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HealthInfo Waitaha Canterbury

What to do if you think a young person may be suicidal

Tāu me mahi ina whakapae ana e pāngia ana tētahi taiohi e te whakamomoritanga


If you or someone you know is in immediate danger, call emergency services on 111.

If you or someone you know is safe but in a crisis and needs help, call the Child Adolescent & Family Emergency team (CAFEm):

You can also call the following suicide crisis helplines 24/7:

Here are some things you can do or say if you think someone close to you may be suicidal:

Talk to them. It is not true that talking to someone about suicide means they are more likely to attempt suicide. It is more likely that they will be grateful that you will help them. Ask directly: "I am worried that you are thinking about killing yourself. Is this true?"

Try other things to say, for example:

Remind them of the positive things in their life and give them hope.

Remove any objects that they could use to attempt suicide.

Do not leave them alone – get help.

Listen without judgement – do not get angry or minimise the problem.

If someone pushes you away and you are still worried that they are at risk of suicide, the right thing to do is to get help for them. You do not have to worry about confidentiality or their wishes if you are concerned they may kill themselves. There is only so much you can do alone. It is OK to ask for professionals to help you.

Getting help

There are many people and organisations that can help your friend or whānau (family) member. Contact the one that is easiest for you.

  HealthInfo recommends the following videos

On the next page: Support after a suicide attempt (for family & friends)

Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Last reviewed December 2023.


See also:

Understanding depression in teens & young adults

Page reference: 163006

Review key: HISUI-53221