A lot of people who are suicidal will give warning symptoms of Suicide. Ensure you can recognize these warning signs of suicide where you can act on them. But never feel responsible for any harm one may do to themselves. Many who do harm themselves are very clever in hiding or pretending around others.
Suicidal people may talk or joke about suicide and make statements about being reunited with a deceased loved one. They may blurt out statements about hopelessness, helplessness, or worthlessness. Example: "Life is useless." "Everyone would be better off without me." "It doesn't matter. I won't be around much longer anyway." "I wish I could just disappear."
Many have a preoccupation with death. Example: recurrent death themes in music, literature, or drawings. Writing letters or leaving notes referring to death or "the end".
They may appear suddenly happier or calmer, or have a loss of interest in things they once cared about. They might start visiting or calling people who they care about, or whom they haven't talked to in a long time. They may start giving possessions away, making personal arrangements, and setting one's affairs in order.
They can start exhibiting self-destructive behavior (alcohol/drug abuse, self-injury or mutilation, promiscuity), or being a lot more reckless, taking on all sorts of risk-taking behaviors. You may notice they seem to be having more accidents that are resulting in injuries, or maybe even close calls with death. If you see possible warning signs of suicide, it's alright to ask the person, "Are you planning to hurt yourself?" Don't worry about planting the idea in someone's head. Suicidal thoughts are common with depressive illnesses, although not all people have them. If a person has been thinking of suicide, he will be relieved and grateful that you were willing to be so open and nonjudgmental. It shows a person you truly care and take him seriously.
If you get a yes to your question, ask the individual more. Ask, "Do you have a plan?" If yes, ask, "Do you know when you would do it?" "Do you know how?" (today, next week?) "Do you have access to what you would use?" Asking these questions will give you an idea if the person is in immediate danger. If you feel they are, do not leave them alone! A suicidal person must see a doctor or psychiatrist immediately. You may have to take them to the nearest hospital emergency room or call 911. Always take thoughts of or plans for suicide seriously. Asking these questions will also show the person you really care, that you are not judging them.
Never keep a plan for suicide a secret. Don't worry about breaking a bond of friendship at this point. Friendships can be fixed, but lives can't be brought back. And never call a person's bluff, or try to minimize their problems by telling them they have everything to live for or how hurt his family would be. This will only increase their guilt and feelings of hopelessness. They need to be reassured that there is help, that what they are feeling is treatable, and that their suicidal feelings are temporary.
If you feel the person isn't in immediate danger, you can say things like, "I can tell you're really hurting", and "I care about you and will do my best to help you." Then follow through - help them find a doctor or a mental health professional. Be by their side when they make that first phone call, or go along with them to their first appointment. It's not a good idea to leave it up to a person to get assistance on their own. A supportive person can mean so much to someone who's in lots of problem.