problems, they dont know how to make things better, stop being the reasen for the hurt, show good support cause we are all important

  15. Michael Harpor says:

    Two people I know (online) have told me about their considering suicide.

    The first one, let’s call him John, says he doesn’t care about anything anymore or about what happens to him. I am currently trying to talk to him and ask him questions and to better understand his situation and such but sometimes I just find myself not knowing at all what to say for him or for the conversation. I worry about John a lot and though he said he hasn’t actually tried suicide he thinks about it constantly and says that in his head he’s always coming up with ways he could die. He also said he wants to stop caring, and therefore he doesn’t care anymore. I don’t know what to say to him honestly, I just try to see what he’s thinking.

    The second one, we can call him Thomas, just told me today that he’s been thinking about just killing himself. He said he doesn’t feel like he’s accomplished anything or that he will in the future, because/and he has lost interest in doing anything career-wise. He just wants to lay down 24/7 and thinks it would be better to just end it all. I tried to tell Thomas that he shouldn’t blame himself for his thoughts and feelings and I’m trying to make him feel better and give him little suggestions for things he can do about schoolwork like doing a little then taking a break then doing some more etc. so that it’s like taking baby steps.
    Both know that I’m open to talking and listening, that I want to be there for them (and I hope they both know that I’m just trying to help with good intentions even if I don’t always say the right words).

    • Linda H. Straubel says:

      This is a tough one and I have only two suggestions: 1) Re-read Dr. Freedenthal’s article “10 Things Not to Say . . .” and 2) address your question directly to her. Her words are the best advice you can find.

    • ann says:

      the fact that u listen w real interest & respect means the most not just what u say.

    • Stacey Freedenthal, PhD, LCSW says:


      It sounds like you are a very caring friend. Several of my previous posts might be helpful to you:

      10 Things to Say to a Suicidal Person

      10 Things Not to Say to a Suicidal Person

      If You Suspect a Friend or Loved One is Thinking of Suicide

      I hope this information is helpful to you and, by extension, to your friends. You can also call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255 for advice. Thanks for helping!

    • Tim says:

      Thanks for sharing this, Michael.
      I’m struggling with a situation like your second one (Thomas) with my sister. I’m not sure what to say. She shared with me that she has a deep sense of alienation which is the driving force behind her depression and which is exacerbated by pain and trauma in her life. Her mindset currently is similar to Thomas’. She can’t see a future for herself and is not interested in looking for one either. I understand where she’s coming from since I’ve also grappled with existential struggles myself, but I have a hard time coming up with a rational reason for her not to since she dismisses everything else I say.

      Is it really enough to just listen and be empathetic? I wish there was more I could do, but I ‘m not a therapist and I’m not equipped to have the conversations with her that will move her towards actual healing. What makes it harder is that she lives in a different country and travel isn’t an option right now.

    • Anonymous says:

      I’ve found with young people, it’s a lot easier to get them thinking about the future, 60 years is a long time to live, assuming their age is 16-20, they still have 3/4th+ of their life left to live. One thing that helped me was to ask them if they thought A. it’d get better over that time and B. can they remember a time/tough experience they’ve gone through and conquered? Also telling them that sometimes life can be rough, but it can also be very good, you just have to wait and find out.

  16. Daizsa Banks says:

    So I have this friend whose going going through a lot about her ex boyfriend. He used her for money and kinda of sex and he doesn’t have money everytime they get into arguments she always tells me that he always put the blame on her like it’s her fault and he keeps talking about her. and today I just woke up to her saying she feeling suicidal and that she can’t take it anymore. AndI don’t really know what to say.

    • J says:

      Tell her you appreciate her trusting you enough to tell you that and that you’re sorry she’s not feeling well. That it sounds like a bad situation to be in. Hurtful. Ask would it be ok to meet up with her and if she does then hug her. Don’t offer solutions. She knows. Tell her that in 10 years you think she will have sorted the problem out for herself and will be happy again and won’t even be sad to think back on it because it will be so far in the past. Say you hope that she will keep talking to her about it even if you say the wrong thing.

  17. sarah m says:

    my best friend is feeling suicidal because her grandpa died and her boyfriend broke up with her.. i don’t know what to do 🙁

    • Dj says:

      Tell her that god put her on earth for a reason. Everyone has a meaning. You only got one life, you decide how to live it. Her grandpa will always be in her heart, watching her and hoping she lives a amazing life. She doesn’t need a boyfriend to make her feel good. Go to family, they always will protect you. Hearts can heal, cuts can’t… I should know. I attempted suicide but i realized that i have a meaning and my family would be broken if i did. Her family will be the same. Just remember that..

      • Stacey Freedenthal, PhD, LCSW says:

        DJ, thanks for sharing your story in the service of helping others! You’re kind to care. 🙂

    • Stacey Freedenthal, PhD, LCSW says:


      My recommendation is to listen to her and support her. You don’t have to fix her situation, get rid of her pain, talk her out of her grief, make her happy, or whatever. Just listen and help her to feel understood and less alone. I describe the process more in my post “How Would You Listen to a Person on the Roof?”

      If she is in immediate danger, try to get her help. Depending where you live, you can go with her to a crisis clinic or emergency room or call emergency services for assistance. I don’t know your age, but if you’re young and she lives with her family, let them know of the danger so they can help her, too. In fact, the more people who can surround her with support, the better.

      You can always call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255 for more advice, too. I wish you the best in helping your friend!

  18. Anonymous says:

    hello! i’m super grateful for this article’s existence. however, what do i do if i know someone who is suicidal, but being with them makes *me* suicidal as well? i feel absolutely horrible for wanting to just not be near her because the only things she talks about is how much of a lesbian she is and how much she wants to die. (no, i’m not homophobic – i’m biromantic myself. it just gets really tiring to hear someone talk about how hot people are and how much they want to have sex and all that. especially when you’re asexual.)

    right now it’s summer break, and we aren’t talking. my mental health has improved so much in just a *week* of not speaking with her and i am ashamed to say that i’m relieved to not have to talk to her. it was exhausting me to always support her and be nice to her, when she was worsening my mental state constantly. i want to reach out to her to make sure she’s okay, because i care for her even if i don’t want to be near her. i don’t want her to die. i want her to be happy.

    i’ve tried to help but it doesn’t work. i’ve done everything i can think of (including saying the things you recommended) and i’ve just… been there, you know? but it’s so hard to even speak to her. she dumps all of her baggage onto anyone who will listen, and i simply can’t take it. she knew i am/was depressed and sometimes i seriously considered taking my own life. but she still dumped everything on me, which really did make me suicidal. i considered overdosing on my medication, cutting my wrists open, suffocating myself in some way, etc. this was all while we were hanging out. like i said, it’s only been a *week* and i’m already feeling so happy, i don’t want to die anymore (even though i probably deserve it by now) and it’s been great for me and my mental state to be away from her. but i’m constantly feeling ashamed, because i’ve left someone behind who i know could kill herself. if i was in the right state of mind, i would have helped but i know that if i spend anymore time with her i definitely won’t be okay.

    from when i first met her, i didn’t really want to be with her. but she’d been cutting, and i couldn’t turn her down, you know? i don’t want anyone to take their own life (except i did kind of want to take my own, but you know, ”i don’t count because i’m horrible”. i’m over that mindset now, but that’s the state i was in at the time) so i used pretty much all my energy talking to her. i was mentally and physically exhausted even before i met her, but when we started being friends i was practically sleepwalking through each day, except from when i was with her because i’d do my absolute best to strike up a conversation. it didn’t seem to help her mental state in the long run, but at least it seemed to make her temporarily happy. at first it was fine; i just had to endure her talking about how hot girls were, ”that girl looked at me and smiled so she’s gotta be interested in me” and what she’d give to have sex with a girl. i could stand it. it was tiring to listen to, but it didn’t take a toll on my mental state.

    but then she started talking about depression and suicide. i, of course, told her i was there for her and how happy i was that she’d shared her feelings and thoughts, all of that. but she talked about it at least a bit every day, and it was starting to rub off on me. i still stayed and was nice to her, because now i really couldn’t leave her. then it got even worse and i felt more trapped when she started saying that ”i was the only one who made her happy” (which i’ve since learned she says to multiple people). i was so horrifically miserable, but decided to just push through it because it was only a few months til summer break. and now i’m there and already feeling much better.

    i should reach out to her, but i know she’ll bring me into a downwards spiral if i do. i just can’t bring myself to. i’m sorry.

    thanks for letting me vent, and sorry for being an asshole.

    • J says:

      Look after yourself first. It’s like trying to help someone to swim when you’re struggling yourself. You need to be in a healthy place mentally to help someone else. Try and divert her attention to someone else or a resource that can help

  19. Christine says:

    I wish my daughter would read this article. She only thinks I’m attention seeking or being manipulative. If she could live inside my head for 5 minutes she would know this is not true. I’m 55 years old and so alone. My daughter lives in another state. One that is too expensive for me to move to and I don’t really know if they would want me close anyhow. My dream is for them to ask me to live with them but that will never happen. They have gone so far as to speak against it. It makes me very sad and depressed. I feel I’m a burden on my daughter. My 24 year old son is a paranoid schizophrenic who pops in and out of my life. He is very troubled and cannot live with me due to non-med compliance and violent outbursts. I guess I know why he hates me. They say it’s the disease but I believe it’s the fact I won’t let him live with me. It’s almost karmic, I won’t let my son live with me and my daughter won’t let me live with her. Maybe that is what I deserve for not putting up with whatever my son dished out. I have suicidal thoughts often but no actual plans. I fall into the ”Wish I wouldn’t wake up” category. Medication has been of little help and neither has the 2 1/2 years of therapy I’ve had. My therapist’s patience is growing thin with me. She talks about ”mindfulness” and I just can’t get my mind and body to do as she asks. Makes me feel like a huge failure. I’m afraid of her turning me in for a 3 day hold so I cancelled my next appointment. Because of Covid we’re only doing phone sessions anyhow and those are far from helpful. She texted me Saturday under the guise of checking in on me but once she confirmed I cancelled my appointment she stopped texting me. Another failure. If failures were money I’d be a billionaire. Instead I’m poor, getting older, disabled, getting no disability help (longer story) and too anxious and panic stricken to get a job. Will I be homeless? Will I suck it up and do what I need to? Only time will tell. Thank you for letting me put my feelings into words here.

    • Mona says:

      Thanks for sharing Christine. You sound like a lovely person but stuck in an unfortunate set of circumstances. Maybe try telling your daughter how you feel? She may not realize how down you are. I don’t have a good relationship with my mother, but we have recently started talking more (openly and honestly) and it has helped. I know it can be hard sometimes!! Hang in there.

  20. Ruth says:

    This is a thoughtful and important site . Thanks for being here.

  21. Linda Straubel says:

    This one’s for Dr. Freedenthal: Early in my teaching career, I had a beautiful young student who always seemed very cheerful . . . when she was there. One day she popped back into my class and I asked to see her in my office about her many absences. She cheerfully told me that she was at a party at a friend’s house when she suddenly swallowed everything in their medicine cabinet. This was one attempt of many, she told me. She never knew why she did it, but something would suddenly come over her and she’d try to kill herself again. She dropped the class and I never saw her again after that. I found this both frightening and mystifying and it’s haunted me for decades. What do you, as a professional, make of this behavior?

  22. Anonymous says:

    Years ago, I worked in a store. A woman came in, gorgeous young woman, all dressed in black. She told me she wanted to kill herself. So, I had no idea what to say. So I said, “please don’t. My world would be the worse, if you weren’t in it.” Which was all I could think of. She talked a little more, and moved on. I never saw or heard from her again.

  23. Human2 says:

    My gf has been suicidal for a while already. I’m happy that she is still alive. But i’m scared that she will actually do something today. (she has attempted before)

  24. Troubled juvenile says:

    my uncle wants to decide due to his mentality and stress he has in his mind. What should I do?

    • WL Perdue says:

      Troubled Juvenile

      Tell your Uncle you love him and keep him talking. Ask him every day how he is feeling and tell him about your day but make sure he knows you love him and would miss him if he were gone and that you need him. Feeling loved and needed is important and feeling normal like talking about normal daily stuff helps change the focus. Life is complicated, but the love of family out weighs the pain of life. It’s not your fault, you can help, but know your uncle is in a tough spot. You can help but don’t forget if things get too serious call for help.

  25. Emma Leeder says:

    My friend is in trouble. He wants to cut himself. I tried talking to him and said everything I could say. I need help. What’s some things I could say to him.
    I need answers. I care to much about him!!

    • Stacey Freedenthal, PhD, LCSW says:


      How sad and stressful! You’re a good friend for helping. Please call the National Lifeline at 800-273-8255 or text the Crisis Text Line at 741741. Someone there can help you. Sorry, this site isn’t set up to provide crisis counseling.

    • Anji says:

      Can you offer him a hug, can you phone him, and put kisses in your texts? Can you say, if you left, it would make me cry so so much… instead, can we go for picnics, a walk in nature, cinema together, and watch films… ask if yr friend trusts you? Church? Omg, I’ve had to learn Theology xx

  26. Ann says:

    Thank you thank you for writing about this. One of my best friends died from giving up on his life this way. And it hurts so bad to remember him & know I will never hear his voice again. I was too wrapped up in my own troubles to see the signs & I wish so bad he had told me what he was thinking.

    • Linda Straubel says:

      Ann – It occurs to me reading your post that the good doctor might want to address the feelings of guilt that friends like you might experience. It pains me to see you blaming yourself for being “too wrapped up in [your] own troubles to see the signs. . . .” You’re being unfair to yourself in blaming yourself for not seeing the signs. What’s more, we are all wrapped up in our own troubles and often people depressed and considering suicide hide those feelings either to spare others or to ensure they don’t try to prevent them from going through with it. I am sorry you’re in pain but ask you to be kinder to yourself than to take on the burden of blaming yourself. It is not your fault.

  27. Brenda K says:

    I found out this morning that my son had called the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at some point in the past. He said it was a giant waste of resources and that they weren’t any help to him at all.

  28. Linda Straubel says:

    Sophie – To echo the doctor’s sentiments, thank you for sharing how her words on this site helped you. I, too, am glad your friend is getting help. Finally, give yourself some credit for caring and reaching out to your friend as you did. It must feel great to know you made a difference!

  29. Sophie Le De Bo says:

    Dear Stacy,
    a couple of weeks ago someone who means the world to me, but lives half a world away, called me and told me that he was thinking of ending his life. In that moment, I felt completely overwhelmed and, frankly, absolutely terrified. Terrified that he would not be alive anymore when I woke up, terrified that I would not find the right things to say and thus failing at being his last hope. I couldn’t go over to his place because that is several thousand miles away, and I don’t have the contacts of his family or friends. That night, I found this article.
    Reading it made me feel so much better because now, I had something to go on, something I could say without feeling like I was making things worse. We’ve had several long talks and he is now much better and actively seeking professional help. I want to thank you so much for writing what you did, because it has helped me and him so incredibly much. I’ve thought about what you wrote almost every day since then, which is why I thought I’d now leave this comment just to let you know that you’ve made a huge difference to me.
    Thank you so much,
    xx Sophie

    • Stacey Freedenthal, PhD, LCSW says:


      What a heartwarming comment. Thank you so much for taking the time to let me know how this article helped you and your friend. I’m grateful that he’s receiving professional help, that you are helping him too, and that you let me know. 🙂

  30. Taylor says:

    Bring them something small that shows you’re thinking of them. If you know they’re severely depressed or suicidal, next time you see them, bring them a juice or a smoothie or a soda or a key ring with something you know they love on it. Remind them there are still good things in the world and you care.

  31. Ron Severns says:

    Have you thought of making this into a brochure or information sheet? When I do an initial interview with a new client, I do a suicide risk assessment. Usually the people I work with have a very low risk of suicide, so I often talk with them about how they might be a help to a friend or loved one. I think something like this in a pamphlet form would be very helpful.

    • Stacey Freedenthal, PhD, LCSW says:

      Ron, that’s a great idea! Thanks for sharing. I’m glad this post is helpful to you.

  32. Susan says:

    I’d like to add never be afraid to ask someone if they are ok. Signs of depression are not always obvious, but someone whose demeanor or activity level has changed may be struggling with depression and suicidal thoughts. Depressed people very often feel unable to start the conversation themselves, even with a help line or professional. I’ve been there. Having survived these episodes & suicide attempts, I am grateful every day that I am still here to experience this wonderful life.
    There is always hope.

    • Stacey Freedenthal, PhD, LCSW says:


      Excellent advice. We need to directly ask people if they’re OK. It’s also useful to directly ask someone if they’re thinking of suicide. It doesn’t give people the idea.

      Thank you for sharing here. How wonderful to read your story of hope!

  33. Mary Rose says:

    Just helped someone using your tools. The person felt relief and said I am one of the few people he trusted to talk to. Gave him the open invitation to talk to me whenever sad or suicidal. Many thanks

  34. Sheron says:

    Teens to young adults can become suicidal if they believe their true love does not view them the same way …unrequited love can be devastating to young people. As parents or friends we need to convey the urgent validation they seek is not as urgent as it may seem. Go take them seriously, but let them know many people do not find true love until their 30s or 40s and that their attention in other areas of their life will enhance their own enjoyment of a rounded future relationship.

    • Stacey Freedenthal, PhD, LCSW says:

      Sheron, that’s true, it can be helpful to challenge people’s unrealistic views. Sometimes it’s a tricky balance to help someone enlarge their perspective without sounding dismissive. “It’s not as bad as it seems,” while often true, can feel invalidating.

  35. Ashley Brown says:

    I am so glad for this. Not only do I myself feel suicidal at times, I work with those that have these thoughts. Thank you. This is a great article and I appreciate the time you took to write and share it

  36. Keith says:

    It’s so hard to know what to say or what not to say. Such a thin line there. My son is 14 , and has told me about suicidal thoughts. It was because of something that someone on one of the social sites said to him. The only things I could think of to say was… Why would you listen to what someone that doesn’t know you have to say? Then I told him that his mom and me and his brothers and sister love him very much. You have so much to live for and your life is just really starting and it would make us all very sad if something happened to you.
    All this seems to have helped him, I sure hope it has. Because as a father it feels like I have failed him somewhere down the line. It really hurts very bad.

  37. Ash says:

    I have a friend who I do not live close to anymore and he’s telling me he wants to die I think because of the recent break up he had with his girlfriend. I’m not sure. I asked him why he wanted to die and he replied with “ if you kill me I’ll tell you “ and I know he has access to a gun. But I live about 6 hours away from him. I really want to help him. But he won’t open up and I don’t know what to tell him anymore.

    • Anji says:

      Ash, did you say, if he was your real friend, he wouldn’t put you at risk of jail!! Tell him your glad he’s honest about his feelings, you care too much for him to do that stuff… and phone him to chat xx

  38. Gabby says:

    I’ve been struggling with depression for as long as I remember, at least for 7 years now – it’s gotten worse but that’s not the point. The point is that all my friends struggle with mental illnesses and all of them are suicidal. I’m not an empathic person, never been great with feelings and never been able to relate to others – especially mental health.
    It all becomes an evil circle which keeps getting worse and worse. I can’t help someone if I’m not genuine, but I’m not – I’m too mentally exhausted to do anything and I’ve just subconsciously started pushing everyone away, from family to friends. I don’t know what to do, I need a new start – leave everyone behind – get new people around me: but that would mean leaving friends in need behind and ultimately betray them.

    • Linda Straubel says:

      Gabby – From your last statement, I sense that you know leaving old friends to make new ones is not such a good solution for you. But you should also know that empathy, while it comes more naturally to some than to others, can be developed. It would make sense for you to try harder to be a more empathetic person, as that takes you out of yourself, at least for awhile. Maybe by trying that, you can create an upward, instead of downward cycle, among your friends and you can all be of more help to each other. I found this site with some advice on becoming more empathetic, which is pretty commonsensical, but it helps to have it spelled out. Here’s the URL: https://www.goodnet.org/articles/5-ways-to-become-more-empathetic-person

    • Shae Renae says:

      Hi Gabby, my son is in your shoes as well. I personally believe everyone has their own level of empathy especially when you are depressed and have your own stuff going on. I did see the article link that one of the other ladies left for you and it did have one of the things in there that I was thinking about recommending which is doing some volunteer work of some kind maybe going to a homeless shelter or doing something for the less fortunate sometimes that can bring you out of yourself and help you find a little bit of empathy and see how that feels because it’s going to be hard for you to be empathetic towards your peer group who are on the same level as you are. I feel like you need to deal with your own depression issues before you can actually be empathetic and helpful to others. I heard this quote along time ago and it has definitely resonated with me and been true and I thought I’d share it with you …” wherever you go there you are “ So no matter where you go which new friends you get what situation as you change your still going to be you with the same issues and create the same situations so definitely get it into some counseling and really dig deep and work on your issues and that way you might find that you do have empathy once you’re healed God bless you and your journey. It doesn’t happen over night but it does happen if you work at it 😉🙏🏻

  39. Anonymous says:

    Thank you for your article this has really helped me with talking to my suicidal brother.

  40. Tonya Taylor says:

    I enjoyed this part of the reading, because it gave you suggestion of questions that you can ask a person who is thinking of suicide

  41. Linda Straubel says:

    Well, not to diminish your struggle, which I do understand, I wonder if you’ve heard that to have a friend, be a friend. It’s not easy when you feel that you can’t do it, but try focusing on someone else for a bit. Maybe get involved in a hobby that interests you and someone will come along. As far as shrinks go, I know that they often serve no purpose but writing prescriptions, but I always found talking to my therapist to be helpful, and didn’t worry that she wasn’t my friend; she was doing her job listening to me and showing and feeling empathy. I don’t have a lot of friends, either, but have found that having a few friends who really care is more valuable than worrying about how many friends I do or do not have. Life isn’t a contest and we’re not in a sitcom where everyone has a close circle of BFF’s. Some people have the knack for having and keeping friends through their whole lives, but I think they’re rare. For most of us, our circle of friends shrink as we get older and the idea that it will keep growing is a fantasy of youth. I hope you feel better soon and find some hope in that you don’t consider yourself suicidal although you think of it occasionally. I think that might be more common than most people think.

    • Joe says:

      Thank you. Knowing that this is all mixed up with my use of marijuana on a daily basis, I’m not doing myself plenty of favors.

      My therapist tells me I need to quit or reduce (I smoke right after work and through weekends). Every day I promise myself that I’ll quit but seemingly I just nestle back into a comfortable smoking session of me hiding in my apartment, watching everything there is to watch on YouTube. Combine that with the Seattle Freeze. Go figure.

      I have a question: what do you mean focus on someone else? I’m asking because that’s really all I’m doing, and I feel that’s developing more insecurity. I may have a misinterpretation of this, kindly enlighten me. I truly want to improve; every time I think of suicidal eventuality it breaks me down.

      • Linda Straubel says:

        What I meant by focusing on someone else is to lend an ear to someone you know who is struggling. Sometimes people want to open up and confide in someone and all they need is a reason. Pay attention to the expressions on the faces of people around you and assume it’s not a response to you but due to some inner struggle. If you see someone who seems troubled, just ask a simple question, such as “Are you all right? You look worried.” If they want to talk, listen with all your attention. I’m a retired professor and the only thing I really miss about it is the meetings with students in my office. Many of them needed to talk and I appreciated their trust in me and think my listening with an open mind helped them. At the same time, it took me “out of myself.” To me, it helps to know that others are struggling, too. It’s just a suggestion, but sometimes when I get all full of myself and my own troubles, I lose empathy for others and that makes me even more miserable. And, on the grass issue, I’ve read somewhere that they’ve done studies suggesting that our brain chemistry changes after 30 or so and grass has a different effect, making us more paranoid and depressed than it used to when we were younger.

      • Linda Straubel says:

        Joe – It also occurred to me after I finished my last post that there is something else that helped me, although it may sound a bit “out there.” There’s a book entitled The Savage God; it’s all about suicide from both a research and a personal point of view. Reading it helped me at a time when I was as low as I’ve ever been. It gave me some perspective and distance to explore someone else’s experience and to acquire more knowledge about the subject. It’s also well-written and completely lacking in BS or “helpful” platitudes. It might seem like indulging to some people, but to me, it was an exploration that helped to quell the fear and depression. Knowledge always gives me distance and perspective.

      • Joe says:

        I hear you. I only started smoking a few years ago, so thats all in late 20s. I grew up a quiet straight A student who barely got in trouble.

        I do engage in this empathy exercise, and I can be a very good listener too, but I still see that many out there don’t find value or comfort in trusting me on that level. I tend to ramble and lose someone’s interest or tracking in what I say, which is quite evident at work, I’d say.

        I do enjoy speaking (though I’m not good at it) and have someone else open up to me but I don’t have people around me. I don’t have friends or people to hang out with, people at work are very segregational about their work/life balance and I don’t have any interests to even try and see some common ground, I tried meet ups but found no interests to genuinely engage in, and meeting strangers is just a customary ‘excuse me’ as I move past them or small talk with employees helping me as a customer (my landlord, register operators at Trader Joe’s, etc). I’m being specific because I’m actually trying to think of who else I speak to, but can’t think of too many examples. Sad reality.

        I’m actually writing this from a tech conference, I’m seated alone, writing this on my phone. I have no approachability. I speak to whoever’s next to me who 3 minutes into the conversation try to move away like I’m some sort of human repellent of a creep.

        Maybe I’m digging myself into this hole, but in the grand scheme of things, I lack identity. That’s feedback I get from everyone: my ex tells me that I’m the nicest guy she’s ever been with but she doesn’t have anything else to say about me, and thus would miss being with other ex’s who were assholes to her over me. Family says I have a ‘complicated personality’ and that it’s hard to understand because I’m ‘so smart’, and an old manager told me that she had no idea what I’m all about, but I’m smart enough for the job. I’m really not smart. I excel in making terrible judgment and within my work domain, I often end up being the weakest link in a team trying to accomplish some goal. Call me Calamity Joe, because once I start talking in a meeting I can see and few the eyes rolling as I manage incoherently use filler words instead of saying anything of value to further tarnish my already negative reputation. Think of someone who’d say “well, when I think about it my question can be summarized to.. Let me rephrase, I agree with what you say and think we need to take some action, but when you consider all that’s been said today, I think we’re on a good track, but the question is what else should we do”, this is addressing a question of “what’s next in our action plan?”. I hope I painted the picture.

        Since childhood I struggled with entering friendships, I was never in a clique as I grew up seeing everyone in one, and all my individual friendships are dissipated and not there. I went to school again hoping I will be able to recuperate socially, but I guess a masters program isn’t where you do that. In most places I worked I see people hanging out for beer and dinner but never including me, or whispering so that I won’t hear it. I joined them once (outside company organized morale events during which I’m pretty lonely) and realized I’m weird and quiet and some felt uncomfortable around me. I was uncomfortable myself. I tried meeting people on Bumble BFF, that also didn’t work, mostly because I am incapable of conversation beyond ‘hi, how are you doing?’.

        I’m now going through more unhealthy habits like browse cam sites, ask the person (male or female) to not give me a scanty show and instead to sit and talk to me, which is absolutely fake and is costing hundreds daily.

        I know I’m out of focus and can’t see a way out, and every thing I do is unsustainable. Put it all together and I see the trajectory of my life heading to a dark place. I don’t know of any support circles that can help because I know my situation is not what is described as critical. When I try sharing others start discussing trauma which I’ve never endured, physical pain which I haven’t faced either, substance abuse/addiction which I don’t have either, other stories just shows me how small and meaningless my life is, even when it comes to what I complain about and whatever keeps dragging me down is just myself, I’m not a victim, and I’m not hurting others, and for absolutely no reason I end up hurting my own self more. I hate myself, I know I’d rather not engage with someone who is like me, a head nodding mouth breather who needs to put everything who has only said ‘Hey! How’s it going’ and does not even know what a true human connection means outside of romance, which needless to say, I suck at.

        Maybe I’m upset for today, and I know I’ll feel better tomorrow, but this loop will keep happening like t always have and will never stop. I’m really sorry for wasting your time with my rambling.

      • Linda Straubel says:

        Joe, I’m using this Reply button because there wasn’t one after your last post. Please don’t apologize; you’re not wasting my time. I choose to keep reading because I’m interested and never find trying to understand someone is a waste of time. I don’t know what else to say tonight and am under pressure to get a presentation done, but wanted you to know I’m still here. Let’s talk again tomorrow, OK/

      • Joe says:

        Hi Linda. I mustered up some energy to get A Savage God from a half price bookstore. I’ll keep you posted.

        Your last post sat with me for a whole two weeks and really helped in injecting some sanity in my train of thought.

        I appreciate your time and thoughtfulness, reading over what I wrote I’m realizing while I’m always feeling like this, it’s only episodes during which I start shouting out loud about it in places like these.

        I really want to get better, I’m ramping off Celexa now, realizing it may have made me feel worse, switching to Prozac instead, which I’m already uneasy about. I feel the necessity to hide the fact I’m taking pills from people around me is quite the burden given early reactions when the topic comes up. Knowing it’s a human reading at the other end of this actually helps.

        Linda, thank you for being a real glimmer of hope.

  42. Joe says:

    What if you have no one to talk to other than your therapist?

    Having been a lonely soul for the past 3 years, the only human interaction I have is work or food delivery at the door. I’m in a long distance relationship which is turning out to be a lie of its own, and I spend all my time in bed, or at work, and once deodorant no longer covers my body odor I take a shower. I’m not suicidal but I have a very firm belief that my eventuality will be taking my own life, and that has only got stronger with time. Telling my girlfriend about it only freaked her out and then I ended up apologizing over 3 days until she spoke to me again, old ‘friends’ are people I haven’t kept in touch with, and last time I met a high school friend we got drunk, which counteracted with my SSRI and then I had a breakdown and cried like a baby in the streets of Cambridge, MA and said all I had; my friend hasn’t really spoken to me since.

    I’m delving into what the word ‘escort’ means for company, and I know there’s no positive outcome here. I can’t speak to my therapist about this because last time she said she would need to call the police if she sees I’m a threat to my own self (nicely), so I play nice and keep that to myself alongside my suicidal thoughts to myself. My psychiatrist is only good for upping my dose and giving me the same fucking lecture about how serotonin works.

    I have no identity or sense of belonging. I am entirely incapable of building true friendships, and before saying that’s a limiting belief, know that I tried, but failed miserably because I can’t be genuine, only because I don’t know what being genuine is, so I end up agreeing with everything and going with the flow until I realize I have no interests.

    I have no desire to get out and walk. I keep thinking how tomorrow will be better but I just slump back. I’m spending entire weekends in bed. Now I’m devolving from watching YouTube to venting on this comment board.

    I’m at least happy for this article. It was nice to imagine what it would have been like to have a friend who genuinely cares for you.

    • Linda Straubel says:


      Again, the “Reply” button is missing from your latest post, so I’m using an earlier post for my reply. First of all, let me know what you think about the Savage God. I found it surprisingly helpful when I was really down. It gave me perspective and let me know that I’m not the only person who’d ever felt that way. For another, it’s interesting that you feel awkward about your pills when others are talking about meds. I think a lot of mental conflict comes from a cultural bias about honesty. You don’t owe anyone complete transparency. One lesson I learned as a professor is that you have to be discreet about what you share with students and that, somehow, got translated into my every-day life. I guess, coming from New England, I always did have a sense of privacy, but there were times in my life when I tended to blurt out things that were better kept private. I guess what I’m leading up to is you get to decide what to disclose and what to keep to yourself and there’s no shame either way. It’s your life; they’re your secrets and you get to decide what to do with them. “Honesty is always the best policy” is a saying that needs to be questioned and keeping secrets to yourself doesn’t always mean they’re things you’re ashamed of; not every space is a safe space and not everyone deserves your confidence. Be wise and take care of yourself. Thank you for your good words. They lifted my day, too. Keep in touch. Internet relationships may not be as “real” as irl, but they are real, nonetheless and there are people on this site you who care about you.

    • Debra says:

      Joe, I know we don’t know each other and I don’t know if you will ever see this, but I am and have been where you are at. I am in no way trying comfort you or try to give you a bright side to look at. I just wanted you to know that you are not alone. I tried medications and they only increased my desire to end it, especially Prozac. So I choose to deal with my suicidal thoughts on a day to day basis. I refuse to see a therapist because they are being paid to help you with your thoughts and to”try to fix you.” That , to me, does not feel very genuine to have to pay someone to listen. There are so many people in the world today that I cant understand why we are not just helping one another. Teaching each other how to just live. We are surrounded by greed, lust, fake people, and without a real main purpose to focus on. So why wouldn’t we want to end it? Dying to live now is my oxymoron I created for myself.

      Linda, I am very pleased that you are trying to help people out in the world with this situation. I wanted to help you and give you some more things that may stop a person from ending it. At least this has helped me and I’ve been suicidal since the age 14, I am now 49. Words at the moment I am plunging into my downward spiral seem fake to me. What I really needed at that moment was someone just to hold me. Nothing more then just wrapping their arms around me and not letting go. To me that was more genuine then anything else. I could focus on their breathing, their heartbeat which would distract me from where my mind was taking me.
      The other thing that worked was my best friend and the only one who actually stopped me from hanging myself was my cat, not another human. Animals love you unconditionally, and I think this is where the depression stems from, is the lack of unconditional love.

      I am sorry for rambling on I just wanted to let Joe know that he’s not alone and to add to Linda’s insightful website.

  43. Seaira (Cece) says:

    one time when I was in middle school only in 6 grade I saved a girl, whom I barely knew, ‘s live. her name is Mary and I found out she was suicidal when I was washing my hands in the schools bathroom and I saw all the scars and recent cuts on her wrists. I told her to stay strong and go to the counselors’ office. needless to say she said no. so I went and told them my self. then one day I saw her again in the bathroom and I told her that I told the counselor about her. she started freaking out. like, FREAKING out she stated hyper ventilating and fell to the ground gasping for breath, pulling her hair out and everything. I later found out from my good friend MRS. HOLMES (hi) that I saved her life. Oh , and Mary, if you’re reading this, I’M STILL HERE FOR YOU GIRL!!!!! I lost my friend Lillie Rado due to suicide! I have had suicidal thoughts and cut my self and carved my dead sister’s name in my arm and everything! RIP LARISSA ANNE!!! I LOVE YOU BIG SIS!!!! And, Mary, you can call me at 815 494 9692 or 815 540 0362 any time! LOVE YOU GIRL!!!!! STAY STRONG!!!!!

    • ann says:

      i am so grateful to read this. a friend advised me to report another friend who was suicidal & isolating. refusing help. better to have an angry friend who is alive than one i didn’t report & who died.

  44. cheri says:

    It helped me for the other person to be able to understand the feelings I was having, maybe even share their story and let me know they’ve had similar thoughts or have known someone who experienced something like what I was going through, share how they got to the other side and that it is possible for my life to change and get better. Instead of reacting in horror as if I were crazy, being left to feel I was all alone and that something was wrong with me for ever having the thoughts. I always felt I had to pretend to be ok wearing a fake smile to convince everyone I was better after I exposed my thoughts of suicide to those close to me otherwise they’d avoid me which only left me even more isolated, hopeless and worthless. I can’t say this works for everyone but it was huge for me to hear I was not alone, can relate to what I was going through and understands my pain. As a parent of an adult child who contemplated and attempted suicide this approach didn’t work with my daughter at least not my story but I know it seemed to help her when it was someone who recently has gone through it or a peer closer to her age. We need more people to be aware and understand depression and that it’s not a choice. thank you for the ideas on how to talk to her. Even though I’ve been through it , I still feel completely unprepared for how to help her through this and not make things worse for her. I fully realize how easy it is for a person to say the wrong thing not even meaning to and the harm it does.

  45. Me says:

    I am interested in making a suicide prevention type video for You Tube especially directed at middle aged people. The reason that I want to target this age group is that its the largest increasing segment of people that are committing suicide. If any survivor or anyone else has what they believe would be special tips for this age group, please reply. Any insights at all regarding this would be greatly appreciated.

    • Linda Straubel says:

      One of the most informative, and readable, book I’ve ever read was The Savage God. It was written by a poet and based partly on his own attempt and partly on extensive research into the history of suicide and record-keeping on suicide. There’s even an extensive section on Sylvia Plath and their friendship, which ended when she finally succeeded in her own suicide. I highly recommend it and think you’ll find a lot of useful information.

  46. Anonymous says:

    I have a friend who has thoughts of suicide, and I say all the time that I care so much about her, and I always listen to her. Recently I found out that on a list stating people who make me feel happy, I was on the list.

  47. Anonymous says:

    During a time of deep depression and pain, I reached out and talked to a friend who I believed would keep my problems confidential. After listening carefully she said,” I got you.. No matter what is going on in your life, I’m here for you.” Because of the sincerity of her words, I felt a little hope because I knew I wasn’t alone, and she had the heart to care and resources to share…

  48. Angella J says:

    I am a survivor of more then 1 attempt . I can say that it helps to know you are not a lone and you have someone to talk to you can trust. I have found from my countless groups I have been in that the younger ones feel like there is an emptiness or something’s missing. Me when I got to the that critical point when I did the deed. It’s like I was outside myself looking in but with a lot of pain. So remember listen an be there for the person. An dont judge them. Sometimes it just take knowing you are not a lone. And some one does care. Me I always try and listen . If any one has questions for me about that part of my life I would be happy to share an answer any questions. Thank you.

    • annie says:

      Hi Angella
      Thank you for your honest and helpful information. I am a volunteer for a crisis line and would like to have some help in knowing what are are some helpful statements I could say to people thinking of suicide, and what should I NOT say to them. Any other advice is also greatly appreciated.

  49. Teo Sanders says:

    no none of these would work they would all just think that you are bluffing or trying to turn them selves in, from experience the mental asylums that suicidal people are placed into do not help in fact it makes it worse for them and most of the time when you tell someone “i would be so sad if i lost you” or “think of all the people who love you” will make them feel even worse for making them go through that and will hurt them even worse inside so, no do not use any of these call there parents or tell someone they know that call help don’t call the cops or any legal person because they will get in trouble for there feelings

    • Linda Straubel says:

      So, Teo, I see that you have lots of opinions on how none of Dr. Freedenthal’s suggestions would work. What would you suggest instead?

  50. Mike says:

    This Is The worst advice possible to give a person

  51. Donna says:

    Hi. I disagree with your suggestion to ask a suicidal person if they have a gun. It gives the appearance that you are giving the suicidal person an ideal of how to end their life other than the idea they have planned to in their life. Asking the suicidal person how they plan to end their life first is better in keeping you focused on keeping the suicidal person alive until help arrives.

  52. Sophia says:

    I think that was very helpful

  53. Christina says:

    My bf told me last night that he would be better off dead and talked about suicide. I was shocked and started crying but then I started talking to him… I told him how important he is to me and that things will get better eventually. I also told him how we’re in this together and we’re gonna get through this together. After a big talk he told me he started feeling a bit better. I don’t want to lose him and I want him to be okay.

    • Loralei says:

      Girl my boyfriend too and rIght now. I have said the exact things you have ab how happy he makes me and how important he is to me. But it doesn’t work and idk what to do. I don’t want him giving ever kill himself

      • Christina says:

        Hey! So sorry to hear that… Doesn’t it work even to the slightest? Keep trying.. maybe it will work. Tell him that he’s not alone in this and tell him to try and breathe. Never stop telling him that you’re gonna work on it together. Try to show strength and show how much you believe in him. Show confidence in your voice and the way you talk. My boyfriend is a bit better but he’s still having a hard time so whenever he brings this talk back, how he wishes he was dead or that it would be better to just die, I keep telling him that I’m by his side no matter what and that we can overcome it together. I think it’s also important to tell him that death is permanent but whatever he’s going through right now it is temporary and it will go away. Good luck xx

      • Linda Straubel says:

        It’s wonderful to be encouraging and to learn what to say and what not to say. However, I think these are serious situations and advising that the suicidal person get professional help is warranted. These people are trained to handle situations that we amateurs can only help a little bit.

  54. Thomson says:

    Very helpful. A person just message me in the Philippines wanting to end his life

  55. Anonymous says:

    Some of these are a terrible idea to say to a suicidal person

  56. Marlon says:

    My gf just told me that she wanted to die and i don’t know if i can say anything to change her mind. I tried to say some things to help but i don’t think it is helping. She said she felt this way for two years. can you help me so I can help her please?

    • Sarah says:

      Tell her how much she means to you, how important she is and how much you love her. Ask her why she feels this way, that you will always be there for her and that if she ever wants to talk about it, your there for her, listening to her without judging. Think of what makes her happy and do that, make her feel loved and wanted.
      Im a girl and im constantly thinking of wanting to die, but i know if i had a boyfriend or even friends that cared for me as much to do this.. i would be happy and thankful for them, but no, that won’t ever happen. *sorry for bothering you with that part*
      Always try your best to cheer her up when she’s sad, but if she wants some space, know when to give it to her because sometimes people just wanna be alone. but be careful that she doesn’t do anything when she has that a lone time! Many thoughts can run through her head when she is in that time.
      Always offer her your shoulder for her to cry on if she needs it and tell her how it makes you feel seeing her sad like that or having those thoughts. but be careful with that part cuz you dont want her to feel guilty about it and just hide it from you!
      Make her smile but make sure it isn’t fake cuz she might just smile to make you feel less worried but she’s still suffering inside.. so always make sure its real. if she tells you the reason she feels like that is a problem, try to think of ways you can solve it.
      Love and Care for her a lot, show her that her feelings matter to you and spend lots of fun time together and make good memories so that your love grows even stronger so that when feels that way, she thinks of those memories instead and of how much she means to people.
      I hoped this helps you a bit, and i really hope the best for you and her. Things will get better. Have a good day 🙂

    • Shantel Pine says:

      My opinion from my past is to say nothing and just hold her maybe say i got u we r goin to win this battle hold hold hold her

  57. person1 says:

    I don’t want to be *that* girl, but considering that I have been suicidal since I was seven (I’m now 16) and have tried to actually kill myself numerous times before, some of these things can easily EASILY do more harm than good. Someone asking me when I plan on doing it would, to me, sound like they were encouraging me. Especially if it’s one of the first things they ask. Most of it’s good, by God I wish someone would say these things to me when I say I wanna die as opposed to getting mad at me, but I mean at the same time some of it could leave a bad taste in the mouth of a suicidal person. Sometimes the best thing you can do is just say “if you ever need anything I’m here for you” and actually go through with your promise instead of doing what everyone else I know does and getting annoyed when I mention more than once that I’m not happy. Another key thing is don’t lose your patience. Seriously. Like, I’ve reached the point where I’ve exhausted all my resources and I’m now scared to tell even my therapist that I’m feeling unhappy because everyone gets crappy with me or completely disregards me whenever I mention it. Trust me I’m aware that you don’t give a sh!t, but when someone who wants to end their life trusts you enough to say something about it then don’t give them a reason to second guess their trust. That’s all I have to say.

    • Catalin Belbe says:

      How does that comment makes you “that” girl? I admire you more for what you said than some of my “friends”

    • Shantel Pine says:

      Wow baby girl r u really 16 i think from the sounds of it u r a very smart young lady u mention god and from my past he is my only saver yes its great to have a support team who wont give up and sticks to ther word but when no one is ther and that deep insecure lonely worthless sad feeling of not being good enough or etc the only one ther who can help is our father those who hear the voices of the dark will also have him if they ask i wish i could meet u it sounds like u have grown from your broken. Rose instead of them breakin u god bless baby sister u sound like a hero to me

    • Alexis says:

      Yes I understand you.. When you share such painful feelings, you expect more compassion and understanding. One thing I have learned is to evaluate my feelings more closely. And ask, do I really want to die, or is it that I want to live a better life? If so, what do I need to do to begin to create a more joyful life. It begins by loving the good things about you.. And saying love words to and about yourself.. Write yourself a love note and be your own cheerleader… Self love is Powerful☺

  58. Thank you so much i talked someone out of suicide when i was 12 and this really helped me

  59. Annoymous says:

    I have a friend, and she is suicidal. I feel for her a lot, and im trying to help her. Im really glad she opened up to me. I am trying my best. If anyone you know is going through this, just be with them. Help them as best you can. Maybe you can stop them from wanting to self harm like I am . My prayers go out to everyone struggling. Life has many challenges, and you have so much potential and more to yourself you do not know about. You were made for a reason. Whats yours ?

  60. Soppipia says:

    One of my best friends has been severely depressed since we started 6th grade. He griefs for his dead grandfather, but it goes on from there. Hes hit rock bottom, what do I do?”

    • Anonymous says:

      talk to her and say you should talk to people

      • Catalin Belbe says:

        Don’t tell her what to do, that’s a terrible idea. Stay with her and try to see her more often like : go to her house instead of arranging a meetup. She’ll feel way better knowing that someone’s going out of their way to see her.

  61. Kai says:

    Hi, I need advice. I am on a Long Distance Relationship with a suicidal person, and I don’t know how to cope/ react to him when he tells me he wants to commit suicide somewhere no one will know. What do I do? 🙁

    • Linda Straubel says:

      Kai – First of all, I am not the expert here; Stacey Freedenthal is, so you might want to ask her directly. But I do want to say that if he really wanted it to be a secret, he wouldn’t tell anyone. To me, then, this sounds like a cry for help. Try to get him to talk about why he feels this way and urge him to call a suicide hot-line or seek counseling. Maybe do a little research and give him some names and/or URL’s, where he could get help. Don’t try to guilt him, but do let him know that you care.

  62. MH says:

    My boyfriend is severely depressed and suicidal. He has been feeling this way for years but has gotten worse the past couple of years. He has had an unstable history with jobs which has greatly contributed to his pain. He feels rejected like an outkast and thus claims to hate people but his tragedy is that he so badly needs people to recognize and acknowledge his worth. He has a deep self hatred that is augmented by his reckless behavior and substance abuse. He will act out and then give himself more reasons to prove he’s worthless and can’t do anything right. He gets upset easily and does not know how to cope with any type of obstacle. Anything remotely bad that happens to him, he feels like it’s rockbottom. When he is having a breakdown, I try my best to tell him how much he is needed and how good of a person he is but he knocks down everything I say. He has anger issues as well and is not receptive when I try to help. His response to me is always like “So what?” “Where has it gotten me?” “Doesn’t matter, there’s no point.” “I’m a piece of shit and nothing will help me.” “I can’t be helped.” I don’t know what to do or say anymore. I live everyday in fear that something will set him off and he breaks down again. He definitely has good days, still has interests and gets excited about things, and acts totally normal sometimes but no matter how much he progresses, it seems he’s always just a step away from feeling rock bottom again and wanting to end it. I feel so helpless. Sometimes I think I make it worse when I try to talk to him. He only expresses himself to me so it feels like anything I say is just a broken record and has lost credibility. I know I’m not enough so I have his mom and best friend reach out too. It helps at the time but it doesn’t last. He refuses to seek professional help. I wish I could get him to talk to someone who has gone through what he’s feeling and overcame it. He so badly needs guidance and support but for whatever reason won’t accept it.

    • Yousef says:

      As someone who’s right where your boyfriend is, I would say that it’s a better place where he has the one person to talk to. I always feel powerless and used to discuss my thoughts and condition just with my girlfriend but now I stopped. I also seek medical help, which helps to some extent, but substance abuse, even the fact that I take antidepressants is a very well kept secret from EVERYONE. I stopped sharing my suicidal thoughts with anyone once I realized that it upsets my loved ones. I am alone and probably will always be, but having someone you’re close with who is ready to just listen and not judge or talk you out of anything is great help. I had that briefly before it got old with my partner and she is no longer receptive, and I find myself in a big lie of a relationship and no friends to talk to in confidence. My only outlet is my therapist that I see biweekly for 50 minutes, and that’s literally only because I pay her for sessions. I feel I’m rock bottom every day and have the complete belief that I will die by taking my own life someday, somehow.

      What sets your boyfriend apart is that he has things of interest that excite him. Help him use that to change his thinking. Just giving someone a warm embrace, and just to listen to them ramble angrily about all that’s gone to shit in life and just nodding your head in empathy helps. Your boyfriend is lucky to have you, and while you should never bring it up to him, the worst thing that could happen for him is to lose you. The fact that you’re a ‘broken record’ means it’s working. He comes to you and speaks to you, you are an immense benefit to him, instead of talking him out of things, lead him to the good things in life that he loves. It could be watching something on Netflix, walking in the park, or just remembering a really old funny thing that might’ve happened in the past. That’s the only thing that could help, the human brain can only think of a few things at a time, so make him think good happy thoughts. Funny thoughts, sarcastic ones, help him explore himself in new avenues and forge new happy moments filled with laughter and joy. Have him define success differently; I get it with job hopping, but ask him to identify the good things he was able to do on a job, even if it doesn’t matter, have him believe that he was able at some point to do something right, and thus he can do it again.

      Sorry for rambling on here, but I hope this helps. I’m no expert, but I know what the abyss is like.

    • sweetpeach says:

      I’m in the same boat as you are. I don’t know what to do. My boyfriend and I are long distance and he just told me that he is going to stay awake thinking about suicide. I feel terrible for not knowing what to say/do. I feel terrible for not being able to be there with him. He has no support where he is. He moved away from everything he has ever known. I’m so worried that someday he’ll just decide to leave. It’s so hard. 🙁

      • joestrawberries says:

        I moved away from everyone I know and got to a point where I’m staying a lone for the most part. I even work from home more often than not, barely stepping out and no support outside of my therapist. It feels scary sometimes, especially when you your mind imagines that suicide would be the eventuality, regardless of what happens today, tomorrow, or sometime later, and it is so impossibly hard to share that with others, let alone yourself. And long distance does not help; I am too in a long distance relationship and it’s not only lacking the support, it’s also not being able to support your partner from afar.

        All I can tell you is that your thoughtfulness and empathy will be top comfort source. Acknowledging how tough it is, and the fact that you may never feel it that hard, but genuinely relating to the pain will help. Sharing a solemn moment of listening and sadness often turns into a laugh and a smile, and from there to a good memory; the trick is that you must inject positivity to his mindset, but you have to do this from a relate-able level of shared emotion.

        For long distance, trust me when I tell you this: random packages of thoughtfulness and letters sent in the mail will always help, and will give one a reason to bear gratitude.

    • Kb says:

      Wow! You just described my husband to a T! I have no answers, unfortunately, I just want you to know that I relate and you’re not alone!

    • Kinzee says:

      Wow. This sounds almost exactly like my husband. Over the last 4 or 5 years he has talked about suicide probably 50 times. No exaggeration. The first couple of times I got really upset and scared. I have now desensitized to it. I know that is not good but I can’t call emergency services every couple of weeks when he brings it up again. He has been offered all the help in the world but won’t use it. I have told him many times I’m here for him and offered all the help available. Tried talking thru what he is depressed over. All the things to try I’ve tried except trying to have him hospitalized which is nearly impossible unless the person actually attempted suicide or voluntarily goes which he won’t. I try not to show my frustration but I think I am failing.

  63. jade bass says:

    thanks, you guys are a HUGE HELP on my school project!

    • Linda Straubel says:

      Just out of curiosity, Jade, what is your project? How are you using these posts? You can pm me at my email address if you’d rather.

  64. Terri says:

    What happen’s when the person you open up to for help. The person you thought could help just hangs up at the end of the conversation and never reaches out again? They just leave you with a now larger void then you had before?

    • Linda Straubel says:

      I know that must be extremely upsetting, but don’t let it push you over the edge. Not everyone has the fortitude or the empathy to handle a suicidal friend; some people will just be too terrified to deal with it. Maybe you tapped into your friend’s own depression or suicidal thoughts. Try someone else, please.

  65. Anonymous says:

    My best friend of 7 years is trying to harm herself. She’s a little troubled lately and last night her boyfriend was caught by her parents trying to sneak into her room so they could see eachother and now her parents are making her sleep in the room with them and she’s getting everything taken from her and she’s also just found out her boyfriend only used her for sex and that shattered her so she didn’t know how to deal with it and took 30 allergy pills. It didn’t do anything to her and she was okay, but this morning she got more and keeps taking them and I’m trying everything I can for her to stop and she won’t listen (ive delt with this same situation twice with different people) the last thing I said to her was to please check up with me on how she’s doing through the day (like what’s on her mind and how the pills are making her feel). I don’t know what else I can do, help?

    • Mike says:

      That can damage her liver taking that many pills and cause her unbearable extreme long lasting pain, and likely not kill her anyway unless its due to liver failure but trust me its a slow painful way to go! She needs to stop!

    • Stacey Freedenthal, PhD, LCSW says:


      Please tell her parents! She needs to see a doctor about the effects the overdose has on her organs. She also needs to see a doctor or therapist about her dangerous suicidal urges.

      If you don’t want to tell her parents, maybe tell yours. Or you could tell a teacher or counselor at school.

      Please, tell an adult who can help get her medical help. This is bigger than you.

      If you want to talk with someone about what you’re going through, please call the Lifeline at 800-273-8255. Or you can text 741-741.

      I hope that your friend survives this crisis and that you’re ok, too!

  66. Caylynne says:

    My crush is trying to kill himself and i want to know if i can ask my counsler at my middle school to help him out and then tell him i’m getting help for him with a counsler that has helped me with my situations and can definitely help about this. Plus its giving so much worries that i might lose someone that makes me happy and how can i deal with my worries for him and try to talk to him about this???

    • Stacey Freedenthal, PhD, LCSW says:


      Yes, please tell someone immediately about your crush trying to kill himself. In fact, if he’s in the act of attempting suicide, or in immediate danger of doing so, please consider calling 911. You can tell the school counselor but I recommend also telling his parents.

      It’s terribly frightening to have someone you care about want to kill himself. A good way to deal with your worries is to try to get him help (see above) and to talk about your experience with others, like a good friend, your folks, or a counselor. And, of course, talk with your crush. Ask him how you can help him. Listen, too. Sometimes how you listen is more important than what you say.

      There’s also a good book, with an unfortunate title, “Living When a Young Friend Commits Suicide: Or Even Starts Talking about It.” It might be of help.

      I wish you the best for both you and your crush.

  67. Beverly W says:

    Thank you for info my boyfriend in Poland told me he tried poisoning himself, because he thought I left him what it was was my cell phone died and I could not get another new one for 4 days he just thought that because he was asking me for help I had gone and did not want to speak to him anymore I just got the phone today and just found out that he has been hospitalized for 2 days if you have any suggestions with Poland’s way of taking care of their patients please let me know I was a Hospital employee for 42 years thank you

    • Stacey Freedenthal, PhD, LCSW says:


      That sounds terribly stressful for both of you. I’m sorry, I don’t have any advice about how hospitals work in Poland. Maybe someone who reads this will be able to help.

      I’m wishing for healing for you both!

    • Linda Straubel says:

      Clearly, I am not the expert here, but it seems to me that your boyfriend poisoning himself because he jumped to the conclusion that you’d left him indicates some serious psychological issues. If I were in your position, I’d urge him to seek counseling when he’s out of the hospital and physically healed.

  68. Darlene Hawk says:

    I must say that while I think it’s important to support someone who’s constantly talking about killing themselves, it can be damaging for both the potential suicide victim AND the listener. Unless you are trained and qualified to speak on such subjects, you are most likely not only unsuccessful about preventing the suicide, but also subject yourself to incredible feelings of inadequacy, anxiety, etc.

  69. Anonymous says:

    This has been an ongoing struggle since I hit my mid twenties. About 20 about years ago now. It began with debilitating panic attacks for no reason, which lead to depression, especially throughout life’s curveballs thrown along the way. Noone would ever know that I have severe depression and that I think of ending my life on a daily basis. I always have a smile on my face no matter how phoney it is. Apparently it’s very believable as well. I do not have a plan. But I am feeling more and more out of control and worry that my grown teenage son will understand these tears, as he is fatherless and has suffered from depression as well. I find that it is so exhausting working as a PSW, 2 jobs to support us, and I have nothing left in me when I come home. Nothing to give as hard as I try but love. And patience is so tested. I have no other family. Live in a remote area where the co-workers are toxic but there is no other job. No benefits. And then chronic pain from a nerve disorder. Today I thought I was leaving this world, but I found this page. Thank you. I needed to tell someone my story right now.

  70. Mary says:

    I recently had this conversation with a friend. I told him he made so many people happy. And made us feel beautiful. ( He is a photographer). And that God put us on this Earth. And he did not have the right to check out early. Right or wrong. This is how I felt

    • Linda Straubel says:

      Mary, While that may well be how you felt, how we feel is not always helpful in every situation, especially in this case. The first part, making people feel beautiful was great, but I don’t think telling him he has no right to check out. Suicidal people already feel helpless and worthless; taking away the one thing they still feel they have control over will not make them want to stay; it’s emotional black-mail. I’d stick to letting him know that he has value and that people love him; make him feel like staying is worthwhile, rather than tell him he can’t leave.

    • Allison Coleman says:

      i would like you to put yourself in their shoes and think about what if you wanted to kill yourself and someone said you have no right to check out early when you are sick and tired of the thoughts and pain that you feel because life has caused you to give up. so don’t ever say that to another person. as a 16 year old who has been suicidal for 3 years i can tell you i didn’t choose to be depressed for a lot of my life. i didn’t choose to think the thoughts i do and i sure as hell didn’t choose to be suicidal. so before you get all religious with god putting us on this earth and not wanting us to “check out early” bullshit. think about if god was real would he put these thoughts in his “children’s” heads about killing themselves and making things so bad and causing people to care so little about life that they commit suicide. so please don’t tell people it isn’t their right instead help them try to be there for them.

  71. Cherie says:

    My boyfriend is considering suicide. I was living with him and his two friends. I moved out because of major threats from one roommate. I would like to live with my boyfriend, but without roommates (in either friend circle at least) or just the two of us. He’s been a foster kid most of his life. His adoptive parents and myself are his closest family. He’s been sucked of life since I moved out a couple of days. He is someone I can see being with forever. Selfless, kind, good communicator, patient with a young lady as myself. I called, scared, this morning. His response of suicide is alarming and I want to have him around because he is an important part of my life. He is having a hard time unsealing this depression and deep sadness. I am trying to help myself get better from congestion and a persistent dry cough. I had to be prescribed respiratory pills because it wont go away on its own. I’ve lost sleep over coughing. What should I do and/or say? He’s 8 years my elder. I’m in my early 20’s.

  72. Malaya says:

    I’ve been going through things and I started to lose family and that’s when I went to breath out side to think and I started to look over the balcony and I was thinking should I jump or should I not jump but then I just realized I still had family and so I got away from the balcony and I didn’t jump off I’m still hurt but I tell everyone I’m fine but I just need questions on how I can work this out that’s all plz

    • Anonymous says:

      Just breathe. Talk it out. I’m in the same position as you. I want to die but I don’t want my family to leave behind. I don’t want them to hurt like me

      • Lexi says:

        I’m going through the same thing. If you ever think about it, tell someone. When you do you might start to realize things.

  73. Anonymous says:

    This is the worst thing I have ever seen this will not help this is part of peoples problems people who don’t know how it feels.

    • Anonymous says:

      Can you tell us how people who don’t understand are able to help?

      • m says:

        Just be there and tell them you are there and let them know you want to know everything, that you care to know everything, and you want them being able to rely on you. They really just want to be loved. You can still try to advise them, but showing the love you have for them is huge. While its big in words, its bigger in action. Trust me I know.

  74. Tiffany R says:

    I have been cutting for a little over a year now and have been thinking about killing myself because really who would care a burden would be lifted some people even tell me to kill myself and even say go to hell and I don’t know them so why make more of a burden when I could end it all here..

    • Linda Straubel says:

      Tiffany, First of all, I’ve learned that people will say nasty things to strangers just because they’re protected by their anonymity and they have nasty little minds. Ignore them; they don’t reflect who you are in the least. They only reflect who they are. As to your own feelings of worthlessness, I’ve had those feelings, too, but I’ve learned that feelings can pass, so you can base your actions on feelings. I went through a few periods of depression myself and learned to wait for them to pass. Reading helped; doing stuff helped, too, even if they weren’t big, important things. As to the cutting, I think that’s a pretty clear signal that a professional could help. There are therapists who will scale their fees according to your income; that’s was incredibly helpful to me. I found a wonderful therapist; I’m not saying that she banished all depression, but when those spells do come, they are shorter and less intense, so I wait them out. I’m hoping you find someone to help you.

  75. Anonymous says:

    That was a big help

  76. Katie Clinko says:

    This is stupid, Idiotic I think. I’m a suicidal individual and some of these things piss me up a tree. You don’t ask what their plan is or when they’re going to do it. That makes me mad when someone says that. I don’t know. If I did know, I wouldn’t share it with you.

    [This comment was edited to abide by the Comments Policy. — SF]

    • Stacey Freedenthal, PhD, LCSW says:


      I can see how it angers you to be asked such questions when you don’t know the answers. For some people who do know the answers – that is, for people who do have a specific plan for suicide – asking the question can be the difference between life and death.

      What would be helpful for people to say to you or ask you when you are having thoughts of suicide?

  77. Matyas says:

    I imagined someone saying these things to me and reactively responded aloud:
    1: “Why?” (said like they’re stupid for asking)
    2: “No you’re not.”
    3: “Like I’d ever tell you.”
    4: “If I’m ever homeless. Not much further to fall.”
    5: “Shotgun to the forehead.”
    6: “Yes.”
    7: “No there isn’t, humanity’s a cesspit and nobody including myself is anything but a meat target for bullets.”
    8: “Nothing.”
    9: “No you wouldn’t. You’d grieve half a day and go about your business.”
    10: “Yeah, right, that’ll happen.”

  78. Linda Straubel says:

    I can’t locate the post right now, but I’m responding to the person who wrote that they think none of these posts are helpful or sincere. While I can understand not finding responses helpful, I am puzzled that someone would find them insincere. Does this person think others on this site are just playing with people’s feelings? That would be terribly malicious and I don’t see that in most posts, although a few have expressed their frustration with their own feelings of helplessness. From my reading of most of these posts, there is a sincere expression of empathy and a willingness to offer helpful solutions. You might want to address Dr. Stacey Freedenthal directly on this issue.

  79. Anonymous says:

    No one really cares if I did it, I would just be another burden lifted.

    • Loyd W. Martin says:

      Please do not kill yourself. Jesus loves you, your life has value and worth. If you need someone to talk to, please let me know. May God Bless You and Heal You.

    • William W says:

      She said that, she says it a lot, but she’s not gone yet. I love her too much for her to leave. It hurts that I can’t say that, she need to know that life hurts, a lot, no words can do that justice, but if you can make it to that glimpse of sunlight for one moment, it makes life entirely worth it. She is my spot. I used to be like her, not with her exact problems, but I was restrained by certain persons to do such things as even bite myself… but she and her dad fixed me. I need to repay her. I think the best thing you can say is what a difference that person makes in your life and how much you love them, they need to know that they are needed. Many people don’t have someone to talk to, I didn’t, and still don’t. If you don’t have anyone, and too many people hate you (from what you can see), you need to push for that person you don’t know is coming. If I had gone when I wanted to, I never would have met her. I would never know joy like I do now. They will come, and if they have come and gone, another will, never the same as the first, granted, but great in their own way. Idk.. I get lost in thought with this stuff, and I scare myself. But I don’t hold on for her, I hold on for me, so that I can see her. When she leaves, she will be a happy memory, and I will never forget her, but if I needed her, I will never know who needs me if I don’t stay. It freaking sucks, I hate life, but I love that one part. It’s totally worth it to me. I’m sorry you feel that way, I really am, this hurts me so bad that others have to feel the way I did. It.. idk, but please. I love you, don’t go, everyone is a burden, some more than others, but you can make up for it. I know it’s all cliche, but it is so for a reason.

    • Ivy says:

      Hey I’m so sorry for the pain you’re going through. I’ve been there before. If you need someone to talk to I’m here just let me know the best form of communication❤️

  80. Anonymous says:

    Lol. I have suicidal thoughts and none of that was helpful or sincere

  81. Rose says:

    There’s someone on a site that I am currently using called, “Story Wars”, and you can follow each other to message each other. I followed a person who’s about 13 and she is thinking about committing suicide because she thinks that she isn’t someone of worth.

    I am trying to help her self-esteem by telling her compliments and trying to make her laugh with jokes but apparently, I found out today, that she had been cutting herself even before I had talked to her.

    I really want to help her but I don’t think I can. I won’t give up but it is very hard to try and convince her not to commit to suicide. How can I help her more to not do suicide? and CAN SOMEONE TELL ME MORE JOKES BECAUSE I’M RUNNING OUT!

    • William says:

      My friend cuts herself too, and has for 5 years. I know what that’s like. I’m sorry, you can’t stop her, no one but her can stop her. If jokes and stuff is all you do, that’s good, but… make sure to let her talk to you about it, she needs to trust you. I’m sure you know that all. There is nothing more than listening to her, and letting her know you are listening. If you ever can meet her in person, hug her. Don’t convince her anything, it’s her choice, don’t put pressure on her, she has enough. I know it’s hard, trust me. Just try to make the grass on her side look greener, but don’t try too hard. She can’t feel the force of your words, make sure you aren’t telling her what to do. Again, I’m sure you know that all. Thank you for trying, we really appreciate it when someone will talk to us. I love my friend, but I will not govern her life. It’s so hard not to grab her wrists and pull her in the right direction. I’m sorry, I really am. I know it sounds like empty words from a stranger, but I mean it. If you want to talk, that’s fine, I’m lonely and have time. Really, thank you for helping save her.

  82. Jay says:

    The one thing I keep coming back to is that there is no real help available unless you have great insurance or tons of cash. I’m a broke veteran, with severe treatment resistant depression . None of the meds have worked only gave me terrible side effects and sometimes even made the motivation to kill myself stronger. I have been to the VA, called all the hotlines. I think about suicide almost daily. The only thing that has prevented me from carrying it out so far has been my faith and the belief that by doing so I might be condemning myself to an eternity in Hell. I already am in hell now and the reason to kill myself would be to stop the hell of my life not to continue it forever! So far that has been enough but I can’t say that it will always be. I definitely know that after some grieving my family would be better off without me since my mental illness has caused them so much pain emotionally and financially. I have had a hard time keeping jobs and have been near homeless many times and things have been going downhill lately and I’ll likely be homeless within the week and I’m thinking about ending it before I have to sleep in the cold. Anyone who says help is available is Rich or full of shit! I’ve begged for help everywhere and sure when you talk about suicide they will try to stop you and they might even give you 48 or a bit more hours of mental inpatient care but after that you are on your own. I know I need long term counseling and therapy, expensive drugs I cannot afford, and maybe even a period of inpatient treatment. Will anyone provide this to a broke assed Vet?! Hell no they won’t. So thanks for all the false hope but can all the talk about help being available. It is NOT!?

  83. Chad Dicksoff says:

    Saved an acquaintance from Facebook with these questions. Thank you praise Allah.

  84. xnkxkxksdk says:

    wish my friend could’ve said some of this when i told her about what was going on instead on calling me an idiot :/

  85. chris says:

    i feel like i want to die right now. absolutely nobody on this earth is ever going to be able to understand my feelings. to empathise with me? sure. but no amount of people saying “there’s someone who cares” actually helps. to be honest, it’s very selfish of me – i think of my family, my mum, my dad, my sisters, and i know they’ll be hurt. i’d even go so far as to say they’d be devastated.

    but that does not change how i feel.

    the thought of my sisters taking ‘that phone call’ terrifies the hell out of me.

    but it does not change the way i feel.

    certainly not some stranger from half way across the world posting some rubbish like “you are not alone”, or “i hope and pray you’ll be around tomorrow to read this”.

    that means nothing to me.

    but i can’t be responsible for the pain it would inflict on people i love. so yeah – there are reasons to keep going. but that feels like chip fat compared to how much i wish i won’t wake up in the morning.

    i do hope you’re ok. but if you’re not, i understand.

    “i’ve been too honest with myself, i should’ve lied like everybody else”

    • Kelly says:

      Thank you very much for sharing that. It really opened my eyes to what my son of 17 years old may have going through his mind. I am just trying to get a hold of anything that’ll help out with me to help him out and this did immensely!!! You have a great sense about yourself and have the tools to help others that are trying to cope and move about in their grey cloud of life as they know it to be. You have a gift and I hope you put it to good use and spread the knowledge. You have a lot of great qualities and I’m not just talking out of my butt! Please use your tools and give someone some input as to how to deal with what you know so well and have been through! I am very happy you Are honest with this and not pretending. Pretending is the worst way to live one’s life and I’ve always told my 2 kids, that if you can’t be yourself, who can you be?
      Thank you,

  86. MorbidChild says:

    I really wish that the Earth would just explode already,

  87. Danielle says:

    I hear it all the time ” I am gonna buy a gun and kill myself” I am so tired of hearing it. It is hard for me to be empathetic. I need help on what to say I already told his mother.

  88. Anonymous says:

    I wish the person I am telling….would offer to help me kill myself.

  89. Anonymous says:

    No one cares! I have no family, they are all gone. I’m all alone. My boyfriend moved me to a new area and found someone else. We see each other as friends now. He tells me I’m too old for him but I was alright for awhile. I don’t think he wants to hurt me but he definitely has. I’m devastated. I couldn’t be more alone. I’m so hurt that it’s keeping me from getting back to my artwork/writing. I just don’t feel I’m worth one damn thing…and I’m not.

    • Linda Straubel says:

      The fact that this site exists proves that some people do care, even if they don’t know you personally. I care, and as a woman who’s been hurt by men in the past, after a childhood and youth filled with abandonment and abuse, it was easy to judge my own worth by the way they treated me. At the very least, I chose them, I thought, so that proved there was something wrong with me. I’ve learned since that it’s simply not true. Their treatment of me defined THEM; it did not define me. Narcissists and other abusive users have a kind of emotional radar that lets them pick out the vulnerable ones, like predators choosing their prey. Let me repeat this: this guy who you now call your friend, chose you and then dumped you. That treatment defines HIM, not you. The fact that he treated you, and still does, seemingly, as if you were worthless does not prove that you are worthless. I’m surprised you still hang out with him as a friend; I’ve learned that he’s the kind of guy a person needs to avoid to maintain a healthy self-esteem. Finally, this is just my advice. Be well and be kinder to yourself.

    • AubieLover says:

      This is how I feel.

      I met my boyfriend when I was at the top of my world. I still am, in a way, but the stress of his sudden break up definitely is taking its toll.

      He specifically told me that he would not break up and that, if he did, it would be amicable, not by text, and we would be friends. I already did not have a good relationship with my family, but he waited until the worst: my job announced layoffs, my mother stopped talking to me, my sister played a cruel prank on me, and THEN he sent me a text to break up and blocked my number all out of the blue!

      He is playing the victim because he was lying and forced me to hide our relationship while I spoiled him with gifts and love anyway. I feel so used because I put more than $10,000 into this relationship while he likely put $2000 or less. He only thought that I was worth a text in the end and not even an actual breakup.

    • Anonymous says:

      You are what you think!

    • Joe says:

      I’m so sorry the one you loved is having a selfish time in his life. Having the ability to create art is wonderful and to inspire yourself or others through your art can help yourself and maybe someone else that needs inspiration. I’m not fully religious but you have a purpose in life. This so called friend is not your God. Please know your heart is beautiful and you should focus on you and if you need someone to talk to hit me up. Make sure you reach out to anyone for support. Listen to Wilson Phillips Hold on for one more day! Changed my life when I was young! Just hold on!

    • Luz says:

      Your Creator loves you!! You are not alone!!

    • Anonymous says:

      Oh but you are. *hug*

    • zahid says:

      Don’t worry when ever there are bad day’s good days are so close…every thing will be alright. you have to be strong only, what so ever is ur current situation after 1 year when u think of this situation u will feel that u came from such a tough time now there will not be any other tough than than this, automatically u will get strength and u will become very strong

  90. Miracle wilson says:

    I had a few friends who were suicidal I was also suicidal once someone told me some of these things and it helped me quite a bit and now my boyfriend is suicidal and he scares me alot he means the world to me and I don’t want to lose him so these will help me help him thank you. And ps I’m 12 and he is 14 so we are pretty young and vanarble to suicidal thoughts people are mean and cruel and dont care that people like us feel this way and then when we do actually do they say good riddance and that hurts the people who cared about them

    • Samantha says:

      text me on instagram @im_here.hello i’m open to talk, as I am also a 12 year old girl that has gone through a similar situation

      • Jane villanueva says:

        watch “To Catch a Predator” to make yourself laugh. Kids– be careful about this kind of stuff.

  91. Random Guy says:

    Offer them thoughtful solutions to the problems they are facing. Often people want to kill themselves because they feel like there’s no other choice.

  92. Ari says:

    Tell them you love them ALOT and you sob in their arms and say please don’t do it if they try to or just say it

  93. Cut Off in Cali says:

    I offered this kind of help to a friend I thought might be suicidal. He is a former Marine and suffers PTSD and has been very angry at little things for a while. (rages about video games, cuts himself off from people and game communities that offend him for weird, minor reasons, very opinionated and is NEVER wrong about anything) I’ve known him for 25 years. He was like a brother to me despite his intense behavior. I calmly asked one day if he was OK and I was concerned for his well being and that he seems angry all the time and it was getting worse. I never brought up the “S” word though. He IMMEDIATELY became hostile with me. He was angry that I “thought he was some kind of crazy person” and that his friends were “turning against him”. Turns out another of our friends had brought up the suicide issue with him not long before.The ex-Marine has long had problems keeping friends and has burned SO many bridges over the years (with friends and exs) but I’ve always stuck it out and been his bro.
    Predictably he ended up cutting me off as well. Then he cut another person we are friends with off…and then another because we all had the same concern. I haven’t spoken to him for about 5 months now. It sucks and my feelings are hurt and it’s pretty obvious he’s still in a bad place but when do you just say “I tried.” and let them be miserable? He is quite fond of his guns and I think it’s just a matter of time until he turns one on himself but I don’t know what to do.

    • Linda Straubel says:

      It occurred to me as I read your post that your friend, besides expressing his intense anger at the world, is exercising some kind of control by cutting people off. It sounds like you’ve done everything right up to this point, but I wouldn’t give up yet, if I were you. I’d give it one last try, but I’d approach him with all the humility I could muster. That would be hard for me, but I’m sure it’ll be even harder for you as a guy speaking with a guy, but I’m afraid that if he feels challenged in any way, he’ll just get pissed again and refuse to even deal with you. Tell him how you feel, that you love him as a friend and are afraid of losing him permanently. I honestly don’t know if that will work, but I think it’s worth a try. I wish I could be more help, but I would also suggest that you address the professional who administers this site directly.

    • Anonymous says:

      My brother has these type of anger issues as well. I’ve learned after years that it might not be a matter of him being suicidal, it could just be an anger issue. Specifically look into treatment options for intermittent explosive disorder and other disorders like that. If he’s been acting like that his whole life but it is worse since he’s not a marine anymore, then it might be that he feels like he doesn’t have a purpose in life and he just might feel he doesn’t fit into the world outside of the marines. If he’s like my brother, it will be nearly impossible to get him to go to a therapist or anything like that. The only thing we got my brother to do was to go to a holistic doctor that did acupuncture and healing techniques like that. You could even just tell him you are going and ask if he wants to go too. The less you make it seem like there’s something wrong with him, the better. Hope this helps some.

  94. Eh says:

    Is there really help available though? I’ve tried to get counseling. I can’t afford to pay outright, insurance doesn’t cover it, I’m not religious so I can’t get it through my local pastor and every hotline or whatever focuses on stopping you instead of making the desire go away. Why is it so important to stop it anyway? Who are you (general you) to decide someone should continue their suffering? For what? Every person is the master of their own life. Shouldn’t they get to be the one to decide if it’s not something they want to continue? Should they just keep going through all the pain bc it makes you (again, general) uncomfortable?

    • Allison says:


    • Jenn says:

      Hey. I (general I) don’t and shouldn’t have control over another person’s life. I’m sorry that calling a hotline didn’t help you. They might focus on preventing suicide to give the suicidal person time to see things differently. But I agree that it’s just a bandaid. I think people should stop stigmatizing suicide as inherently bad; I do think that trying to find alternatives is important because suicide should still be a last resort. I’m sorry counseling isn’t an option right now. There are forums where people can talk about what they’re going through (like reddit.com/r/suicidewatch) and, if they want, seek advice. Or you can talk to me. In any case, I hope you’ll get the understanding and help you need.

    • Anonymous says:

      There is no help available unless you can both pay AND say the right things. But they won’t let me post this here anyway, so I just hope you get the gist by brainwave and love to you.

    • Doug says:

      The suicide hotline helped me. I was actually surprised at how the lady talked me down. She genuinely helped. That day I had a phone in one hand and a .45 in the other. I am glad I chose the phone. I am still depressed but knowing I can call somehow gives me just enough to go on.

    • Mia says:

      Wow your comment opened my eyes to alot. Great point !

  95. Tiffany R says:

    I am a suicidal person but as i was reading this i saw nothing that would change my mind because i already know the truth about me im a mistake,loser,waste of space,nobody,helpless,im just completely nothing i have nothing to live for even my family hates me so what point is there in even living the world would be better without me…..

    • Willow says:

      I am sorry you feel this way. I don’t even know you and it hurts to hear you say this. I am sure you are a loving and kind person. And the world can always use more of that.

    • sambhrant pyakurel says:

      i totally understand your problem, and i know its so frustrating that unless someone actually gets the feeling, its impossible to tell that person how its not something you just “get over”.
      i wanna talk to you, can you please contact me through my email? i will myself contact you from my instagram or any other place from there, if you are also willing to share with me. remember, i was also a depressed suicidal but i found love and am now trying to save anyone who shares their stories and thoughts with me. i have successfully saved over 200 people till now so you may not want to miss this. and by the way, i dont charge or anything, i am just an 18 year old common guy from nepal and just want to help.

    • Anonymous says:

      Fuck the world ! Stick around just to spite it. Are you a serial rapist or something? NO! SO the world would not be ” better off ” without you. The world hates me too and yes my family too….but I would be better off without them….as in limiting contact with them.

    • Diane g says:

      I don’t know you, and you don’t know me. Still, I want to be Friend.

  96. Gary Jones says:

    For me, without question, the most dangerous thing when you are considering suicide is Facebook. When my life began falling apart, mostly because I could no longer get my important medications for my diabetes, meaning I could lapse into a coma at any time, I reached out for help on Facebook.

    Instead of getting moral support, like even a few encouraging words from people I considered to be “friends”, I became the victim of truly cruel comments, like “stop whining”, “how could you be so stupid”, “grow up”, “stop posting your f*cking stupid comments”, “get a life” and worse. How cruel are these supposed “friends”? Don’t they understand what a dangerous time it is to heap scorn on someone who is already feeling worthless? Do they enjoy beating you down when you are at your most fragile state? Will they be thrilled when you are gone?

    I am truly shocked at how little people understand someone feeling that suicide is the only answer to eliminate all the pain and how just a few encouraging words, not damnation, might help.

    No doubt I am not talking about these cruel people when many people feel guilty after a person has ended their own life that they didn’t offer to help. Why didn’t I know they were suicidal? Why didn’t I know things were that bad for them? Why didn’t I try to help? They genuinely feel bad that it’s too late now.

    Many years ago I was at a party for the older brother of a friend of mine. He was known to be very gruff and a difficult person to like. At that party he was literally the life of the party. A completely changed man. He was funny, happy and delighted to see you. Everyone was shocked at how much he had changed.

    The morning after I got a call that he had hung himself under the bathroom sink. It was tragic to think he could have stopped at any time and just got up. His conviction to suicide was unbelievable. At his funeral everyone who had been at that party felt incredible guilt that they didn’t realize why he was so different. Maybe he was just trying to make amends to people who didn’t care for him.

    Personally I don’t feel any joy right now. I don’t feel the need to apologize to anyone. I have always treated people well simply because I do believe in the Golden Rule. How naive.

    • Linda Straubel says:

      Gary, I know exactly how you feel about Facebook and I have had some truly shocking and demeaning comments aimed at me, but those are the people I now know are not my friends; maybe they’re nobody’s friends and they just use FB to vent their vile spleen through the mask of the internet. Those get blocked and my list of blocked former FB friends and just general responders has grown by leaps and bounds of late. But I don’t think believing in the golden rule is naive. People who don’t obey that rule don’t have to be part of your life, but there must have been some people who responded with compassion. Seek them out and forget the rest, would be my advice. If that doesn’t help, find professional help and don’t worry that you cannot afford it, if that’s an issue. I found someone who works on a sliding scale and accepts insurance when I decided to get therapy. I hope you feel better.

  97. Anonymous says:

    My best friend found out that her mom messed around with her boyfriend, she tried to kill herself three days later.

  98. LoserInLife says:

    Many people really don’t take it seriously. I feel suicidal and the only thing that has kept me here is not knowing where my soul would go if I did it.

    No one takes me seriously because I am told that I’m “pretty”, I’m a local actress, I am a musician, and I am a scientist. People think that I have it all.

    However, I came from a very religious but abusive family. I feel dirty from every little sin due to the religious brainwashing. My brother and sister were kicked out of the house and became homeless and I never got over it. I was constantly threatened with being kicked out of the house to the point in which it traumatized me. Finally, my fiance just ended everything with me by text after dragging me through four years of hiding our relationship and blocking my number for small misdeeds.

    I am in so much pain but no one cares because it seems that I have it all.

    • Anonymous says:


    • Gary Jones says:

      I know all too well how you are feeling. I have reached out to my supposed “friends” for help but all I got were vicious, insensitive, cruel comments. I am truly shocked that these ignorant people do not understand how hurtful their comments are and how they can just push you over the edge. I hope you survive.

    • Losing control says:

      Hi I hope you will see my comment, I understand you and understand some of how you feel. If I told anyone of my friends or family how I feel and how often I think of suicide they would all literally tell me I’m crazy. When I have said at times that I’m not happy my friends said ur crazy I wish I had what u have. Ur beautiful and smart and blah blah blah. So that’s it, I cant discuss this with anyone. Theres only one reason I havent gone thru with it and that is because of my mother. I am the only one to take care of her when she will need it most likely soon. But lately I’m having to force myself into thinking that just so not to do it. My family would be angry if I mentioned it and I would feel ashamed if they found out. My friends think I have it all because that’s how I portray myself at times. So there is someone here who understands you.

    • Loyd Martin says:

      Dear Sister, Jesus loves you. Please do not give up hope. God made you wonderful and has great things for you.

  99. Anonymous says:

    Your an awesome person! Keep doing what you do and if ever I meet GOD I will tell him thank you for what you do!

  100. exhausted says:

    I’m always there for people, but when I feel bad, well, I’m just a buzz kill and no one wants me around. No one takes care of me. when I can’t take care of myself. today was a bad day, instead of addressing it, I get ignored, they hope it will just go away. Maybe I should just go away.

    • Linda Straubel says:

      Exhausted – I know just how you feel. People who play the role of the shoulder or the listener get kind of “typecast” into those roles and people used to confiding in you get uncomfortable when you are the one who needs someone to listen or to help. Perhaps you need to be more explicit about your needs, as in choosing one person you think might be a good listener and telling them clearly, “I need to talk; can you be there for me?” If the first person doesn’t seem able to be there for you, try the next and don’t give up until you find someone who will be there for you. I’ve been stuck in that same situation because I’ve always been better at listening than confiding my troubles to people; I guess I’m afraid of being rejected or maybe it’s just my ingrained “New Englandism.” But don’t let anything stop you; keep trying till you find someone. If you can’t find a friend to listen, find a therapist instead. I found that extremely helpful. Good luck to you and I disagree; you should not just go away.

    • A Friend says:

      Hey, I’m sorry that you feel this way but the truth is that you are not a buzz kill. I am sure you have someone for you even if you don’t realize it. It could be a random person on the street that said hi to you four weeks ago or a family member. I am always there for you even if I may not know you but I know what you are going through and I want to be there to help.

  101. who cares says:

    Telling someone that help is available is one of the WORST things you can say to someone who’s ready to off themselves. You might as well say JUMP as to tell someone who’s gonna kill themselves right after this post that help is available. If help was available we wouldn’t be suicidal in the first place. how many times have you reached out for help and no one listened or did anything? It’s not a responsible proactive thing to say to someone who has already concluded that help is a myth just like it gets better or temporary problems or whatever else people who know nothing say. try again. also have a nice day.

    [This comment was edited to abide by the Comments Policy. – SF]

    • Stacey Freedenthal, PhD, LCSW says:

      “Who cares,”

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts here. I’m sorry that others have let you known when you’ve reached out for help. I am also curious, what do you propose saying to someone instead of “help is available”?

      I’d also like to note that even though others did not help you, that does not mean help isn’t available. There are many places you can call, text or email for help (see the Resources page), in addition to therapists, psychiatrists, clergy, primary care doctors, and others in helping professions. Although it’s devastating to ask for help and not get it, I hope you will not give up.

  102. Anonymous says:

    I love you. Please don’t die. Please get help. I know it will get better. Just think of you in 20 years, with your family, watching your children or grandchildren playing as you sit on the porch with your spouse. Someone out there loves you. Reach out to them and get help.

  103. Anonymus says:

    I found that the biggest thing I did for my friend who was suffering from depression and thinking about suicide was reach out. Don’t make them instigate the conversation. Express your worry and how much you care about them. I found that speaking for others isn’t the best either. Let them express their emotions, even if they aren’t at you. Make sure they have contacted help, or contact it yourself if they haven’t. A hug works miracles. The biggest things that I did was reach out whenever he seemed to be suffering, encouraged him to talk to me, and LET HIM KNOW HOW MUCH YOU LOVE THEM. Make sure they know that you love and care for them and how sad you would be if they were gone. Prioritize them. They need to know that someone cares. Keep talking to them.

    Please don’t leave them alone. I cried when he told me he was thinking about suicide.

  104. nobody says:

    theres nothing you can say to me to change my mind i want to die period

  105. Pravin joshi says:

    This article was helpful, the most important thing is to communicate with the person and let them know that you are there for them.

  106. Addy says:

    my boyfriend is thinking about committing suicide. He said he would put a gun up to his head, just to make the world a better place, im crying my heart out, i’m scared and i’m trying to convince him not to . and he said not to get him help.

  107. Angela says:

    My friend is suicidal and I have asked if There is anything I can do to help and she just says “I don’t know” What do I do?

    • Alex K. says:

      Suicide, by nature, is a cry = no – a scream, for help. It’s a degree of hopelessness that leaves someone totally desperate for someone else to take over. You, the friend – are powerless over this persons degree of hopelessness – however, a Dr. is not. It’s your DUTY to call a professional. Unless this person has a massive cancer or incurable disease of some sort – it is your DUTY to call professionals and report this. She may accidentally kill herself, as my Sister did last summer.
      Don’t wait another day. She may hate you for it – but, you don’t want to be in my shoes.

      • Stacey Freedenthal, PhD, LCSW says:


        I’m very sorry about the suicide of your sister last summer. It’s a devastating loss.

        I don’t understand what you mean by “It’s your DUTY to call a professional.” Professionals can intervene with clients but not really with strangers (though I can envision some exceptions).

        Perhaps by “call a professional” you meant “call the police”? If a person is at imminent risk of suicide – meaning, there’s evidence they intend to kill themselves within minutes, hours, or a few days – then yes, it *might* be helpful to call the police. But calling the police also can do harm and should be a last resort.

        Except when the suicidal person is *currently* in danger (e.g., has a gun with them and is saying they will shoot themselves, in which case calling the police is needed for the safety of both the suicidal person and the friend), the first course of action should be to listen. Listen and try to understand. Give the person a safe space to share their story without judgment or rebuttal. Sometimes, this connection alone provides enough hope to the suicidal person for them to agree to let others help them, or to work on their challenges, or to see another way out.

        You are right that sometimes a friend is “powerless over this persons degree of hopelessness.” (I write about this in my post, “You Can’t Do Everything”: Limitations in Helping a Suicidal Person.” But it’s not always true. Keep in mind that suicidality exists on a spectrum. Some people want to be dead, or have fleeting thoughts of suicide, or think about how they’d kill themselves without really intending to – and so on. These people are not as afflicted with hopelessness as others on the extreme end of the suicidal continuum, and friends and family can and should reach out to help to the degree that they can, in my opinion.

    • love says:

      miss her. no really..

    • katie Allen says:

      tell people get it out there make them feel love keep them away from things that stress them out make them sad anything like that try to find out why they want to and try to fix the problem always be talking to them and if you can watch them never pressure them put yourself in their situation and ask yourself what would I wanna hear I hope everything works out suicide is a very scary thing especially before it happens and we all need to help each other

  108. Arianna L Wilkins says:

    As a suicidal person myself, I can personally tell you that most of these are actually belittling. They may SEEM genuine however they only make you feel as though there is something further wrong with you and by existing or not all you end up doing is hurting the people around you. An alternative view on this is that it makes you feel as though you’re being selfish by being so hurt that you don’t want to deal with a pain that stays with you long enough for you to actually consider suicide to be an answer.

    • Linda Straubel says:

      Arianna – So what would you suggest would be a good thing to say?

      • Anonymous says:

        Nothing to say. Just show up. Stop talking and go to your friend. Hug her/him. SHOW UP! That’s a friend. Fuck texts and calls. Show up. Be present.

    • Alex Kiel says:

      You want someone to make you feel better – but, nobody can do this for you. You have to surrender to the fact that suicide is extreme and there’s no going back. Call a hospital, check in, and get on anti depressants.
      “This too shall pass”
      trust this – it does pass get yourself some help while you sit there waiting for someone else to have you institutionalized.

  109. Annette Kielhurn says:

    My closest Sister and lifelong best friend said to me “I just can’t imagine a world without you in it”. She and I share a disease of addictions and have a true meeting of the minds. When she said this to me, it occurred to me that she’d suffer tremendously without me. She gave it deep deep thought before she said this, paced the room thinking and truly ‘playing the tapes’ – her response was from a deep place in her heart. She didn’t try to patronize me or tell me how silly I was acting. Instead she told me how difficult it is to commit suicide – and then, let me know how much she depended on me with her first statement. She passed away last summer….an accidental death caused by years of drug abuse, so they say. She died of drug withdrawals. A body can take just so much and when her Dr locked their doors in fear of trumps war on drugs – without a plan to save those already addicted – she died. and, Honey (her name) I have to live in this world without you now – and there’s not a day that goes by that I don’t spend time with you, in my heart and mind. You cannot imagine how much you’re missed and the amazingly powerful impact that you’ve made on the lives of so many, who say “I would be dead today if Honey didn’t get me into AA”. Up and down the eastern seaboard – she’s honored for her work with others – but, just couldn’t bear the heartbreaks in her own life while she was prescribed pain meds. She lost a lifelong battle to drugs and alcohol – and this physician could not heal herself while in the hands of this disease.

    • Rhonda Bonner says:

      I will probably end up killing myself because of the physical pain I am in with no painkillers to help . But dying from withdrawals is just as bad. I am sorry for the loss of your friend. Another tragedy from the war on drugs.

  110. mother says:

    My daughter is autistic she hates to go to school. We are getting in trouble because she will not go to school. The environment at the school is safe and she has many resources available. She wakes up gets ready but then refuses to go. I tell her that she is required to go and her reply is you want me to kill myself? This is the response we get every time. She is under psychiatric care and counciling in the school and privately. I try to ask the usual questions for a suicide individual but I am exhausted with her threats. She attempted once with pills was sent to mental institute for a week and hated it. She came home and has been ok but still will not go to school. We are running out of options.

    • AKielhurn says:

      I’ve learned that threats of suicide are most commonly a cry for help and attention. Many times it’s not – many times it’s real. To me, an outsider just reading your post – your daughter sounds very very frustrated over something happening in her school. Maybe you can ask to put a camera in her classroom so you can moniter her behavour to get to the bottom of why she’s feeling so hopeless? I was able to do that with my child in her 7th grade of school – I’d def try that if this is what you’re up against. You won’t get ‘facts’ from anyone – but rather opinions. I’d want to see for myself why she’s so hopeless and frustrated. Then – I could help her and answer her cries.

    • kidfromhell says:

      wow thats nuts. but shes not so much autistic as she is a master manipulator. Im so sorry you have been dealt such an awful hand such as this
      many parents have.
      in good news is there is still time. its not going to be easy but you as a team your husband and you need to be strong and stand up for yourselves and stop enabling her to manipulate you with threats. She is not going to kill herself if she goes to school. But she is slowly killing you by testing your patience.
      So if you cant get her to go to school how do you get her to go to the hospital?
      Have you tried a dose of giving her her own medicine so to speak? I dont know much about autism so what im saying probably is null and doesn’t apply..

  111. Anonymous says:

    Can being told, “It just happened,” contribute to chronic depression with psychotic features while ur being beaten and molested?”

  112. justAnotherOne says:

    this is what not to say to a suicidal peron this will only make them feel more trapped in this world and more obliged. and when they dont feel comfortable answering its gonna make them feel guilty, then dissapointed, then you know what happens after that.

  113. Lavi Mare says:

    It was nice to know that by telling a suicidal person that help is always available, they will not feel so alone, hopeless, and helpless. I am willing to extend my assistance to a friend, so I am glad that I saw this article. Aside from this, I think it is a good idea to ask him to listen to an encouraging podcast. Surely that will help him realize that he is not the only one suffering and that there are so many people who can and are willing to help.

    • No yo says:

      Even if people think that he or she aint the only one with problems like that there are still some people who do not really care for those words. I my self got problems. There are many times I can not think straight like that. I who got that same problem only think of the problem at hand and not the thing around me. I can only see the problem as a really big thing that is always wasting my life away. Like a battery. Tho I want to go forward with my life but I can not. There are too much of the problem that makes it very hard to really move on to the future.

      • Linda Straubel says:

        No yo – You seem to be suffering from a feeling of hopelessness and I’m sorry. Maybe one place to start is to notice that you yourself stated that you can’t think straight. Maybe that can mean that you don’t have to believe your own idea that it’s hopeless, if you see what I mean. Your thought process is being affected by your feelings so you don’t need to act on suicidal impulses; consider them as incorrect ideas you don’t have to follow. I have one question: what have you done to try to get help? Please don’t give up; your life matters.

    • Torio says:

      I really have to disagree with the podcast part. A inspirational podcast can come later, when the situation is under control. Many people are aware they are not the only person in the world that is hurting. They already know so many people in the world have either similar situations, or have it way worse, and that will contribute to their guilt.

      They need help more immediately, the inspiration can come later when their situation is more stable.

  114. Summer says:

    Although these are nice an all due to experience these wouldn’t help knowing people care to me makes it worse and made me more likely to act on it obviously not everyone would agree, also I wouldn’t answer the oh hey so ummm when do you think your gonna do it, I’d probably say wait and you’ll find out I’m just that kind of a person

  115. Shnika says:

    While these may help some people I find that I’m just angry at them they sound so robotic and if someone were to say this to me I’d more then likely not want to get any other help that’s just what I think tho

  116. Caeden says:

    my partners suicidal. Rn she’s mentioned drowning and other things. If someone’s on pls help me. I’ll fill u in on more information. I’m unable to get to them in person for a while. I’m really concerned please help.

  117. Lidia Ochoa says:

    How can you help someone from suicide when you’re suicidal yourself?

  118. Christy says:

    Honestly I’d get so annoyed by most of these things it just sounds like something you’d read they don’t sound genuine it’d annoy the fuck outta me and I wouldn’t talk anymore

    • Anonymous says:

      Christy, that’s the worry for many, what if they are going to do it, and they won’t talk? I was like that, a d ask, please talk, people don’t know how to love you, when yr wall is too high for them to be there for you. I get so confused by silence of the man I’ve loved… is he sad or just busy? I want to hold him so much… then there’s the 1, filling himself with too much alcohol etc , ..will he really wake up? Or poison himself? Wtf do I do to stop him poisoning his body?

    • Linda Straubel says:

      Christy – What would help you?

  119. Shikyna Duncan says:

    Tell them that it’s ok and don’t tell them u understand because u don’t (it will make them really mad).

  120. Kate says:

    This being suicide prevention day, my feeds are full up of posts declaring support ‘if you ever need to talk’ ..etc. But I find these posts only inflame me because no one directly reaches out to specifically talk. I feel like this day is for people who have no clue to feel like they’re doing their part and being proactive, making a difference. It’s a trigger for me, to be honest. I have a history of depression and all that good stuff. I’m also self aware and have an apt with my psychiatrist tomorrow. So I’m not looking for anything of the sort from this site. I simply want people to understand how isolating this can be. If you post something of the sort, why not also reach out to someone who suffers from depression, or has attempted in the past. Just a ‘hey how’s it going’ could be worth so much more than a generic post about how approachable you are.

    • Stacey Freedenthal, PhD, LCSW says:


      These are excellent points. Folks can’t just rely on hurting people to tell us they’re hurting. People also need to ask. An image comes to mind of someone who’s choking and can’t talk as a result, and others ignore the person because there was no request for help. But the choking person couldn’t ask for help – they were choking!

      In the same vein, often people who are hurting emotionally feel too isolated, worthless, burdensome, or something else painful to be able to ask for help. It’s great if people are able to ask for help. It’s also great if people can ask others if they need help.

      Thank you for sharing here!

  121. Cindy says:

    I am grateful and afraid that I found this site today. Our 21 year old son has talked about wanting to die for many years. He was in 6th grade the first time he verbalized it after being bullied at school. I freaked out, cried and told him to never say those words again. He didn’t for a couple of years. The next time, and most times after, it starts again after a girl breaks up with him. His self-worth becomes so low that I’m not sure he’ll come back from it. But then he does and life is good for awhile. And then it isn’t.

    There have been times when we have blown it off as “he’s being dramatic,” but there have been a couple of times when a rush to the emergency room or police check up visit was in order. I’m certain I have said all the things NOT to say out of fear and in an attempt to help. I didn’t realize the shame and guilt my words were creating within him. Thank you for sharing the words to say.

    He’s in college and this past week I went and had dinner with him. We had fun eating, talking, laughing and walking the park together. This time was different though – I tried to listen and just be there for him. Although, I did try the “suicide is selfish” statement and regret it now. He started therapy last week and, hopefully, he will continue and get to the root of his pain. Usually, when he starts to feel better, he stops therapy and sometimes his antidepressants.

    He shared with me that he has decided how, but not when and where. This scares me more than ever now and I want to seek help, not only for him, but for me and my family members. We had to put our dog down this week and we were all there together – crying and supporting each other. He told me that after seeing the pain that caused all of us, it made him think twice about putting the family through his death (this is when I used the selfish card – ugh!).

    So many thoughts. So many fears. This is hard.

    • Shinola says:

      Dear Cindy,

      I am very sorry to hear that your son sounds like he is wired to feel pain on such a deep level. Please be empathetic to him. When my mother tried to kill herself at 16, she actually turned it all on me. She told me that because I wanted her to get help that I was “sadistic” and that I “only cared about her car.”

      I’m probably wired much the same as her, in some ways. I have the sensitivity…almost as if empathy had a very dark force…an empathy you feel so deeply that you can assimilate the pain of others as your own. I am 42 now and I am having a very rough go. As I said in a post below, I have had a “safety plan” for nearly 30 years. Please just keep encouraging your son to express himself to you. Even when his thoughts are beyond scary…people need that safe outlet and they do not need to be judged. Suicidal thoughts happen to people…just like breast cancer.

      Please make sure he continues treatment. I can say from experience, having finally got out of a 23 year career where admitting to mental anguish was a career killer. I wish I had started therapy and treatment a long, long time ago.

      I am grateful for your words tonight. I’m fighting myself.

      • Stacey Freedenthal, PhD, LCSW says:


        I’m glad you’re fighting. I hope you keep fighting. And I’m sorry you’ve had to fight for so long.

        I agree completely that suicidal thoughts happen to people in the same way that cancer or other illness happens to people. It is not the suicidal person’s fault. Reacting to a suicidal person with judgment or blame is not only unfair, but also dangerous.

        Thanks for sharing here. I hope that, soon, your anguish lessens and you experience healing in its place.

      • Cindy says:

        Thank you for your response and kind words. I definitely want to keep the door open with my son and will be more empathetic in the future. It saddens me to hear the story about your Mother and your many years of fighting. My hope for you is that you have found the right therapist, you continue to fight and find peace along the way.

      • Beth says:

        Hey Shinola and hey Cindy! Hey Cindy as hard as this sounds, if you could, dig deep inside of yourself and see your son as a Young Man that has honored you in a great way by expressing his innermost self when he suicidal. He needs to know that it is an honor that he is telling you these feelings. Just saying those words out loud somehow or another seems to lend itself to becoming more detached, clear-minded, Freer for yourself and him, just being an adult that he trusts is cool. I don’t mean to sound cruel. I’m not good saying or not saying the right things that’s not important. What is important is that you reach down into your heart and hear his truth, which is totally separate from yours and once you get to that place I think you and him will be a lot better. Given some of the things that you commented on I also had a question in my mind was he attention-seeking. that’s a possibility. I’m not trying to minimize okay but I’m not talking to him I’m talking to you so only you know that.

        Hi Shinola, sounds like your mom might have a case of borderline personality disorder. Read up on it. She might also just be so depressed when people get real depressed they can say some vile things and a lot of people do not realize that that is truly a symptom of depression the way she speaks to you. I think it’s wonderful that we have this chance to talk to one another. I tried killing myself last night didn’t work. Oh well, just another reminder that God is in charge. Because I see no value in me breathing here anymore. But it really does affect me deeply How Deeply he will dive into me and pull me out of the gaps the despair that lead to an attempted suicide. See this is therapeutic for me too. I seem to do better when I can use my counseling skills / gifts. Thank you both and God be with us all amen and amen

    • Stacey Freedenthal, PhD, LCSW says:


      I’m grateful this post was helpful to you. It sounds like you have been doing a lot of self-examination about what’s been helpful – and not helpful – to say to your son.

      I hope you will be gentle with yourself. You’re deeply afraid that he will kill himself. You’ve said things to him that emanated from that understandable fear and from your love for him. You’re trying. Maybe being transparent with him about your efforts to respond better, and your remorse for ways you’ve responded in the past, would be helpful to him.

      As for the thought that suicide is selfish, many people certainly believe this. Suicide can feel selfish, because of people hurt in its wake. However, I have a different take on this, which I describe in my post: “Is It Selfish to Die in a Tornado?” Perhaps that post will be helpful to you, too.

      Thank you for sharing here. I assure you that you are not alone in your struggle and fears, which is both sad and a comfort to many.

      • Cindy says:

        The first thing I did after posting my comment was to text an apology to my son for my reactions and comments to his thoughts. He thanked me and hopefully he’ll continue to talk to me. Thank you for reminding me to be gentle with myself. I can be a little hard on myself when I’m learning something new. Next task is to read “Is it Selfish to Die in a Tornado”?

        • Stacey Freedenthal, PhD, LCSW says:


          It sounds like you are doing great, hard, and loving work, both with your son and with yourself. Thanks for sharing your journey here! I appreciate knowing that this has been helpful to you.

  122. Shinola says:

    Even therapists recognize a lost cause when they see one. Haha.

  123. Linda Straubel says:

    Thank you, Dr. Freedenthal, for your kind words. They mean a lot coming from a compassionate professional such as yourself.

    • Shinola says:

      I would like to hear your story. Perhaps it could help me?

      • Linda Straubel says:

        Shinola – I am sorry I took so long to get back to you. Basically, I was at a loss as to how I’d summarize my struggle, and that made me afraid. It’s also been a long struggle, since it started so early, around 3, I think. That’s when my parents got divorced and my mother’s abuse began. As I got older, she expressed her resentment and her own narcissistic immaturity by shifting more and more of her own responsibilities onto me. E.g., at the age of 9, I was already being routinely left babysitting a 4-year old, a 2-year old and an infant. Added to that over the years was all the housework, cooking, cleaning, laundry, etc. It seemed like the more she loaded onto my shoulders, the more she hated me and the more she hated me, the more she loaded onto my shoulders. Added to that was the physical abuse and her constant quest to convince everyone, including the brothers I was taking care of, the neighbors, even our pastor, that I was selfish and lazy. It’s hard enough growing up knowing your father doesn’t care to keep in touch, or even support you financially, but add to that a step-father who refused to adopt you and all the responsibility and abuse, both psychological and physical. At fourteen, I decided I couldn’t take anymore and made a half-hearted attempt, swallowing half a bottle of aspirin. It put me to sleep for about a day and a half, during which my mother did nothing to see if I was OK. When I woke up, I was glad it hadn’t worked. There were a few more times when I came close; once I steeled myself to the task by reading Plath’s The Bell Jar over and over and then counted all the pills I had and decided I had enough. Instead, I got a phone call from an old friend asking me to go visit her and that snapped me out of it. I have been in therapy on and off since I was in my mid-30s and have benefitted from it, although I still have some pretty serious anger and insecurity issues that I expect won’t ever go away. But I’m better than I was and I’m grateful to my husband who loves me despite all my issues. He’s also my second husband; as you can imagine, my taste in men took some time to mature to a healthier level. You write extremely well, and although it’s not a substitute for therapy, I have found my own writing helps to put my feelings into perspective. Some of it even fed into my main character in my novel and that’s like spinning straw into gold. Why don’t you try some fiction writing? From what you wrote, I think a near-future, dystopic novel would give you a chance to vent some of your worse fears in a productive way. There’s also something healing about writing; for just that time, you have control of your feelings and the fate of your characters. Healing them can help heal you. It’s also a task that consumes you, body and soul, which is also healing as it’s such a distraction. Another thing that helped me was some rather morbid research into the field and a great book by a poet named Alvarez titled The Savage God. It also helped put things into perspective for me. I don’t know if this helps, or if you’re even still getting notices of replies to your posts, but I’m hoping it was helpful, or, at least, not damaging. Good luck to you and it won’t take me as long to reply next time.

  124. Shinola says:

    Not all who wish to die are mentally ill or need to be talked down from a ledge. There is a missing dialog that needs to be considered. For those who know what “total information dominance” really means. For those who realize that every “privacy policy” is a statement against. For those who can’t opt out. For those with no right to be forgotten. For those who shudder at the unfolding of the technological dystopia. For those who see the social credit system unfolding in China. For those who know that all they work for is the chance to afford health care. For those who have assessed their future potential against their risk and pain threshold. For those who’s a therapists “favorite customer” because they pay in cash and don’t have to involve insurance companies. For those who know they fight as part of a resistance yet their effort is futile. For those who have reached an apex in their lives and would rather see their earnings go to a good cause, say a warm goodbye to their friends, fly to Switzerland (Dignitas won’t have me) to go peacefully. For those who don’t want code performed. For those who know how doctors would choose to end their own lives (hint: the vast majority don’t want their own industries services.) For those who have consumed enough. For those who feel like they are just another resource to be mined, spent and discarded. For those who see we subjectively value life on a sliding scale correlating to their “output.” For those who are simply matter…transferring energy from one form to the next. For those who may not be in pain, who may not be mentally ill. Who puts the genie back in the bottle? Where do folks really find God? Is it in a church? The worst thing about most people of a certain kind of dogma…is others of the same dogma. Is God in the data?

    Why is it I can’t even sign up for 23 and me to find out what might take me naturally in 5 years without having to opt in to some invasive data policy?

    Data is warfare and we are all foot soldiers playing a part. I have no family. No friends to speak of. My mind is toxic realities firmly planted in a world of toxic realities. The unfolding…well I would rather go to Japan for a month…say my goodbyes and meet a friendly death midwife willing to help me swallow a nice drink to make me go to sleep. I’ll donate a half a million dollars to charity and know that my life’s work didn’t go to the bank or to the doctor who helped crack and scramble my nest egg whist breaking my rib cage to perform proper CPR.

    I’m 40 something. I served my country. China has my most sensitive data because they stole it. Well, guess what? I lost this war. I lost it a long time ago.

    My safety plan has lasted three decades. Enoughs enough. I’m not mentally ill…just tired and ready to pass over. I’m not afraid of eternity and I wish my only option wasn’t a chaotic suicide, but a nuanced, well reasoned approach to what I feel is a long lived life. I’m just tired and not too thrilled about the false choice and social contracts I have to opt into to have any kind of success.

    It’s bullshit and there are no alternatives. Anyone who says otherwise is a fool.

    • Linda Straubel says:

      While you seem well educated and in touch with a lot of what’s wrong with our lives right now, including the horrific cost of health care and the theft of our privacy, there are positive aspects of life that you’re ignoring that still, for me, make the struggle worthwhile. I also agree that not all who want to end it are mentally ill, but you are so young to make such a final decision. Not everyone seeking therapy is labeling themselves as mentally ill, Some, like myself, are struggling with life-long issues that a therapist can truly help us to deal with better. There is too much certitude in your post, and especially the ending that anyone who disagrees is a fool is a huge tip-off that you’ve closed your mind to any more positive possibilities. I’m sorry you’re in so much pain and hope you find a way to give life another chance. I’m pushing 70 and have been where you are now, but I stuck it out and now I’m so glad I did. There is love in my life and new accomplishments that make me feel younger than I am. Good luck to you.

      • Stacey Freedenthal, PhD, LCSW says:


        Thank you so much for sharing your experience. A site like this tends to disproportionately attract people who feel bad about life, so there’s not as much opportunity for people who feel better about life to offer a balancing perspective. I’m grateful you did!

        And I’m also grateful you came out on the other side. You are a living testament of possibility.

      • Shinola says:

        Thank you for your kind words.

        I’ve tried. I have been to therapy. My therapist has told me many times that I’m her favorite because I paid in cash.

        When I say that there are no alternatives, I’m talking about the technological dystopia that is our world. We are all feeding something that is yet to be understood. The implications of which…I wonder how many therapists understand or can relate to.

        I’m not trying to come off as argumentative but with respect to the way information warfare has infiltrated society on every level, there is no turning back.

        Some may say “enjoy the journey” and all the accompanying platitudes about life. I’ve been in the field of information assurance, artificial intelligence and and tech for decades. I’m not a tinfoil hat nutjob.

        I’m just stuck in a world of false choice. There is a very western viewpoint that seems to permeate the world of therapists, psychiatrists and medicine.

        I ask for psychoanalytic therapy and I can’t even find anyone in the field who practices. It’s too costly, too time consuming and…you guessed it…insurance won’t cover it.

        “Have you tried all 30+ antidepressants?” Yep. My favorite was MDMA.

        Actually, I’m teasing. What if I have the cognitive right to deny mood enhancers? I’m not a psychopath. I’m not even in pain. I’m tired. I’m bored. The future is frightening.

        I’ve practiced mindfulness. I guess I simply need to adapt cognitive dissonance so that I can do my job and not think about it? Or perhaps I can just start over in a new field?

        Where can I escape computers and information technology? Any ideas? (Or am I the fool?)


        Thank you doctor for replying to Linda

        Linda, I appreciate your comment.

      • Anonymous says:

        Ok, thanks for disclosing your age. Was thinking this person was much younger than me and doesn’t understand what it’s like to be 50 until I got to that part of your story thanks for sharing.

    • Stacey Freedenthal, PhD, LCSW says:


      I find your words very powerful and moving – one, because of the pain you’re obviously in, and two, because your comments are so well written. You have a gift for conveying the despair you’re experiencing. I hope you can find relief without dying. I hope your therapist recognizes that it’s not helpful to tell you that you’re her favorite client because you pay cash. I hope you find meaning in your life. Might it be in writing and, as a result, connecting with like-minded others who are also searching? (I mean searching for meaning, by the way, not searching for a “nuanced, well reasoned” death.)

      Have you checked out the website chronicsuicidesupport.com? Given how long you’ve struggled, you might relate to folks there. Their forum is at chronicsuicidesupport.com/forum/

      Thanks for sharing here. I hope you’ll share again.

    • Terra says:


      Is there anything that could help you, in your mind? My partner is feeling this way now, and like Linda, I understand and agree, but still find something to live for (him & our life together). I’d love to talk more about it, even if I can just get more perspective on this. Respond here or email me if you would like to talk further. tform83@yahoo.com

    • jazz says:

      Thank you. Beautifully stated. Much luck.

    • Brie says:

      Some how is some words. I understand some of you and what you feel and think. I’m only 25.

  125. Linda Straubel says:

    Dr. Freedenthal, I’m not sure if you read every post on this site, so I’m repeating an idea I floated in reply to Concerned. Since intervention seems to be somewhat successful with addicts, couldn’t it work with people threatening suicide? Has it ever been tried?

    • Stacey Freedenthal, PhD, LCSW says:


      That’s a good question. I don’t know of any research on interventions for suicidal people. The danger, I fear, would be that interventions tend to be about how the person’s behavior is affecting those doing the intervening. But what a suicidal person needs is to be heard and listened to, not confronted or judged. (I write about this in my post, “How Would You Listen to a Person on the Roof?”) If others have been privy to an intervention, whether as someone doing the intervening or as the subject of an intervention, and they have observations to share, I’d be very interested in hearing them.

  126. Loser says:

    This is what I really hate people expect for people who are suicidal to call a hotline. Their is no point the people you talk to are just doing their job and at the end of the day they go home and go on with their lives what is a suicide prevention hotline going to do to stop all those people who want to kill themselves?????

    • Stacey Freedenthal, PhD, LCSW says:

      I see you feel hopeless that anyone at a hotline could help you. Hotlines do help many people. Many of the folks there are volunteers. For those paid to work there, why would that negate their skills and compassion? Physicians, nurses, teachers, and other helpers also are paid. There’s a reason many in the helping professions chose their job in the first place: They care, connect well with others, and want to help.

    • AKielhurn says:

      It sounds like you’ve had a bad experience. Resentments are born when we have unmet expectations. Perhaps you expected too much from a phone call? Have you considered your part in this anger?

  127. Concerned says:

    What do u say when the person isn’t honest with you? I know my son is suicidal, and things are escalating. He tells his girlfriend things, but tells me he is ok and that he is not ready to seek help. But he is making attempts and leaving notes and we have no idea what to do. He is 100% afraid to go back to the hospital. Help!

    • Linda Straubel says:

      Dear Concerned – I am not the expert here, and I sincerely hope that you do get expert help with this frightening problem. However, it occurs to me that you might form an alliance with your son’s girlfriend, since she is the one he confides in. I’d allay her fear about breaking his confidence by stressing the seriousness of the situation and that, working together, you can help him more than working apart and keeping you in the dark. It also occurs to me that, although I’ve never seen it done or read about it, this might be another way to use the idea of an intervention, since, like addiction, suicidal ideation seems to thrive in isolation and denial. Perhaps other family members, his girlfriend and you, together with a professional, can get through to him. I’d like to hear what our resident expert has to say about this idea. Good luck to you; I know how terrifying this is.

      • Linda Straubel says:

        Stacey, My remarks on intervention are not just based on the version we see on TV, but on my own experience in an intervention. From that experience, I learned that being confrontational or stressing the impact of the addicts behavior on yourself does not have to be the focus of the letters we write. The ones I heard, and the one I wrote, were loving and supportive and not designed to be guilt-producing. I think the therapist leading the intervention can advise the friends and family to focus their letters appropriately to the particular individual and situation. The idea also came out of the urge to show suicidal people that they are not alone and that others do care if they die. What I read in Alvarez’s The Savage God is that the suicidal person convinces themselves that everyone would be better off without them in their lives. An intervention would give those who care an opportunity to counter that solipsistic argument, and not just one-on-one, but with a unified voice. In my own experience, the addict reacted in a very hostile way, at first, but then checked himself into rehab the next morning. I agree that it’s tricky, but, in cases where it seems nothing else is working, it would be worth a try, I think.

  128. jane says:

    The 100% absolute wrong thing to say. You are piling guilt on the person and making them feel even worse. Many people feel suicidal for years, so it is not short term. This is everything NOT to say to a person.

  129. ren says:

    “No matter how dark the moment there can always be hope. The feelings you are experiencing are temporary. Committing suicide will cause your family and those who care about you extreme pain and self blame. It is a irreparable and permanent action to a feeling that is short term. “

  130. Just me says:

    I thought I might find the magic answer here. I guess a lot of people come here looking for the same thing. I think they are the only ones commenting

    • Stacey Freedenthal, PhD, LCSW says:

      “Just me,”

      Sadly, there are many questions about suicide for which we have no definitive answers. I’m curious about what your question is…?

  131. Miiko says:

    My boyfriend keep telling me that he’s thinking about committing suicide I don’t know what to say to him I don’t know what to do for him thought of him committing suicide scares me I don’t want to lose him like that

  132. Anonymous says:

    I’m reading this for myself lol 🙂

  133. Anonymous says:

    Would hope they’d say given time we can find a way to get those fair weather friends to admit they are wrong to shut you out making life harder for you. Not understanding how much you’ve worked to correct errors in your ways.

  134. Anonymous says:

    I think #8 should be #1

  135. Duke says:

    If that person has been hospitalized or has trust issues all of these are a no go except 10, saying most of these will probably remind them of their hospital experience and if they got trust issues they are most likey not going to believe you. Dont ask them why or none of that that’ll just make them break down and be paranoid if you are going to spill the beans~~ Depression

  136. Linda Straubel says:

    One other thought just occurred to me: Rather than freaking out when a friend confides suicidal impulses, be grateful that they’re still willing to talk about it. Once I was determined to act on those feelings, I shut up about it out of the fear that someone would try to stop me. Talking could mean they’re still hoping to be talked out of it. This is why referring them to a professional is so important; a professional knows enough not to say the wrong things that could push them in the wrong direction. Another thing that helped me, ironically, was reading about suicide as it gave me some perspective and distance, as well as showing me that I was not alone.

  137. Sam says:

    Thank you, this helps a lot. My friend just texted me about wanting to commit suicide and I wanted to make sure I would say the right things.

  138. Aby says:

    Hi my friend from school told me he felt like hanging himself idk if he was being serious but I didn’t want to risk it I tried to tell him I was here for him and that he wasn’t alone I tried to get him to tell me wat his situation was but he told me he didn’t feel comfortable telling me wat was wrong but after talking to him for hours he ended up telling me he loved me more than a friend and so he wouldn’t do it after that he acted as if nothing happened idk whether to believe him though as u might be able to tell I care for this person and I want to be able to help him wat should I do to let him know it’s fine for him to talk to me about his problems and wat do I do if he doesn’t want to talk to me about his problems but he lets me know he’s thinking about suicide again

  139. I have a pen friend / text friend from the other side of the world. She has been through a lot, more than a lot of serious problems and she is seeking professional attention as well. But, she has her down moments.
    She used to confide in me. She told me a lot of her past issues herself but now she doesn’t want to. She feels suicidal all the time, but she says she doesn’t want to talk about it. I stay in touch with her, we talk everyday… But it’s generally about random things where I try to distract her and it seems working sometimes.
    But I’m very worried. She does selfharm.
    She used to tell me things but now she doesn’t and I can’t help but wonder if I said something wrong. I never read an article like the recommendations here, maybe I made her close up. Yesterday, I did tell her some good things… I told her that she has me no matter what. I told her that I understand if she doesn’t want to talk but I’ll still be there with her. She thinks she’s wasting my time because she’s gonna kill herself someday. And she hates it when anybody worries for her, she doesn’t want me to worry about her. How can I care but not worry? I am worried, how can I show I’m not?

    We talked a bit. I told her ” I understand if she doesn’t want to talk about it. But I also want to know why. If it’s a stupid reason like it’s wasting my time or I don’t deserve her shit or I don’t want to hurt you, then I’m gonna ask about it.
    But if it’s a good reason like thinking about it makes you feel worse, then I won’t ask. But even in that case, I want you to talk to me when you’re already feeling bad. Notice that since a long time I haven’t asked about anything except when you’re in a bad state. “.
    Did I say something wrong? What should I be doing? How can I support her? She’s a really amazing person and I’m ready to take any burden if I can. But she keeps saying that I can’t help her, nobody can. She doesn’t want me to help her.
    We are both 21 year old young-adults.
    I want to be more sensible around her and say the right things. The 10 points in this article are not a very good help in her case, I know she’ll react in a bad way for a lot of them. What can I do? What is the best course of action for me?

    • cristian says:

      I’m in the same situation. An internet friend of mine is considering suicide but he doesn’t want to talk about it much. We’re both 20. I care so much about him but he doesn’t seem to understand.

      What I’ve done is try to make it clear that I’m available if he needs to talk and that I will help him no matter what. Stuff like “I’m here if you need to talk” etc. I made it clear that I’m worried about his well-being and that I care about him, but I don’t know if he believed me.
      In those rare occasions where he does feel like talking about it, I try to understand him as much as possible (what made you feel this way, how can I help etc) while also supporting him. I’ve also started asking him how he is daily, in case something bad happened and he wants to talk about it.

      Unfortunately supporting a suicidal friend is much harder to do over the internet. It’s really up to your friend to decide whether he wants to talk about it or not, and if he doesn’t he can just ignore your texts and live on. I’ve considered contacting some of his real-life friends and telling them about it, but I don’t know how they’d react or if he’d ever be able to forgive me.

      The only advice I can give you, I guess, would be to try to make her understand that you care and that she needs support to make it through it. Tell her that she’s not alone, and that you wouldn’t ask if you thought it was a waste of time.

      • Hey. Thanks for your advice.
        In my case, I have let her know that I care and worry for her. She knows that. But that is a bit bad. She has a very low self-confidence and doesn’t like herself at all. And she doesn’t like it when someone is worrying for her, she thinks she doesn’t deserve that and she has hardcoded it in her mind, she just hates people who worry for her. That makes this all very hard.
        I’m trying to convince her that I won’t worry but I can’t stop caring for a friend. She thinks she’s pathetic so I’m trying to tell her that I like her however she is, her problems don’t change her and she can’t make me change my opinion about her. I think this would encourage her a bit to open up.
        But she hates to talk about the things that trouble her because it makes her think about them and she becomes really sad, even dangerous. So I’m just trying to say that I’m here anytime she feels like she wants to talk.

        She cannot tell any person in real life about her issues, but she opens up with me and I don’t want to lose that. She is seeking professional help for anxiety and panic attacks but she’s not ready to talk about her problems yet, even with professionals. And she’s so good at faking that they’ll never know.. So, I’m just trying to take small baby steps at a time with her. Yesterday I talked to her for hours and in the end showed her that she’s not numb, she did feel a lot of emotions at different points of the conversation. It was a nice conversation about random things, good things and bad things.
        I’ll just keep going on like this until I get more ideas and opportunities.

  140. Linda Straubel says:

    Stacey Freedenthal – Have you ever read Alvarez’s The Savage God? It’s written by a poet and is an odd combination of a personal memoir based on his own attempt and his relationship with Sylvia Plath, who finally succeeded; as well as some very interesting research on suicide statistics world-wide and how they’re influenced by romantic notions and religious belief. Reading about suicide was comforting, ironically, as I think it gave me some distance and perspective on my own feelings. It helped to lift me out of the emotional lock-box of isolation and unreasoning despair. I’ve no idea if others would respond the same way.

  141. brooklyn says:

    my friend is saying hes gonna kill himself today I am so grateful for this if I had something to say to someone like that I would say “I know it hurts but get through it it gets better I promise.” or “think of everyone who would be hurt of you died” thank you so much bye

    • Andi says:

      As someone who’s dealt with suicidal thoughts of my own, sorry to say, but neither of those statements are helpful… saying “it gets better” feels very diminishing of our struggle and saying “think of everyone who’d be hurt if you died” makes us feel like more of a burden and makes the feelings of suicide even bigger. I would not suggest saying either of these things to someone who is thinking of taking their life.

    • Linda Straubel says:

      Sadly, the first thoughts that come to mind are often the very things you should NOT say. Telling someone, “It gets better,” can make them feel even more hopeless as their subjective experience of the feelings flatly contradict that idea. Telling someone to think about the effect on the loved ones they leave behind also backfires. As suicidal ideation progresses, people get to the point where they’ve convinced themselves that everyone will actually be better off when they’re gone. It’s not logical; it just is. What’s more, you cannot “guilt” people into enduring further misery to keep from hurting others, even if they hadn’t convinced themselves that everyone else would also be better off. Since our first impulse is often to parrot unhelpful cultural cliches, we’re better off turning to the professionals who have more experience and more knowledge than is generally available floating around in our cultural soup of unhelpful responses.

  142. Linda Straubel says:

    From my own struggle with occasional depression, I know that it FEELS like I will feel like this forever. Having recovered from those times, I know that this is not true. I would share that information with a suicidal person; it might feel permanent, but it doesn’t have to be.

    • David Crichton says:

      However we are all different and for some of us when it has gone on every second of every day for many years and has stopped us working, broken our families put us in trouble with the police;; it feels like we have failed at getting better as well.
      We are all different

      • Linda Straubel says:

        David Crichton – You’re right, of course. We are all different in some ways, but one thing I do believe we share, and that is the need for help. Depression becomes a dark, self-contained, locked prison cell and if that situation persists, we need help from the outside. Please don’t think I was diminishing your experience; I suffered less and recovered more easily, and that’s due, in part, to luck. However, I did eventually start seeing a therapist and feel now that I’ll be OK. There is no shame in getting help; it just requires a little hope and trust that professionals know what they’re doing, have studied depression and have experience helping others. If you don’t feel that hope and trust, make it up; force yourself. Your life is well worth it and you don’t have to live it in pain. I was afraid, at first, that I would never find a therapist I could afford, but many of them charge according to your income. For me, getting that perspective from a professional saved my life. Good luck to you; I wish you only the best and am sorry for your pain.

  143. Elona Green says:

    Think about your family , and how they are going to feel.

    • S Wilson says:

      Read number 9, that kind of comment may only guilt them out of it, and is not positive reassurance.

      • Linda Straubel says:

        I agree, W. Wilson. You cannot guilt someone into staying on this planet if they’re too miserable to handle it. Guilt might work on a temporary basis, but, sooner or later, without any other help, the depressed person will inevitably convince themselves that everyone they leave behind will actually be better off without them.

      • Stacey Freedenthal, PhD, LCSW says:

        I agree that is a concern. That’s why I followed the recommendation with so many caveats. Perhaps it would be better if I modified it to say only “I love you and I care about you.” I do think an expression of love is helpful, but a provocation of guilt is not.

    • Kay Ll Huddleston says:

      and if you have no family?

  144. AnxiousandConcerned(Anonymous for now) says:

    Okay I understand this might be a tiny bit unrelated to this post but… when you’re desperate you gotta do something-

    Hello. I have a friend(age: 13) who is in a pretty dangerous situation. He has convinced himself that he is a waste of everything and is beginning to consider suicide as an answer. To be honest, he can exaggerate on some things, like his parents, siblings, but I quickly realized he’s not exaggerating on this. He thinks of himself as a bad person- of course he can be a jerk sometimes, but that’s not enough to consider him as “bad” or “terrible.” I tried to tell him that “death isn’t an answer” and then I freaked out a bit, ended up being some sort of preacher, which I think that was a pretty bad move. No matter what I say, or what anyone else says, he ends up ignoring it and tells himself: “They are lying, you don’t deserve to be here. No one cares.”
    I’ve had(let’s just say: “past experiences”) with these thoughts, but I eventually realized that death isn’t a way to fix things. But despite this, despite my background knowledge, I realize that I was pretty bad at being helpful, and if I don’t get advice from a professional, I’ll probably mess up again and something bad will happen.

    I’m almost hopeless. Extremely scared and worried.

    Note: He told me to not get anyone involved(well, Adults), but from what I learned, that is a disaster waiting to happen.

    I did tell an adult, but they didn’t understand at all, nor did they seem to care that much. Their response was: “It’s just a phase” and “Stop worrying, they’ll get over it” and “Don’t worry, it’s temporary”

    (It’s a bit difficult to help a person stubbornly sadistic to themselves, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to sit there and cry and do nothing. )

    And this has been going on for over 3 months(Okay, probably much longer but he told me 3 months ago), I shouldn’t let this continue.

    I don’t know if I helped them much, but one thing I constantly think about is what they said a few times before: “I would of been dead much earlier without you”

    I know this is a long “comment” if you could even call it that- I tend to ramble, get off topic, and freak out really easily.

    Since this person doesn’t have access to help from a professional on their own, what else can I do besides, ramble? (If I’m only able to text and email from and to professionals?)

    • Rachel says:

      Has there been any help offered to your friend? Any resources that anyone has presented to you? 13. that blows my mind, for a child, a young a adult, to think of themselves in that way. I know I’m just a stranger as well but I came here becuase friend of mine is going through the same. Email me if you want someone to talk to about this. riegelre@gmail.com My name is Rachel.

    • Ryan says:

      Well from my opinion it could be just a phase but I’m not sure. You need to ask him why he is feeling this way. Is it because he doen’t have a girlfriend,stress, or because of family problems. When he says “They are lying, you don’t deserve to be here. No one cares”. That is a sign. You need also after he talks to you if it seems serious, to talk to his parents about what he has said. If you are no longer friends because of it who cares you tried to help. If his parents disregard it and he tells you he has a plan on killing himself that night or the next night you need to call 911 and tell them what he said, he might be involuntarily comitted to the hospital which sucks but at least from there he can seek help through therapy and meds, its not as expensive as you think its like 50-100 dollars to see a Psy, or therapist and 20 bucks for meds. If it’s just a phase than tell him how much of a valuable person he is and what not. Take care, Ryan

    • Sarah says:

      In my experience as a high school teacher, I would immediately report his words to a school counselor or trusted teacher who DOES understand. I know it seems like adults can minimize the experiences of teens, but depression is a disease and it doesn’t matter if someone’s problems seem “small” or “insignificant,” someone suffering from depression cannot differentiate between reality and the depressive thoughts. I admire your courage reaching out for help and remember that your friend telling you this is his cry for help. Please continue to support your friend with your compassion, but you need an adults help. Some of them will turn out to be crappy and not helpful, but for both your sakes, please keep trying. Your lives and futures are so valuable.

    • Linda Straubel says:

      As has been commented below, adults sometimes have a tendency to minimize the feelings of teenagers or children as a “phase,” or, somehow, not as real as the feelings of adults. If I were you, I would talk to an adult and keep trying until you find one that doesn’t minimize these feelings. As has also been commented below, you might try a HS guidance counselor; any counselor with any real psychological knowledge knows better than to minimize those feelings. On a personal level, you might tell him that even though he firmly believes that no one cares, remind him that it’s not true; that you care and you care a great deal. Be careful not to turn it into a guilt trip, however. You might also tell him that his emotional depression is distorting his thinking and that he is not worthless. Also, I’d tell him that, even though his present depression feels permanent, it’s not. Finally, is there something happening in his family that is feeding into his sense of worthlessness? Abuse can do that. Above all, keep calm yourself; resist the impulse to panic so you can be calm and helpful. He’s talking to you for a reason; from my experience, he’s hoping you can lend him the emotional support he needs that he’s not getting somewhere else. Be his rocks; don’t freak out, but don’t worry about “rambling on and on.” You need to be heard, too.

  145. Gracie b says:

    My best friend just told me last night over a text that she is having death thoughts. It started when I opened up about my past, insecurities, and bullying. She helped me so much so I asked if she wanted to tell me about any of her insecurities. Out of nowhere she was saying things like “I feel so alone in this universe.” “I don’t feel wanted at all, I’ve never told anyone this but I considered dying and I still do” and “I wonder if I should just leave this universe and make everyone happy” I was completely shocked and heart broken by what she said I told her if she’s ever thinking like that again she needs to call me no matter what. And she told me she’s so happy that she finally has somebody to call. I love her so much and if anything happens to her I would be absolutely devastated. Also she casually brought up bullying too she said “being called weird freak doesn’t help my self esteem.” I am the only one that she told and I relly don’t want to mess this up. Plz respond

    • Stacey Freedenthal, PhD, LCSW says:

      Hi Gracie,

      You’re a good friend. You listened beautifully to your friend, you offered support, and you’re seeking out ways to better help her. Knowing someone has thoughts of suicide can be a big burden to carry alone. Do you have someone else you can confide in? I don’t know your age, but if you’re a teenager, I recommend telling an adult.

      On this website, I have posted a few posts about how to help a suicidal friend. You landed on one of them. Here are others:

      If You Suspect a Friend or Loved One is Thinking of Suicide

      How Would You Listen to a Person on the Roof?

      10 Things Not to Say to a Suicidal Person

      “Better Mad than Dead”: Keeping a Friend’s Suicidal Thoughts Secret

      It can be helpful to call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800.273.8255 or to text the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 if you need more advice. I hope you’ll do so, if needed!

      • Linda Straubel says:

        Stacey – I’m so glad you’re contributing to this site. You seem to have professional knowledge about the subject of suicide. Is your Ph.D. in psychology? In any event, thank you for your contributions and keep posting! You’re advice is invaluable.

        • Stacey Freedenthal, PhD, LCSW says:

          Thank you, Linda. My Ph.D. is in social work, and I am a clinical suicidologist — that is, my research and practice focus on issues related to suicide.

          I appreciate your feedback!

  146. Roxana says:

    My boyfriend told me over the phone that he was going to sleep and as I was saying goodnight he abruptly said lately the thought of dying has been more present in his mind, I tried to ask why and he just said that everything was going wrong and he was tired of his life, it is not the first time he has said it, we’ve talked about it before, so I asked if maybe he had considered reaching out for professional help because help is available and he said he didn’t want to get help.. So I suggested if he wanted to maybe work out because it can help with his daily stress and he said he doesn’t feel like it, I panicked and I tried so hard not to cry but I told him I was worried because I care about him.. I told him that I love him and he said “it’s not the time”. And I am just so scared to deal with this, I truly don’t know what to do or say, I know that trying to make him think about good things that he enjoys doesn’t help and he’s completely depressed and I am too dealing with my depression and suicidal thoughts and it is such a trigger, it only makes me think that I couldn’t live without him. And I so want to help him and I know I’m the only one he opens up about this stuff, I need to help him, please any advice, anything at all is helpful, I have tried everything

    • Susanne says:

      Hello Roxana! I’m so sorry to hear about the situation you’re in, I see how big your pain is. I believe it’s one of the most painful and suffocating feeling that exists on earth. Almost 2 years ago I was going through similar scenario, my boyfriend and I were suicidal. He was cutting me off and I was desperately trying to save him, as I couldn’t imagine my life without him.
      You are right to feel what you are feeling, anybody in this situation would feel like that. I also felt that I’ve tried everything and nothing worked. What I’ve discovered few years later is that we are put in such a situation to become aware of the part of OURSELVES who really wants to die and take care of it. When you are in such situation it’s important to have something real that you know you CAN do. And this is helping yourself. What I mean by that is expressing your emotions, finding support in other people (can be proffesionals) and giving yourself the love that you give to your boyfriend.

      Ask yourself, what he does that provokes helplessness in you? How are you doing it yourself? How you wish he’d react? Are you reacting like this? If not, how can you start?
      i.e. Let’s say he is not willing to reach out for help. You said you’re also suicidal. Are YOU reaching out for help?
      You can do it with as many examples as you wish. The more you take care of yourself the more HE will be able to do this.

      The best that you can do practically for your boyfriend is to learn how to be unconditionally present. Present with him, his emotions and his thoughts without trying to change it. If someone is suicidal it means he feels he’s totally alone in his pain. Sometimes, when we desperately want to help somebody, subconsciously we are sending them message that they are not okay as they are now and they need to change. It provokes shame. Imagine his suicidal thoughts and actions are a little child to needs to be taken care of. You cannot treat it as an enemy. Be with it unconditionally and try to understand it how much you can. Send it the message that you will love it no matter what it does! There are a lot of videos on youtube on how to be truly present with people.

      I hope it helps. If you wish to talk more or ask about something feel free. I send you lots of love.

    • Ryan says:

      Roxana I liked what Susanne said but I’ll give you the shorter version. If you do or don’t live together depending on if he likes to be touched and if not then he maybe likes to touch you instead, sit on the couch together and maybe watch a tv show or movie and either rub his back or let him rub your back or rub his feet or let him rub your feet. Just ask him to be physically close to you as he can, don’t force it that would be annyoing for him, if he doesn’t feel like it than you can try another time but don’t put a guilt trip on him. Your physical love and cleaning up after yourself and maybe helping him out with chores will be a great burden lifter.

      Being physically close is even better than being mentally close even though both are needed. Also its true that a way to enter a mans heart is through his stomach so ask him if you can pick up some fast food. Take care Love, Ryan

  147. Sadie_B says:

    The pain doesn’t last forever. This part of your life is small compared to all the things you can do. Don’t end it all for this. It will get better.

  148. Kylie H. says:

    My friend has already attempted, her parents know but I don’t trust her. I remember the phone call when she told me and she was telling me how broken and sad she was, that she just wanted to die. I have my own problems and that’s why she said she wouldn’t tell me. Towards the end of the phone call she got mad because she thought that I was going to tell the school counselor. She asked me if I would and I told her that I wouldn’t give her a yes or no because I don’t trust that she won’t do it again. Her parents have known for a long time and they haven’t done anything, I’m worried about her and she doesn’t want to talk to me, I don’t know what to do.

  149. Kylie says:

    My friend has already attempted, her parents know but I don’t trust her. I remember the phone call when she told me and she was telling me how broken and sad she was, that she just wanted to die. I have my own problems and that’s why she said she wouldn’t tell me. Towards the end of the phone call she got mad because she thought that I was going to tell the school counselor. She asked me if I would and I told her that I wouldn’t give her a yes or no because I don’t trust that she won’t do it again. Her parents have known for a long time and they haven’t done anything, I’m worried about her and she doesn’t want to talk to me, I don’t know what to do.

  150. Cheyenne says:

    I am in 6th grade, and I moved from NY to NM last year. Along with leaving my state I also left one of my best ever friends behind. Just today she first texted me saying that i couldn’t tell ANYBODY AT ALL about what she was gonna say, and I agreed. After she said she was considering suicide. I am on a break, and visited NY, and we set up a meeting in two days. We are going to be supervised by our mothers, and I want to talk to her, but don’t know if I can, or what to say. Any suggestions?

    • Stacey Freedenthal, PhD, LCSW says:


      I’m sorry you’re in this situation, where you’re worrying about your close friend and not knowing how to help her, especially with her expectation of secrecy. I hope you will read my post, “Better Mad Than Dead”: Keeping a Friend’s Suicidal Thoughts Secret. I address there the very situation in which you find yourself now.

      That said, my quick advice here is to listen to her (even though you’ll be supervised by your mothers, it’s likely that you’ll have times where they’re talking with each other and you and your friend can talk without intrusion), offer empathy and support, and then, if she is indeed having thoughts of killing herself, tell your mom or hers. Yes, she might be mad, but as the title above states, better mad than dead.

      I hope it works out well for all of you!

    • Anonymous says:

      If you truly care about your friend you need to tell an adult you trust about what your friend has said to you. Your friend could hurt her or him self make sure to take your friend seriously i wish you both the best.

    • Linda Straubel says:

      Trust Stacey’s advice; she’s the professional here. One thing I could add is that not all lies are bad. For example, if you tell your friend you won’t tell anyone to get her to open up to you, knowing full well that you will later tell someone, and the help saves her life, then that was a most excellent lie. Lie without guilt and lie like the best actress who ever lived. Don’t get hung up on the cultural cliche that you must always tell the truth. That’s a rule too simple-minded to live by, literally. One of my basic rules about this is that if the lie benefits only me, it’s probably not a good one. On the other hand, if it benefits a dear friend and gets her the help she needs, it’s a good one. Good luck with this; I know how terrifying it can be. Keep your courage up and be strong on her behalf and on your own, as well.

  151. Calvin Moore says:

    I have been brought up in the church and have given so much of myself in the service of Him. I have been far from perfect, but felt I have been abandoned. I wish I could not believe in anything or anyone who would care whether I lived or died. I have seen evidence of the existence of God, however, I do not see Him as benevolent and kind. The human perceptions of God may not be anywhere near what He is really. I find myself praying for myself and others I care about and find myself stopping mind prayer. I stop because I know He does not care. I have been abandoned and because what I might ask is nothing compared to what pain others might be suffering. What I am dealing with is nothing and it is up to me to figure this out myself. I am angry, I am sad, and wish I was an atheist. I would be far better served if I were.

  152. Alex says:

    I always find your articles informative and helpful.
    Working in EMS I find myself often talking with people who are depressed and suicidal. I’ve told some of my colleagues about your site. Keep up the good work.

  153. Phelix says:

    Great advice! Though, I’d disagree with taking your child to an ER or therapist unless there’s an imminent threat… or you’ve asked your child and they want to go.

    Taking them to someone else can scare them, give the impression that you want to hand over responsibility to someone else, and make them less likely to share these thoughts in the future.

  154. Really good questions. I’m so glad you brought this up. Very helpful to clients and therapists!

  155. AJ QUINN says:

    i want to help but.. what is help really we can’t help whats gone. i’m scared i won’t last either and my friend needs me but i can’t help for i can’t win or fight i’m so tired

  156. John says:

    So all comments have to be PC, and not promote a religion, so basically 80% of why people are having difficulty in this world, will be categorized as political fodder, are you even serious about this? I’m not here to tell people how to be something, other than be themselves.

  157. Justice says:

    I have a friend who has a “wall” and she won’t tell me anything anymore. The last thing she told me about was that she was thinking about cutting. And then her and another friend of mine got in a huge fight. It’s been 7 months and I’m still worried about her. I have no idea what to do. How do I get her to start talking to me again?

    • Phelix says:

      I remember that wall. I had forgotten about it. I kept seeing it in my teens or twenties. It could still be there, but I don’t see it anymore.

  158. Rob says:

    First, you would have to ask what kind of suicidal person are you talking to? Is it someone who wants to leave this life because of things having to do with social status, problems with school, not getting along with parents, or professional failure?
    Or is the suicidal person someone who is suffering a chronic disease, pain, fatigue, loss of control over bodily functions, etc.? The former are things that can be addressed via “therapy.” The latter are often things that are chronic by nature and show little sign of remedy. Two very different animals.

    I swear I do feel a twinge of alienation when I read suicide prevention sites and articles. All the suggestions, advice, concern etc., are almost always aimed at the former! The rest of us are like oddballs, freaks, often older. The admonitions to hold on as well as assertions such as “it get’s better” or “suicide is a temporary solution to a permanent problem” add to the farce-like atmosphere, where we feel like all this good intentioned stuff just isn’t for us.

    • Underdoggy says:

      Called 911 a few times. The other one called me and I was sleep talking to whoever was asking me if I wanted to talk to “*e*e*** over and over again, I couldn’t even see I didn’t even remember it until the next day at work. She thinks I didn’t care as soon as I got off work I had her sent flowers and big happy face balloon and to my Knowledge she still holds it against me for not driving blackout drunk tired to an unknown area. I wish I would of been awake a lot of times but it was 3 or some in the A.M. Suicidal people seem to migrate towards me well until now Not now and that is fine I don’t want anyone around either. Trust someone else to crap on. To old for it but if I happen to actually be able to feel good enough to ride down the road and see them even if they’ve held something against me since 1991 that is without reason I will still stop and do my best to help with everything I can or am able to BECAUSE LOVE DON’T QUIT. Some of us just never been loved back.

  159. Karen Smith says:

    Would this be appropriate?
    “How can I help you to feel better?”

  160. A few others that work: “I love you.” “You’re not alone in this.” “I’ll always be there for you.” “You are loved.” “How can I help.”

    • Phelix says:

      Those are really nice sentiments. I think most people would find them helpful. Though, personally, when I hear words like “always” or “never,” my skepticism kicks in.

      Two of the nicest things friends have said to me when I was inconsolable were 1) “I wish you’d be nicer to my friend Phelix,” meaning she loved me and wanted me to be nicer to myself; 2) “Hon, we’re getting you a bicycle.”

      Reframes maybe effective only for me, but I think they worked for me because each placed me slightly outside the frame and sounded somewhat practical. Also, one was a wish, and the other a commitment. Neither was a task unequivocally put on my plate, and both were thoughtful.

      • nicole says:

        i woke up to my best friend, let’s call him jack, saying he reached that point where he’s okay with dying. that he doesn’t feel fear or anything. he even compared it to “turning off the tv” and then it’ll just be “gone”. i haven’t replied yet because i’m scared of what i should/shouldn’t do. i have so many things i wanna tell/show him, but i don’t know if it’ll be helping him or not. i would want to meet up with him just to show him that i’ll be here for him and hug him or something, but my parents (i’m still a teen) are really strict and so i’m unable to go out and do so.

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