Talking to Your Loved Ones About Your Distress

People who are thinking about suicide tend to isolate themselves and try to solve their problems on their own. But that can be exhausting and confusing. No matter what you’re going through, someone, somewhere can help. The important thing is to identify people you can turn to for help and to ask for their support in tough times.


I was too ashamed to tell my friends and family about my suicidal thoughts. I was so relieved when my sister asked me if I was thinking about suicide. She didn’t judge me. She just wanted me to get better. She told me I was important to her and that she didn’t want anything to happen to me. That gave me the motivation to ask for help.


Identifying the right people

It’s not always easy to know who you can turn to for help. To help you identify the right people, remember that a good support person usually has the following qualities.


Who in my circle is caring?

  • Who cares about my well-being?
  • Who listens to me?
  • Who reflects a positive image of me?


Who in my circle is calming?

  • Who do I feel safe with?
  • Who calms me down?
  • Who makes me feel at ease?


Who in my circle is supportive?

  • Who’s there for me when I need them?
  • Who cares about what I’m going through?
  • Who gives me advice based on my needs?

Prioritizing your needs

Different people can help us meet different needs. If you’re experiencing distress or having suicidal thoughts, you need to prioritize your needs and identify the best people to help you meet them.

Confide in someone

To help you find out who can meet this need, ask yourself these questions:

  • Who doesn’t judge me?
  • Who can help me when my emotions are running high?

Take my mind off things

To help you find out who can meet this need, ask yourself these questions:

  • Who makes me feel good?
  • Who can help me take my mind off things during difficult periods?

Get advice

To help you find out who can meet this need, ask yourself these questions:

  • Who gives good advice?
  • Who has good judgement?

Get practical help

To help you find out who can meet this need, ask yourself these questions:

  • Who can give me a hand?
  • Who can help me find information?
  • Who can support me in what I need to do?

Overcoming isolation

You can find support persons among your family, friends, and colleagues, but also at support services and community organizations. Reaching out to people isn’t always easy, but it’s an important step on the road to feeling better.

A support person can be:

  • A caring family member ready to lend a helping hand

  • A calming friend you can confide in

  • A supportive colleague who can give good advice

  • A fellow support group member who has been through similar experiences and understands you

  • A worker at a community organization or local community services centre (CLSC) who can help you see things from a different perspective

Persevering in your search for help

Sometimes a request for help might fall on deaf ears, or the person you approached might not be able to meet your needs. You may feel discouraged, but it’s important to persist. It may take several tries to get the help you need.