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The Words:
How to start a conversation


  • Hey, it seems like something’s up. If there’s anything you want to talk about I’m always here

  • You OK? I feel like something’s up so just wanted to check in with you.

  • I know you’re going through a lot at the moment. If you wanna chat I’m here

But you know your mate or loved one better than anyone - so keep it natural and be compassionate and non-judgemental. That’s the best way to show you care about them and have their back. And if you’re unsure, ask twice - don’t accept “I’m fine” if you sense something’s not right.

Ask them directly

Too often, we shy away from digging a little deeper because we don’t like to think that our friend is sad. But avoiding the subject all together, can make someone feel even more isolated or silly for feeling the way they do.

If you’re worried someone you know feels suicidal, ask them the question directly. That’s really important. We know it can be daunting but asking someone if they’re suicidal - asking that question directly - can be the start of a life-saving conversation. Experience tells us that asking about suicide won’t make things worse - won’t be putting thoughts in their head if it’s not there already or prompt them into acting on their thoughts - but it might save their life. It can help give them a sense of relief that someone has actually asked this question - maybe for the first time - and make them feel heard for the first time.

What if my friend gets angry with me or stops talking to me?

Our research shows that a third (33%) of people said that they would feel too awkward to ask if someone was feeling suicidal in case they misread the situation - however, this is very rare.

Most people understand why you're asking and your concern will be a starting point for them to reflect or open up. By being compassionate and showing you care, your mate will understand you’re coming from a place of support and will appreciate that you cared enough to get them the help they needed.