How to tell someone I want to kill myself

I know you want to tell someone but you are afraid to. It’s hard to know what to say or to whom. And it’s frightening to think of baring your deepest darkest hurt to another human being. You may even think you’ve been leaving clues that seem like flashing neon signs and no one is picking up on them which makes you think they don’t care. However, what you think is obvious just is not to others.

Your fears

Will the person you tell freak out? Will they think of you as weak or selfish? Will they believe you? I won’t lie. They might.

That’s why it’s important to choose the right kind of person (section below on how to choose the right person). If they don’t understand right at first, it may be because they can’t believe your life would be so bad you’d want to end it. They don’t understand those feelings–how persistent, invasive, convincing and life-threatening they are. So that’s why you have to be very direct and bare your soul.

There is fear sharing your thoughts of suicide. But the alternative is that you might die if you don’t. And you have sunsets to see, people to fall in love with, and lives to save with your story. So keep reading.

1. Make the decision to tell

You looked this up. You are reading it now. You can do this. I know you have the courage because you have endured and fought these thoughts. You’ve managed to live through those episodes and you know how difficult that was.

Telling someone is how you can ask someone to help you save your own life.

2. Who should you tell?

Choose someone who is compassionate. Ask yourself:

  • “Is the person you are thinking less likely to judge others?”
  • “Are they a person who listens?”
  • “Are they less likely to lecture or try to fix you?”

The person you choose could be a parent, aunt, uncle, minister, doctor, coach, therapist, partner, spouse, boyfriend, girlfriend, co-worker, human resources manager, or friend.

If you are a student, you could tell a teacher, school counselor, or visit a counselor at college.

You can also tell a stranger at a crisis line. You can practice telling me here. Make a list or mental note of 1-3 people you would tell. And then commit to telling that person you chose.

3. How should you tell?

It’s hard to know what to say. If you do tell someone, you worry people will think you are joking. That’s why it’s important to be very direct.

Don’t use phrases like, “I want to hurt myself.” You must be clear because the human you are talking to will not take it as seriously. And this is serious. It’s life or death.

Say something like:

“I have something very important to tell you. This is not a joke. Can you listen? I have been thinking of killing myself and I need help. When I have these thoughts I feel like I don’t have control. I don’t understand these feelings of suicide and they scare me.”

Add your own personal struggles. Be open and heartfelt.

You can tell someone in person.

You can tell someone in a message, on the phone, or write it in a note and hand it to that person while you are there.

My son Charles died by suicide and after his death, I realized he wanted to tell me he was thinking of killing himself in that last phone call. I will always regret that I missed the opportunity to ask.

4. How will the person you tell react?

The person you choose to tell may say something like, “You have so much to live for!”  Or, “You shouldn’t feel that way.” It’s not the right thing but be patient with them. It’s a reactionary statement.

Right at first the person you tell will probably feel scared because this is so serious. And it is. But once they absorb the news, most people feel honored that someone trusted them with such personal information. And they feel thankful they could help you.

You can call a local crisis line together. You can go tell someone together. You can ask someone to tell another human on your behalf. However, you do it, don’t give up.

If you are really feeling like dying by suicide right now, do not wait. Call or tell someone now.

If you leave us, then you take with you the gifts that we have not even realized you have.

You looked this up which is the first step. I congratulate you on that. Make a comment here if you want to practice or have a question. Your task today is to tell someone so you can get the help you deserve.

USA 1-800-273-8255
USA Crisis Text 741-741
US Crisis line for LGBTQ Youth 1-866-488-7386
US Crisis Text for LGBTQ Youth 678-678
Canada 1-833-456-4566
United Kingdom 116 123
Australia 13 11 14
International suicide hotlines

Published by

Anne Moss Rogers

I am an emotionally naked TEDx speaker, and author of the Book, Diary of a Broken Mind. I raised two boys, Richard and Charles, and lost my youngest son, Charles to substance use disorder and suicide June 5, 2015. I help people foster a culture of connection to prevent suicide, reduce substance misuse and find life after loss. My motivational, training and workshop topics include suicide prevention, addiction, mental illness, and grief. As talented and funny as Charles was, letting other people know they matter was his greatest gift. And now the legacy I try and carry forward in my son's memory. Professional Speaker Website. Trained in ASIST and trainer for the evidence-based 4-hour training for everyone called safeTALK.

34 thoughts on “How to tell someone I want to kill myself”

  1. I wrote my note this morning. I read this while trying to figure out what I wanted to say and I know I want to tell my friend that I wrote the note and I mean it but he’s already having a really weird and hard time right now and I have no idea how he’ll react. I don’t have all that many friends and he’s the only one I know who probably won’t think of me much different. I don’t want to put him in a hard place right now or have a worse time because I know he’s upset already and has so much going on but… I don’t know anymore. I need to tell someone and an adult will just try to logic it away… I’m scared and confused and I don’t know what to do anymore.

    1. It’s natural to have second thoughts, opal. It’s very hard to tell someone. But I think you can be honest with him and tell him what you just wrote. That you are concerned how he might react but he is someone you trust and it’s a friendship you value. I want you to try and think about how he’d feel if you died by suicide and he never got to hear what you had to say. He’d always wonder what he did wrong and why you didn’t tell him. You can even share this page, your comment and mine. So follow through with telling your friend. I admire your courage. You came here, you wrote the note, you are almost there. I know how much you want to tell. And he might think, “What now?” And I can answer that. He is your partner in finding help or that next step. You need to get a psychological assessment to see what your suicide risk is and what the underlying reasons are and how they can be treated. So it would be a mental health organization in your state or county if you are in the US. So here in Virginia, we have the Department of Behavioral Health. And they have a crisis line locally. So that’s where I’d call for someone in the city. The two of you can text 741-741 which is the crisis text line and ask for resources in your area. (That works in Canada and US). Another option is to call the state chapter of National Alliance of Mental Illness, they usually have a warm line that will help you find resources for that assessment. Having someone with you to help find that next step to get help is just because two brains are better than one. For example if you are in school, maybe he’d go with you to tell a school counselor. So once you have told him and you want to know next step, I can try and help if you give me your city and state. I can see what resources are in the area. You can do this. You’ve endured these thoughts. So I know you have what it takes. I am impressed with your courage. Let me know if I’ve answered your question. I want to help. OK?

  2. I’m ready to die tonight. I want to tell my best friend, but he’s on vacation. I don’t want to interrupt him. He’s the one person I want to hear from the most. He’s the one person I want to talk to more than anyone else–even my mom. I just want someone I love to know how I feel. I want him to know how important he is to me. My pain will never end as long as I’m alive. It just goes away for a while and keeps coming back.

    1. Interrupt him! Please. He would be devastated if you died and never reached out to him. And suicidal thoughts do have a pattern. If you can, start writing down things you’ve noticed. Triggers? Are you alone more when they hit? (and in this pandemic isolation is driving a lot of people’s dark thoughts). Are you in a depressive episode now? How often are they? Typically, they last a certain amount of time. So for example, some episodes are about twenty minutes and it’s an irrational state of mind. It’s scary, too. Because when you come out of it you wonder how you could think like that. But it’s a chemical imbalance in your brain that can be treated. And I want you to get that help, that relief so you can find joy again. Call your friend now. Don’t text. Please call. Then together you guys can choose a trusted adult to tell. OK? Come back. Ask questions, next steps. I’ll answer it. And by the way, I’m honored you’d post this here and see it as a place where you can trust. Thank you.

      1. I got a call from someone before I got the courage to call my friend. We talked, then I called my peacher at church and we talked for even longer. I’m okay tonight, now. I still want to hear from my best friend, but since I’m not in crisis anymore should I wait? I’m not very good at finding patterns and correlations in my behavior like you suggest, but maybe keeping a log will help. I could record a time/date stamp, where I am, what I’m doing (specific), and maybe what I’m feeling? What else will help? What do I do with my log?

        Something I’ve wondered for years… Why is dieing wrong? Don’t I have just as much right to end my life as I do to live it? It seems just as selfish for the world to want to force me to endure my deep emotional pain as it is for me to want to end it.

        1. Your ideas are fantastic. So, yes. As you become more aware, you will see patterns and learning more helps you figure it all out. A therapist can help as well.

          I’m glad you talked with someone. And yes, call your friend. It’s good to call when you are not in crisis, too. And choose a trusted adult that the two of you can speak with. He can be with you for a call or whatever but it’s so important you get help and have support. And ALL OF US need support and help at some point for something. When my son died by suicide I was in pieces. And if it weren’t for my friends I don’t know what I would have done.
          But it’s interesting isn’t it? How that feeling comes on and then it just dissolves. While I’ve never had the feelings I’ve sat with many who have and it’s always like the person is coming out of a trance. So you know it’s a limited time.

          So here’s what I’m thinking:
          1. Call your friend and talk to him. It’s OK to say that you are nervous and it’s not easy. He’s your best friend. You can say it to him.
          2. Choose a trusted adult to speak with about this issue as soon as you can. You can do that together.
          3. Take the notes just like you suggested to look for patterns and triggers. That knowledge will help you understand it better.
          4. List some crisis lines in your phone. There is also an app called My3 that’s good. But I want you to have a plan when and if it hits next. My3 helps you work out a plan. So if your best friend is not available, could you call that minister? Can you text the crisis text line at 741-741? These are suggestions and thoughts. And don’t think for one single second that you are weak. Because if you have endured these thoughts, you are strong. And you posted here and that took so much courage. So I know you have it in you? I hope you can see that. Telling does take a lot of courage.

          And as for your final comment, there is a short book about that subject that is really good. Suicide, the Forever Decision. The idea is that when you are considering suicide, you are in an altered state of mind. And that most who survive an attempt want to live and the entire time someone is in suicidal up until the moment they attempt to take their life there are doubts. And since it’s an irrational state of mind, it’s like you are not making a sound decision. So it’s not that it’s a sin or something like that. It’s just that if you check out, we are robbed of what you could be and you take all your gifts with you. a friend of my son’s wrote me after his suicide. My son saved his life and stopped him and another friend from killing themselves. He wrote, “My family and I are so grateful I am alive today. If it weren’t for him, I wouldn’t be.”

          And I, nor anyone else has control over that decision for you. All we can do is help you save your own life. Please call your friend.

  3. the work you do is beautiful. i’m sure it has worked and will work for a lot of people in need. however, i’d like to join charles. i feel like now he feels at ease. i know it might sound cruel to you but you wouldn’t understand the feeling of wanting to end this life that lays heavy on my shoulders with every problem growing into a bigger one. from the early childhood to this point. i need that. i’m tired. i want to die. all 30 years of my life i was an outsider everywhere i go starting with my family. i can’t take this anymore. i look in a mirror and i see nothing i would want or need to live for. this chapter of my existence must be over. i would prefer a less painful method as i feel i have endured enough pain in my life. i want my death to be as painless as possible. also, please don’t try to report this, i’m putting a fake email. i’m not leaving the his comment just to get attention. i’m sorry if this hurts you, my uncle hunt himself and i remember my mom crying for several years. but again, i’m sure my uncle found his peace when he took his life. i wonder how long it will take me and where i could do it in my apartment.

    1. As painful as this is, it’s beautifully written. I wish I could help, fix it, do something that would help you have hope. But because you have put in a fake email, you are unlikely to see this. I have no way of contacting you even if you did. I can’t call authorities on an email. I can only read and respond and tell you that you matter.

  4. I typed in tonight how to effectively hang myself. I have wanted to die more than live these past several years.
    Your website popped up. I am so sorry for your loss and your strength from your grief is unbelievable. You are one amazing family ❤️

    1. I am so sorry you feel so badly and have struggled with thoughts of suicide. I hope you can find treatment. But I also know it’s not really a choice. Thank you so much for your kind words. You can tell me about your pain. I will listen and respond.

  5. Anne,
    Thank you for this incredible resource.
    Thank you for reaching out to people like me.
    I’m sorry that you lost your son, but I am glad that you’ve turned that loss into an opportunity to help others.
    I hope you’re doing OK, too. I imagine this can be hard for anyone in your position. Thank you again.

      1. I am doing much better today, thank you for offering to listen. I’m going to reach out to a professional in my area for ongoing therapy, I think it’s time that I did that. I’m a bit of a perfectionist, and I’m beginning to realize how that I don’t have to look at things as all or nothing.

  6. The demon/voice/urge whatever you call it, visits every day, sometimes up to 10x a day. Been happening so long and so often i thought everyone experienced it. Its a cunning bastard, sometimes coy and endearing, sometime raging and violent, always convincing, always looking for an opportunity to steer me toward it. The daily battles have waged for years but now, now Im tired, now Im losing, i’ve seen it. i cling to the last 2 reasons i have but like i said, Its a cunning bastard.

    1. HI, “Not Henry”. Such a battle you have fought. The story of your pain is so beautifully stated. So well said, I actually feel it.

      I want you to look up Frank King. He is a friend of mine who also suffers from almost constant suicidal thoughts. But he found a way to make it background noise. I have no idea how. He and several others have just written a series of workbooks for men who live with mental health issues as he does. It just came out. He says that every single day, suicide is on the menu. He has several TEDx talks, too.

      You are welcome to keep talking here, too. I’ll listen and respond. It is wearing you down. How could it not? Thank you for the courage to post what you did.

  7. I daily plot for killing myself.but had a hope for living.Dr.refered me for rehabilitation but I am not capable to afford rehab..can u help

    1. Nida. I am so sorry you are struggling with this. And I commend you for seeking ways to keep yourself alive.

      So let’s start with you telling me more about your pain and your plot to kill yourself.

      Also let me know where you live. Not your exact address. Just the general area. I am honored you trust me with your darkness.

      1. Thanks, for your concern are following me on Twitter.yesterday we have a Twitter conversation also .I have appreciated u for being a such lovely lady and mom u thanked me their..but I was hassitating to share my issues there.Actually I am a bipolar sufferer and on medications since last medicine are making resistant towards my body..and because of my childhood age I have not been morally supported by my family.its a long story .At present I can’t survive because the reason is the financial help provided from my family is insulting me ,because want me to get treatment but don’t want listen my past and did not want be in touch with me.they says if we did wrong so we are supporting you now with money..I rely felt a lady like you who is privileged to be own by their children ,because I also lost my brother like I only miss him so badly.but see again I the next member of a family want same from family ,again I became like him .Because he was not also understood by family what he wants,and me too .so if they cannot take stand for me till now ,so I feel to take insulting to take their lovable money..They love their status,money ,society,..though it’s killing someone who is no one but a children a ‘daughter’.so getting suffocated in this husband is not enough to take burden of my expenses so I m getting totally messed with my life..I am from India..otherwise I would rely came to meet to you their anyhow ..the days I never forget of my my brother illness, he use to be very close to me and comes crying on my lap and sometimes hug me rely kills that I couldn’t saved him ,so this gives me strength that not to kill myself,family says why u fight with people for him or for yourself .forget all those incident but he was my elder brother and my family too,and I can’t forget his pain till death..whatever did with him is doing with me infact my case is worse than him.sometimes I link up the things like similarities between both my brother and me.So that time I realise we were both alike that is why we were bonded with other till now also.He always comes in my dream only .so family says why don’t you get out all of this but rely hate those people who did wrong with him and made him a mystery.Well he went from this nasty world but I with my pain keep on fighting to survive but now it’s overwhelming me ,and I can’t bear the pain trying to escape all these judgements and conflicts . I want to go into rehab but financialy but my husband couldn’t bear.its too expensive. When I read your story it rely felt that you are a person who is as determined as like me that wrote a book ” for your son in regret of losing him.please give me your mailing I’ could share some more things with you for bieng a lovely mom..because in this world no body lives for anybody and no body take stand for anybody especially when it’s tough .they finaly “they live in present and leave the past”..I started to raise voice against my family so no body is knowing this in my family but husband supports me a lot and “father helps me with financial help but I want be independent but due to my bipolar I drop out the the the things…it’s long conversation ,I would hope that you will understand that I m in severe pain..

        1. Wow Nida. Thank you for telling me your story. I do remember your name so I appreciate your letting me know where I’ve seen it. Reach out on the contact form. And that will go to my email. And today, your job is not to fix everything but to keep yourself alive. I hope writing all that out helped. I am sorry about your brother.

  8. I keep thinking about killing myself. I want to tell someone. I told my husband but he is burying his head in the sand. I don’t know who I can tell. Everyone I think of I don’t think they would listen. The one person I texted I needed to talk earlier today still hasn’t replied. I feel so alone.

    1. Oh Kerrie that is so frustrating it makes me ache. And makes me mad. Here you are doing exactly as I would want but people are failing to reply appropriately. I am so sorry. So here is what I suggest. If you send me what your city and state are, I can help you find a local number to call. Or you can google the name of your county and state for the local crisis line. So for example, if you live in chesterfield county virginia, you would look up chesterfield county crisis line. But I can help if you send city and state or county and state. The local numbers are typically responsive. The other thought is to text that friend again. Often all of us miss text messages and it’s not personal when it’s missed. It’s just an oversight.

  9. I know how IT feels like i fight it every day you don’t want to get up every day you have to fight every day TO make it through the day i don’t have anyone to talk to about how i feel i just wish there was books on how to make it through the day for free

    1. Hi Ray. You can talk here. And you can reach out to me at this form. I’ll answer with my email. (I can’t type it here because I get spammed.)

      And there is a book. It’s on amazon and free on a library site. “How I Stayed Alive When My Brain Was Trying to Kill Me: One Person’s Guide to Suicide Prevention”

      Here are the links to that book I mentioned above from two places. This one is recommended by counselors and those with lived experience like yourself.


      Free on this site.

      Thank you for wanting to figure out how to help us help you save your own life. I’m honored you reached out and commented. Many people will google this and see your response and will feel less isolated and also need this resource. So you are not only on the path to saving yourself. You will save others, too. And that’s a pretty wonderful thing.
      Anne Moss Rogers, Owner of Emotionally Naked and mom of a son who died by suicide

      1. Hi,were do I start or begin, if been suffering for years comes in waves and I have no control.i have been to drs n I got medication also a dr n nurse from mental health hospital came out to my house,but I feel a failure, hate myself feel I’m in the way I dont want to be here.its sad for family but I have spoken to them n they watch me as much as possible. I cry daily n I’m weak n tired now.i have great family n job n house n car.but it seems it’s no enough. If I won the lottery it no make any difference to me at all.iv lost 2 stone in weight n I’m very seldom hungry. I could go on and on.but I feel I’m going dw the dark hole.i feel I’m a mouse running around the wheel.the feeling in my stomach is horrendous and my head is go and my councillor said my head is like a person in a car crash it’s all over the place. Sorry but that’s a small part of how I’m feeling daily.

        1. Gary. You are really suffering. For such a long time. You have described your pain so well and I appreciate that because it helps me to understand the level of your agony. It’s not fair because you have made efforts. First thank you for your trust. Second is thank you for your effort in making the effort to stay alive.

          I am sharing this article with you. I can’t fix this but I can listen and share what others have written. I am here and I am willing to listen. And I am amazed at how you are still trying and not giving up although your brain is trying to make that happen.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.