How do I help a stranger online who is exhibiting signs of mental illness?
Thank you for the concern you’ve expressed about a post on social media.
We’ve come a long way in de-stigmatizing mental illness, and often someone may feel safer about disclosing their feelings in an online setting. It's important to take comments about feeling suicidal or thinking about suicide seriously.You can take the initiative and show your concern – when someone is suffering, it can be difficult for them to remember that they matter or that people care. You could be the important link that someone needs to get connected to treatment and support that they need.
If you have reason to believe that someone is in immediate physical danger, please contact the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline at 988 or local emergency services right away for help. After you’ve called emergency services, if possible, connect with the person or call someone who can reassure the person that they are not alone, and you are there for them.
If the threat of physical danger isn’t immediate, use the resources below:
- Consult the Risk of Suicide page on NAMI’s website that discusses how to help when someone shows signs of suicidal thoughts. Also, see the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention for helpful guidance on how to help When Someone is at Risk.
- Visit the Friends and Family section of Speaking of Suicide.com for extensive information on resources and how to talk with and help someone who is having suicidal thoughts.
- Report the content to Facebook or Instagram so they can reach out to this person with information that may be helpful to them.