National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

If you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts, please call 1-800-273-8255

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If you see something...

If you notice one of your friends may be suffering from depression, or that they may be contemplating suicide, reach out to a parent- yours or theirs- as soon as possible. It would also be helpful to make plans with that friend soon. Offer to visit them at home or go for a walk outside with them.

When reaching out to a peer...

It can be uncomfortable to bring up such a serious topic, especially if you have never spoken to your friend or peer about depression and suicide before. Here are some lead-ins to get you started:

  • “I felt worried when I noticed that you [state behavior you have witnessed]. Is there anything you want to talk about?”
  • “I care about you a lot and am worried about your mental health. If you ever need to talk to me, I’m here for you. You could also see one of the school counselors- they’re here to help!”
  • “It’s okay if you don’t want to talk about it, but if you are ever feeling down, please call this number.” Write down the phone number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255.

When reaching out to an adult...

Your parents or guardians and teachers will be willing to have a conversation about depression and suicide if you are. If you’d like to talk to a trusted adult about mental health, try these lead-ins:

  • “I’m really worried about [peer’s name]. I noticed that they [describe depression symptoms you’ve observed], and I’m not sure what to do.”
  • “I have been feeling really down for a few weeks now, and I think I might be depressed. I know I don’t have to go through it alone. Could we talk about it?”

When you need a professional...

While it is important to reach out to a trusted adult as a first step if you are concerned for yourself or a friend, please keep in mind that professional help is always an option. There is a stigma surrounding mental health, which can make reaching out to a professional difficult.

If you decide to discuss your options with a trusted adult, here are some lines to get you started:

  • With a school counselor: "Hi, do you have some time [preferable timeline here] to meet? I've been having a tough time and would just like to talk to someone."
  • With a parent: "I've been feeling really down for a few weeks, and I think I may be depressed. Can we talk about possibly seeing a therapist or psychiatrist?"

For Parents + Guardians

It can be difficult to accept that your child is struggling with depression or has a friend who is struggling with depression. However, we can fight the stigma surrounding mental illness together and lower the teen suicide rate in the process. If your child reaches out to you about depression or suicide, try to listen with an open mind. Reaching out to a therapist, counselor, or psychiatrist takes a lot of courage and only reflects positively on the situation. Seeking professional help means you care about the health, safety, and happiness of your child. That is a given, of course, but it will mean the world to your teen if you take these steps with them.

For Teachers

It's no secret that teachers are responsible for at least dozens, sometimes hundreds of students every day. When you are focused on providing them with lessons that are engaging and are up to state standards, it can get pretty overwhelming pretty fast. That's why adding mental health education and awareness to your curriculum can seem daunting. It certainly doesn't have to be.

The best integration of the Interactive Bystander series involves watching the videos and discussing the content that appears in the videos. It takes about thirty minutes to watch the entire Interactive Bystander series online, and even thirty minutes to discuss what choices your students made and why could make a difference in a student's life.

As a teacher, the well-being of your students is a priority, but there is only so much you can observe. Peers interact with each other in a variety of social settings and are more likely to stumble upon the signs of depression in each other. By encouraging your students to become Interactive Bystanders, you are empowering them to help- and maybe even save- each other. To watch the content from Interactive Bystander before introducing it to your classes, visit our videos page.