Question #9 – “What are the most important things to teach our teens if they have a friend in suicidal crisis that shares their suicidal intentions with them?”

I believe that the two most important principles to teach teens in this case is first, NEVER keep this a secret.  This being said, we need to teach the helping teen to either go with their friend in crisis to a responsible adult for help, or the the friend in crisis won’t go with him, go alone to a responsible adult.  The responsible adult may be a teacher, school counselor, parent, etc.  Will the friend in crisis be upset? Most probably.  But chances are he will be alive and when he recovers he will realize the courage it took for his friend to break confidentiality and seek help for him.  In my experiences, i have witnessed this to be true almost every time.  The second important principle is to stress to the helping teen not to leave their friend alone if he seems to be in an acute crisis.  Take his friend to a responsible adult or call 911 for help.

Dave Opalewski is the author of “Answering the Cry for Help.”  he conducts a highly rated and interactive workshop on suicide prevention and intervention for educators, youth pastors, any youth caretaker and parents.  He is presenting in Van Buren County, Michigan on April 25th, Alma Public schoo;ls on April 29th, Caseville, Michigan May 17th, Oklahoma City June 3rd, Marquette, Michigan June 18th and 19th, and North Little Rock, AR July 22nd and 23rd.  You can contact dave to schedule your workshop at


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