When to Act

Many people are uncomfortable or unsure of what to do when they have a friend who is going through a challenging time. Suicide can be hard to talk about for many reasons; you may have been personally affected by suicide, be uncomfortable with death, or be worried that you might say or do the wrong thing. But, by seeking more information, you are taking a productive first step towards increasing your comfort level and learning how to interact in a safe way with someone who may be considering suicide.

Remember, there are many people who go through stressful life situations and do not consider suicide. It is important to know the risk factors and warning signs so you are able to ask the right questions and find out if a friend in need might be at increased risk for suicide. Sometimes, your friend may just need to talk. It is also important to realize that each situation is not the same. Some people considering suicide might not show all of the indicators that let those around them know they are at risk for suicide. Generally, a suicidal person who gives warning signs will present more than one clue. When signs are visible then we have a chance to intervene and make a difference!

If your friend has any of the following warning signs, you need to take action immediately:

  • Threatens suicide or talks/writes about suicide or wanting to hurt himself or herself. For example, your friend may say or write, "You will be better off without me," or "I'm just going to end it all."
  • Looks for ways to kill himself or herself.
  • Expresses having a suicide plan.
  • Prepares for death by making final arrangements, writing a will, or giving away prized possessions.
    danger chart
Danger Flowchart
Crisis Intervention Careline
24 hours a day, 7 days a week
Call toll-free statewide at
877-266-4357 or 800-273-8255
38 Percent of UAA students have experienced depression. Help is available and effective. Click here for an online screening.