This is not a site for personal disclosure of mental health distress, suicidal thoughts or behaviours.

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If you or someone you know is in crisis; call a helpline, 9-1-1 or emergency services immediately or go to your nearest emergency department. If possible, and appropriate, ask which option they prefer.

There isn’t always a clear line between distress and crisis.

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Someone is experiencing a mental health crisis when they are at risk of hurting themselves or othersGet them help right away, but the Golden Rules still apply.

Say What You See

Golden Rule #1

If you notice changes in someone’s thoughts, feelings and behaviours that are intense, long lasting and negatively impacting their life in a big way, you need to speak up. Stick to the facts. Don’t judge. Don’t make assumptions. If you think someone is suicidal or might intentionally hurt themselves, be clear and direct and ask them. You may feel uncomfortable asking, but it can be as simple as, “Are you thinking about suicide?” They could lie, they could be offended, they could get upset, but at least they’ll know you care and that you’re there to talk to.

Show You Care

Golden Rule #2

Don’t leave them alone. Stay with them until they get the professional help they need, or as long as it is safe for you to be there.

Hear Them Out

Golden Rule #3

If they’re willing to talk, listen and make them feel heard. Ask follow up questions to better understand the situation and don’t be afraid to ask tough questions. E.g. “Are you hurting yourself?” “Are you thinking of ending your life?” “Do you have a plan?” Talking about self-harm or suicide won’t put an idea in their head that is not already there. It’s important to ask directly so you can get them the help they need.
 

Know Your Role

Golden Rule #4 

At this point they need professional help, and your role is to be a friend and do what you can to keep them safe until help arrives. Don’t promise not to tell anyone; if their life is at risk, getting help trumps keeping a promise. Set boundaries to keep yourself safe and take care of yourself too. It can be really hard to see someone you care about struggling or in crisis. Don’t try to handle it on your own.
 

Connect to Help

Golden Rule #5

Immediately contact a caring adult you trust or call 9-1-1 or emergency services for help. If possible and appropriate, ask which option they prefer. If you need to call 9-1-1 or emergency services, be prepared to answer some questions. Tell them where you are as specifically as possible, describe the situation and the help you need so they can understand the severity of the situation you’re in. Be cooperative and patient and allow them to go through their assessment questions.
 

Questions from the community

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What if they ask me not to tell anyone? What if they don’t want me to get help or get mad when I do? What if they disclose self-harm to me online or I notice something on social media? What if they end up in a hospital, should I go visit? What can I expect?

Find more info

Be There's Golden Rules are a framework to guide you, but there are lots more resources out there.
Be There