By Taylar Peters, Senior, Psychology and Religion

Suicide. Such a scary word to most. Yet, to others, it’s a word that enters their minds everyday often lingering for longer than most people are comfortable knowing. So unless you can read minds, how do you help someone who is struggling? How do you help a friend?

A common myth is that suicide is impulsive or it happens without warning but chances are, most individuals communicate their intent in some way. It’s about knowing what to look for and how to handle the situation.

  • If you see a friend engaging in reckless behavior more so than usual.
  • If you notice their withdrawal from not just you, but from everyone and everything.
  • If you notice their attitude about the future take a complete turn from hopeful to indifferent or hopeless.

So next time you ask your friend how they’re doing, listen to their response, look them in the eyes and absorb their answer. Notice the detached tone to their response, the hollow chill in their stare, and try not to miss the brief flash of hope when you ask them how they’re doing. When someone talks about depression, suicide, self-injurious behaviors, trauma and mental health as a whole, the stigma is so presently visible that it almost hurts to see. Here are a few tips for how to handle conversations about these topics:

  • Show non-judgment
  • Listen
  • Ask directly about their safety
  • Show some support
  • Seek out support