Taking Care of Yourself

If you are having problems and thinking of hurting yourself, tell someone who can help. If you cannot talk to your parents, find someone else: a relative, a friend, a teacher, the school nurse or guidance counselor, or a friend’s parents.

Or, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at (800) 273-TALK (8255), and they will help you.

Don’t be ashamed or embarrassed. A lot of teens and adults have problems that they cannot solve on their own. Finding the courage to get help is often the first step toward solving your problems and becoming a happier person.

Looking out for your Friends and Peers

If you believe any of your friends or classmates may be thinking of killing themselves—or have serious problems that they have not told anyone about—tell a responsible adult. Find someone who is concerned with and understands young people and can help. This may be a teacher, guidance counselor, or other member of the school staff. It might also be your parents, the parents or sibling of a friend, a member of the clergy, or someone who works at the local youth center. If this adult doesn’t take you or your friend’s problem seriously, or doesn’t know what to do, talk to someone else.

If you need help finding someone who can help, call (800) 273-TALK (8255).

Don’t be afraid of being wrong. It is often hard to tell if someone is really thinking about killing or hurting him- or herself. Some of the warning signs for suicide could also be signs of drug or alcohol use, serious family problems, or depression or another mental illness. People with these problems still need help—and you can help.

Just talking to them can make a big difference. Teens will often share secrets and feelings with other teens that they will not share with adults. However, you may need to be persistent before they are willing to talk. Ask them if they are thinking about killing themselves. Talking about suicide or suicidal thoughts will not push someone to kill him- or herself. It is also not true that people who talk about killing themselves will not actually try it. If a friend says that he or she is thinking about killing him- or herself, take your friend seriously.

You should be especially concerned if people tell you that they have made a detailed suicide plan or obtained a means of hurting themselves. If they announce that they are thinking of taking an overdose of prescription medication or jumping from a particular bridge, stay with them until they are willing to go with you and talk to a responsible adult—or until a responsible adult can be found who will come to you.

Don’t pretend you have all the answers. Be honest. The most important thing you can do may be to help them find help. Never promise to keep someone’s intention to kill or hurt him- or herself a secret. Let the person know that you would never tell this secret to just anyone, but you will tell a responsible adult if you think the person needs help.

Owensboro Regional Suicide Prevention Coalition, Inc.
Owensboro, Kentucky

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