Getting help for a friend who is suicidal is absolutely one of the hardest but most important things you can do. Depending on how old the friend is, it might be good to find someone in their family who you trust and they listen to. Let them know what is going on and together work out a time that you can both sit down with your friend and talk about things.
You can start with how worried you are about them and how you want to help. Then you need to let them talk about what's going on for them. If they do talk try not to dismiss what they say, but look for how you can find some ways to work things through with help. You need to also let them know that they need professional help and that while you can be with them as they get the help they need, you can't actually be the one they turn to all the time, as you aren't trained to know what to do or say, plus it is difficult for you to try to cope with this as well. Let them know you want them to be around, to continue to share more good times with you and other friends.
It is essential that you talk about this as compassionately as you can as you don't want them to just shut down and not talk to anyone. Have a list of support services that are close to you. GPs are a good place to start. If they don't want to go to their family doctor, that's ok, go to a bulk billing clinic where they don't know them. All GPs will have a list of local psychologists/counsellors they refer to for support. Lifeline 131114 is available 24/7 and BeyondBlue is another good place to go to online. Keep your friend connected to others, people who are feeling suicidal tend to withdraw from friends or social activities. Keep away from drugs and alcohol as they influence poor decision making. Try to get an agreement that if they are feeling really bad that they will call Lifeline and talk to someone. Don't tackle this on your own, get help for yourself as well.
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