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Life can be hard, and it’s normal to feel down or depressed. Depression and thoughts of suicide can affect people of all races, ages, incomes, religions, and cultures and be felt by family, friends, neighbors, and colleagues. You can save a life by knowing how to recognize and help someone who is thinking of suicide.

If someone has attempted suicide or is at immediate risk:

It’s important to take all signs of suicidal thoughts and behavior seriously. Everyone has a responsibility to prevent suicide.

  • Seek professional help.

  • Do not leave the individual alone.

  • Call 911 or, if you feel safe, take the person directly to the nearest emergency department. 

  • Contact the individual’s family member or friend to share what happened.

How to know if someone is struggling:

Many people who are thinking about suicide will show “warning signs.” Knowing how to identify common warning signs can save lives. 


Use the acronym FACTS when looking for warning signs:

  • Feelings (sadness, anxiety, hopelessness, being a burden to others)

  • Acting out or in more reckless ways

  • Changes in behavior (sleeping and eating more or less, not engaging in favorite activities)

  • Threatening or directly Talking about suicide

  • Situations (breakup, job loss, financial troubles)

Though not everyone with these warning signs is at risk for suicide, it is important to look out for these signs when you think someone may be struggling. 


If you notice someone is struggling, take these simple steps to provide support:

  • Ask them how they are feeling and actively listen to what they have to say.

  • Avoid saying things like “It will get better” or “Other people have it worse.”

    • This is a time to provide empathy and support, not to pass judgement.

  • Help them think of ways to cope with their feelings.

  • Encourage them to seek professional support.

  • Continue to check in with them to make sure they get the help they need.


Listening and showing that you care and want to help can go a long way in reducing suicidal thoughts.


Using the information and resources in this brochure can help you recognize when someone is struggling and give you the confidence to connect them with the help they need.

How to find help:

It’s important to know what resources are available – both in your community and virtually – so you are prepared to support someone who is having thoughts of suicide.

Below are state and national resources that can help someone who is struggling with suicidal thoughts. These resources can be accessed directly by someone who is struggling, by you on their behalf, or even by you as a source of guidance as you help your friend or loved one.​​

North Dakota Resources

National Resources

  • 988 Lifeline: Call or Text 988.

    • To speak with an LGBTQI-trained professional, dial 988 and press 3. To text, send the word PRIDE to 988.

  • Trans Lifeline: Call 877-565-8860 to speak with a trans/non-binary counselor.

  • Native and Strong Lifeline: Call 988 and press 4 to speak with an Indigenous counselor.     

  • Veterans Crisis Line: Call 988 and press 1.

  • Safety Planning App: Download in App Store or Google Play.

    • This free app helps you create a personalized plan with a friend or loved one to help keep them safe during a crisis. You’ll help them write down warning signs, coping strategies, trusted people they can ask for help, professionals and crisis services they can contact, and other ways to keep them safe. 

    • Note: If your friend or loved one is already connected with a healthcare provider, we encourage them to complete this safety plan together with their provider.

    • *If they are having active thoughts of suicide, please dial 911 or go to the nearest Emergency Department.

If you’ve lost someone to suicide:

We are so sorry for your loss. Suicide loss is complex, and the grief that accompanies the loss can often feel challenging to bear. Healing is possible though, and we encourage you to consider the following strategies:

  • Seek professional help

  • Connect with virtual or in-person support groups

  • Remember your loved one and honor their memory

  • Express your emotions

  • Practice self-care

  • Accept that healing takes time

  • Seek support from a religious or spiritual community, if applicable

Remember that you are not alone. There is a community of people who have experienced suicide loss and is available to provide support. You can find support for survivors of suicide loss at the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline, and the American Association of Suicidology.

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Resource Spotlight

North Dakota 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline

Visit this page for information on North Dakota’s 988 Suicide and Crisis Line.

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