In an Emergency
If you or your friend needs urgent help, call 911 right away. Or even take your friend to the emergency room for assistance. If you feel it’s safe, stay with your friend or find someone to stay with them until help arrives.
In a Crisis
You are not alone, and help is always available. Get immediate support 24/7. Reach out to the Crisis Text Line by texting SEIZE to 741741 or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. It’s free, and everything you tell them is confidential, unless it’s essential to contact emergency services to keep you or your friend safe.
Other signs your friend might need outside help
If a friend confides in you that they are hurting themselves
If you notice a friend is self-harming or tells you about hurting themselves, but is not actively suicidal, they still might need professional help. If you are considering telling a trusted adult about your friend self-harming or cutting and feel like you're violating their trust, it’s important to know that you could play an important role in helping them get the support they need. Self-harming can be a red flag for suicidal thoughts and behaviors, so let your friend know you are there if they ever want to talk. Educate yourself about self-harm, ask your friend if they ever feel suicidal, and encourage them to talk to a parent, teacher, mental health professional, or another adult they trust.
If your instincts tell you that your friend is in crisis and needs immediate help or if you believe that they are at imminent risk of hurting themselves:
- Stay with them while you assist them in getting help.
- Call 911 or bring your friend or loved one to the nearest Emergency Department.
- If someone is agitated or potentially violent, avoid putting yourself in a personally dangerous situation - call 911 rather than bringing someone to the hospital yourself.
If a friend discloses being abused
If your friend confides in you about abuse from their intimate partner or being hurt by a family member, the best first reaction is to say something along the lines of “I’m so sorry this is happening to you.” Let them know you are there to help, listen, and support them. Be all ears and express there’s no judgement based on their choices. However, one of the most important and challenging steps there is when helping a friend in an abusive environment is to not promise to keep this a secret. The abuse will not stop without intervention and seeking additional help.
If you or your friend are under the age of 18, then it is important that you seek help from an adult in your life (e.g. parents, school counselor, teacher) that you most trust. They will likely need to contact child protective services, adult protective services, a victim advocate, or medical professionals.
Additional resources and services to educate yourself or help your friend include:
1.The National Domestic Abuse Hotline 1-800-799-SAFE
2.The National Sexual Assault Hotline 800-656-HOPE
3.The National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline 866-331-9474
All of these hotlines are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They can offer advice based on experience and can help find local support and services.