Helping When You're Concerned About Safety

Ask Key Questions & Encourage Help-Seeking

When you're concerned about a friend's safety, let them know you care and ask key questions that will help you work together to get them the support they need.

close-up of two hands holding on to one another

Crisis Support Is at Your Fingertips

Whether you're worried about yourself or a friend, you don't need to figure it out alone. 

Crisis Text Line

988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline

It's Okay to Ask

Whether you've noticed these signs in your friend or just have a gut feeling that something's off, follow your instincts. You don't have to know exactly what's going on, figure it all out, or have all the answers. Starting a conversation and asking about safety are important steps you can take.

A few pointers to keep in mind: 

  • bring up your concerns without judgment
  • avoid labeling/diagnosing your friend
  • avoid language that reinforces stigmas or stereotypes
  • let your friend know you're here to support them
  • You don't have to take this on alone. Sharing your concerns about a friend with someone who can help is not the same as gossiping.


What to Do If You're Concerned About...


If you're concerned about suicide, ask: Are you thinking about suicide?

If they are, stay with them until they are safe and encourage them to use suicide prevention resources like these. You can call a suicide hotline together or go with them to a crisis center or emergency room.

How to Ask Someone If They're Thinking About Suicide

Substance Use or Addiction

If you're concerned about substance use or addiction, approach your friend in a curious tone and ask: How have you felt about how things are going? or Are you using drugs/alcohol? when you're not sure if they're using substances. Focus on remaining nonjudgmental and understanding their perspective.

You can help a friend in this situation by recommending resources or looking into counselors, treatment centers, or supportive communities together.

Learn More at Addiction Center

Unsafe Relationships

If you're concerned about your friend's safety in a relationship, let them know you care and ask for their perspective: How do you think things are going in the relationship?

Learn More at Love Is Respect