Have you noticed posts on social media that sound threatening? Or have you heard vague references to self harm? If so, take action.
Definitely tell someone.
This could be a cry for help. You can talk to your friend if you think it would be helpful or family members and friends who could reach out to them. Don’t gossip or blow it off. Take it seriously. This could be a life or death situation. Be prepared with phone numbers to crisis counseling services like 1-800-273-TALK (8255) https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org
Trust your instinct.
If you’re not sure what to do, you can reach out to the National Suicide Hotline yourself. They are there to support individuals in danger AND those concerned about them 1-800-273-TALK (8255) https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org
Report social media posts.
Social media posts with threats of self harm or harm to others should always be taken seriously. Most social media platforms have an option for reporting a post. If you see a concerning post, select the icon to “report this post” and select the reason why, which can include “threatening” posts. Most social media platforms will investigate and reach out, providing a suicide hotline number, if appropriate. If you don’t have that option, you can post the suicide hotline phone number 1-800-273-TALK (8255) https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org in the thread or call it yourself. If the threat seems immediate call 911.
If you notice signs of depression like low mood, lack of motivation, loss of interest in usual activities, isolation, negative self talk, hopelessness, changes in daily living patterns like sleeping and eating, then help connect your friend to professional mental health treatment.
Don’t be afraid of offending your friend by suggesting psychotherapy. It may be exactly what they need.