How to Help a Friend

  • Reach out. Let them know they are not alone in feeling this way and that it is ok to ask for help.
  • Start a conversation. “I’m worried about you because you seem…” (e.g., sad, isolated, etc). Be specific about what you notice. “It concerned me when you said…”

    • Ask calmly with open-ended questions and use I-statements.
  • Offer to listen and listen without judgment. “Do you want to talk about it?”  “What can I do to help?”

  • Connect them with campus resources. Refer them to the Student Counseling Service (513-529-4634) or Dean of Students (513-529-1877).

  • Never be afraid to give your friend a call, pay a visit, or send them a message to let them know you are concerned. 

  • Ask directly if they have thoughts of suicide

    • Asking does not plant the idea in someone’s head
    • Communicate verbally and nonverbally that it is safe to answer honestly
    • Ask if they have a plan, materials, and a timeline
    • By reaching out to a friend, you are not attempting to fix your friend’s problems, but to connect them to support services
    • Call 9-1-1 if your friend is in imminent danger of harming themselves
    • Know your limits and seek help for yourself

Want to help in a bigger sense, too? See info about our Mental Health First Aid & QPR trainings. Remember: Suicide is preventable!

* Adapted from the “Help a Friend in Need” publication- The JED Foundation, Facebook, and Clinton Foundation