How can I help a friend who is showing signs of mental illness?

One of the most important ways to be a good friend is to help your friends when you notice something is wrong. This includes helping them get the support they need and deserve if they are experiencing a mental health condition.  You may find much of the information contained on NAMI’s How to Help a Friend webpage, which discusses in detail signs to look for and ways to help them, a good place to start. 

If ever you are concerned that your friend is in imminent danger of hurting themselves or someone else, please do not hesitate to take them to the nearest emergency room or call 911 for help.

You can contact The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline that has trained crisis workers available 24/7 who can guide you through options to help your friend with their thoughts of suicide.  You can reach the Lifeline by calling (800) 273-8255

You may wish to consult the Risk of Suicide page on NAMI’s website that discusses how to help when a friend shows signs of suicidal thoughts.  Also, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention offers helpful guidance on how to help When Someone is at Risk.

Additionally, Speaking of is a website for individuals and their loved ones and survivors that provides extensive information on resources for help.  In particular, the website provides extensive information in its Friends and Family section on how to talk with and help someone who is having suicidal thoughts.

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