Ask Kari: How can I help a friend who admits she’s suicidal?

Dear Kari,

I have a friend who told me that she is suicidal sometimes. I didn’t know what to say to her except that maybe she should talk to one of our school counselors.  I am afraid for her. Do you think that I should tell her parents? How can I help her?

--Worried Friend

Dear Worried Friend,

You did a great job in supporting your friend simply by listening to her and caring about her. Your suggestion that she speak to a school counselor was a great idea. School counselors can support a person in crisis by doing an assessment and developing a safe care plan for your friend. They also can reach out to your friend’s parents instead of you and let them know of their concerns. You should focus on being her friend and let the adults in her life support her in other ways that she needs at this time. That said, if at any point your friend states that she has an active plan (where she would do it, how she would do it, when she would do it) to end her life, tell an adult immediately or call 911.


As published in the May 2014 issue of Connections.

About Kari:

Kari O’Neill, MSW, LICSW, is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker and the owner and Clinical Director of Issaquah Highlands Counseling Group (IHCG), which is now Kari O’Neill Counseling.

This column is for entertainment purposes only. If you are in crisis and in need of support please contact the Crisis Clinic at 866-427-4747.