Sometimes the best and easiest thing you can do to help is to just…listen.
If you sense a teen is struggling, say, “How are you doing, really?” and show, with your body language, that you’re interested: lean back or sit down; angle your body toward him or her.
If they say, “I’m fine,” but you don’t sense that’s the real, maybe say, “Really? If you’re not, I totally want to hear what’s going on…”
And then just listen. Don’t give an opinion. Don’t share your own experience. Just listen, and maybe throw in a “Tell me more.” Or a “What happened next.”
That shit can save a life.
U.S. teens can anonymously contact the Crisis Text Line, 24 hours a day, every day, by texting 741741.
If someone is feeling suicidal, help is always available at the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/GetHelp.