I’M WORRIED ABOUT SOMEONE.
When You Ask, They Feel Seen.
- If you sense something is wrong, it probably is.
- When you’re afraid to ask, you’re telling them what they’re going through is so scary, you can’t even talk about it.
- Push past “I’m okay,” and ask, “What is going on?”
- Ask, “Have you thought about ending your life?”
- Ask, “Are you having thoughts of suicide?”
- Be Fearless to Ask.
When You Listen, They Feel Less Alone.
- Listen to understand their emotional experience.
- Tune into what they are saying without judgment.
- You don’t have to solve anything, just listen.
- Let them know it’s safe to share with you.
- Be Fearless to Listen.
When You Take Action, You Show You Care.
- Call the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline at 988 to find a compassionate listener.
- Text Crisis Text Line for free, 24/7 confidential support. Text LIV to 741741.
- Stay with the person.
- Remove any lethal means.
- Reassure them they’re not a burden.
- Be Fearless to Take Action.
You are not alone in helping them. For more support:
- How do I know I should ask?
- How do I ask?
- What do I do if they are resistant to opening-up or sharing?
How do I know I should ask?
- When you sense something is wrong.
- Something has changed about the person you’re worried about: they aren’t themselves or their routine has changed.
- Changes in their sleep and eating.
- Changes in mood: short tempered, anxious, distressed, depressed. Have low motivation, fatigue, they seem distant, not laughing at the things they used to find funny.
- Isolating from everyone.
- Increased use of substances.
- Risky behaviors.
- Saying things like, “I can’t do this anymore” or “I wish I weren’t here “ or “I hate myself” or “I’m overwhelmed.”
- A stressful event or numerous stressful events. (ex: a breakup)
- Changes in tone of social media and texting.
How do I ask?
Show You Care
“I am worried about you. You don’t seem like yourself. Please tell me about what is going on for you.”
Ask open ended questions.
- How are you feeling?
- What is going on for you right now?
- Is there something that feels overwhelming?
- What is that like for you?
Once they are comfortable, Ask specific questions.
- How long have you felt this way?
- Have you ever felt this way before?
- Are you having thoughts of self-harm?
- Are you having thoughts of suicide?
What do I do if they are resistant to opening-up or sharing?
- Ask them what holds them back from sharing with you?
- Tell them “There is no problem too big you can’t hear and you are never too busy to hear it.”
- Share a struggle of your own without making it about you.
- Ask if there is another friend or family member they would like for you to call that they feel more comfortable talking with?
- Let them know if they don’t want to share right now, that you will be there for them when they are ready.
- Ask if they want you to text Crisis Text Line or call the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline with them.
- Add Crisis Text Line and the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline to the contacts in their phone.
Hear from our Youth Advisors
Path to Empathetic Listening
Being there for someone — lending an empathetic ear — is the biggest gift you can give.
But how do I do that best?
Listen to understand their situation and their emotional experience
It’s about them feeling like you understand them.
Listen with your heart and an empathetic ear
Think of it as a psychological hug.
Calm yourself by realizing you are there to listen and don’t need to solve anything for them
Listening is the solution.
Avoid problem solving or advice giving, allow for silence, and don’t interrupt
Encourages them to continue to share.
Show you are actively listening and trying to ensure you understand by summarizing what you are hearing them share with you
“I am hearing that you are overwhelmed and really struggling.”
Helps them make sense of their feelings.
Let them know you are listening with your non-verbals- facial expression, eye contact, relaxed inviting posture
“I can’t imagine how painful this is for you.”
“This sounds hard.”
“You must feel overwhelmed.”
“I know that all is very real to you right now.”
“I may not exactly understand or know what to say but I am here to listen.”
Tell them “I am here for you”, “you aren’t alone”, and keep listening.
“I know this is hard to talk about.”
Follow up. Let them know this is not a one time conversation
Reassures you are there for them in the future.
*IF YOU ARE IN A MENTAL HEALTH CRISIS AND NEED HELP PLEASE REACH OUT TO A PROFESSIONAL IMMEDIATELY. The Liv Project is NOT a professional organization in the mental health field. The Liv Project does NOT offer psychiatric, medical or any other professional advice. We are NOT a crisis center. Our organization was founded by individuals who have lost friends and family members to suicide. Our goal is to build a community where we share information with each other that we have gathered about mental health resources and facilities and NOT to serve as a substitute for sound, professional, medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you or a friend is in need of help, you should immediately seek that help and advice from qualified mental health professionals. This website is for informational purposes only. Please note that The Liv Project shall NOT be responsible for the content or services provided by any organizations, individuals or other resources referenced on our website or which you become aware of through this website, publications or other materials and information provided to you by or which you have become aware of through The Liv Project. The main goal of The Liv Project is to help people in distress get information about the professional resources that are out there so that we can together help prevent mental health crises from ending in suicide.