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As a friend, what should I do?

When you have a friend who's experiencing a mental illness or who has expressed suicidal feelings, you may not know what you should do. 

Read some of the tips below to see how you can play an important role in your friend's support network and keep them safe.

(Information from

Teenage Group


Open up

Talk to your friend about the concerns you have for their health. Using a nonjudgmental tone or words may help your friend open up to you and talk about the struggles they are facing. Try some of these phrases:

1. I see that you are going through something. Is everything okay?

2. I feel like you haven't been your normal self lately. Is there something going on?

3. I'm kind of concerned when you say things like that. Can we talk to someone about how you feel?


Talk to a school counselor

If you are worried about approaching your friend about their mental health, please talk to a school counselor who can call your friend into their office to talk about how they are feeling.

If your school does not have a counselor, seek out a trusted teacher who is able to talk to your friend about their mental state.


Support them

If your friend is not in the right head space to talk about their mental health, perhaps you can simply offer them your support. If they need you, be there. If they want to talk, listen. Ask them:

1. How can I support you right now?

2. Can I help you find mental health resources?

3. Do you want me to go with you to talk to someone?

4. Can I assist you with some of your tasks to make you feel better?


Build a network

Although your friend may say they want to be alone, don't give up on them. Continue to include them in plans, check-in on a regular basis, learn more about what they are experiencing, and be sensitive to what they are experiencing. Although they may tell you no at times, they will be grateful for your unconditional love and care during this difficult time.

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