Recognizing when a friend is not doing well or in emotional distress can be difficult. Knowing the warning signs and the steps you can take to help support and assist a friend in need may make a huge difference for your friend. It is very important that you pay attention to any dramatic shifts in how a friend is behaving whether in-person or through social networks (posts, tweets, messages, photos, links, etc.). What your friend says and doesn’t say, how emotional they are in their communication, along with message frequency can also be important in determining if you have a friend in need of help and whether you should be concerned about the risk of self-harm or suicide.

Warning Signs

Messages that indicate a feeling of hopelessness and being all alone.

Frequent use of negative emoticons or concerning hashtags.

Dramatic shift in the type of messages being posted.

Pulling away from activities normally enjoyed.

Frequently talking/messaging about not feeling physically well (headaches, stomach aches).

Frequent reference to sleep issues.

Removal from online and offline socializing as a way of withdrawing and becoming more isolated.