I'm worried about... a family member.
Finding help for a family member
Sometimes it's difficult to get help for a troubled family member (brother, sister, niece, nephew, etc.) because you do not want them to be mad at you for "telling" on them. And while your family member might be angry at you at first, you'll feel better knowing that your family member is receiving help and isn't dead. Silence places you both at risk - your family member for death by suicide and you for tremendous feelings of guilt if that happens. This page was created to try to make it a little easier for you to approach an adult for help.
- Choose a safe person to approach - someone who likes and understands youth and who is trustworthy. This might be a parent, teacher, coach, minister, favorite aunt, guidance counselor, school nurse, etc.
- Take time to plan what you want to say to them - if you are prepared then you will be able to clearly tell them what you need to share about your family member and there will not be misinterpretations of what you are saying. Be sure to tell the adult everything you know about the situation including if your family member has a plan, what the plan is, and if your family member has access to a gun.
- Think about what you would like to get out of the conversation - if you have ideas of what you think could help the situation, it will be important to share them. The adult wants to help your family member feel better and giving them ideas on how to do that may make the process easier.
- Make an appointment - ask for a time where there won't be interruptions or distractions. Especially if you're going to talk to your parent, ask for time in the evening when dinner is over, the little kids are in bed, and things are calmer.
- Be a support to your family member - being available for your family member to talk to is important. Listen to him/her without judgment. You can offer to go with your family member to seek help from an adult and if he/she won't go with you, then go by yourself. The most important thing is not to keep this a secret.
- Download and print this form (RTF) - this form was created so that anyone with concerns that are difficult to discuss could fill it out and give it to the trusted person they have identified. Encourage your family member to fill this out and share it with someone or you could do it based on the information that you have. Make sure to allow him/her time to look it over before they start talking. Offer to go to this person with your family member or go on their behalf.
- Be honest - it can be hard to talk about difficult feelings and situations, but being honest with your family member, telling them you are worried about them and seeking help is one of the first steps to creating solutions.
- Listen- to what your parent(s) or other trustworthy adult has to say in response to your concerns. Remember that they care about your family member and want them to feel better.
- Congratulate yourself on doing something positive - it takes a lot of courage to ask for help.