When a friend is feeling suicidal, what should you do?

So, your friend just told you that he/she is thinking about hurting themselves. What do you do? Or you noticed that your friend/family member is acting weird lately. What are the signs of someone who may be feeling hopeless about life? What can you do?

What you can do:

If the person is in immediate danger

  1. DO NOT leave them alone
  2. Call 999/112 for life-threatening emergencies
  3. Try to find out if he/she had been intoxicated
  4. Tell a family member or a friend about what is going on
  5. **If they have not taken actions to harm themselves, but is on the verge of doing so
    1. Bring them to the emergency department of the nearest public hospital. They may need to be hospitalized until the suicidal crisis is over.

You suspect that something is not right, but what are the warning signs?

  1. Talking about ending their lives: ‘I wish I was dead’, ‘I wish I hadn’t been born’, ‘I want to end this life’
  2. Getting the means: stocking up on pills, buying weapons, buying potentially poisonous medicine or anything potentially dangerous and lethal. 
  3. Feeling trapped and hopeless – they look sad and even depressed, though some may try to mask it. Pay extra attention to them or show them you care if you notice any changes in their behaviour.
  4. A huge change in their routine
  5. Risky behaviour – reckless driving, using drugs
  6. Giving belongings or pets away
  7. Saying goodbye to you as if that is the last time they are going to see you.

What should you do when you see these warning signs?

  1. Talk to them – ask them about their feelings. Contrary to popular belief, asking someone if they are suffering or having difficulty in life or if they have suicidal thoughts does not increase the risk of them acting on it (1)(2). On the contrary, it gives them an opportunity to talk about it and get the support that they need. 
  2. Show them that you care – tell them that you care for them very much and that you are there for them. 
  3. Encourage them to talk to you – ask them what seems to be bothering them.
  4. Acknowledge their feelings – respond with ‘I’m sorry to hear that you are going through so much stress…’
  5. Offer to help – ask them ‘what do you need?’ or ‘how can I help?’
  6. Offer to help them get professional help – help them to call relevant helplines (listed below), or seek counselling from licensed and registered mental health professionals. 
  1. Don’t judge them based on your point of view or give silver lining advice – ‘it could be worse’, ‘you are overthinking this’, ‘you have so many things to live for’. These responses are not helpful because it won’t make them feel heard and understood. 
  2. NEVER promise them that you’ll keep this a secret – explain to them that you care for them very much and that their life may be in danger, so they should get help.


You are encouraged to use the content from this site to improve your mental health. However, this is not a substitute for professional help (be it medical and/or mental health care, treatment and/or diagnosis).



If you or someone you know is in need of immediate support

Talian kasih 

24 hour helpline

Call: 15999

Whatsapp: 019-261 5999


24 hour helpline



Life Line Association Malaysia

Selected hours (please visit their website for the details)

Call: 016-720 1495 or 011-3157 1495


If you or someone you know suffer from any form of abuse or violence:


24 hour helpline

Call: 03-30008858

SMS/Whatsapp Tina: 018-988 8058


AWAM (Telenita helpline)

9.30am – 5.30pm Mon-Fri

Call/whatsapp: 016-237 4221 or 016-228 4221


If you are a child or a teenager who is experiencing emotional distress 

Buddy Bear Childline

24 hour helpline

Messenger: https://www.facebook.com/buddybear.humankind/ 

Call 1-800-18-BEAR (1800182327) 

Protect and Save the Children

8.30am – 5.30pm, Mon – Fri

Call or text: 016 721 3065 



  1. https://www.nationalelfservice.net/mental-health/suicide/asking-about-suicide-does-not-cause-harm-in-fact-it-may-help/
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6165520/
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