How to react when someone confides in you about suicide

Disclaimer: While much effort has been put into finding the best possible information for the article, this is still largely an opinion-piece. The subject of suicide is an extremely complex topic, and we over at The Hidden Good are not trained professionals in this field. We write this as a starting point and to encourage more open-minded behaviour on talking about suicide.

It may be a difficult conversation to talk about. Often, when we talk about suicide, we are likely at a loss of what to do.

Yet, it is perhaps one of the more important conversations one can have.




The heart of another is a dark forest, always, no matter how close it has been to one’s own.

― Willa Cather

Sometimes all we need is a listening ear.

While human beings are complex, and it is often difficult to fully grasp what another is feeling, attempt to recognize that one is struggling.

Give them a space to express, a space to talk, a space to articulate.

Ask open questions, allow them to formulate their thoughts.

When talking about suicide, take it seriously. More often than not, it may be a cry for help.

Be open when talking about suicide. It may seem that talking about suicide may be counterintuitive, but the fact that the conversation is happening is a positive sign.




Be a friend and give them hope, offer your support.

Encourage them to seek out additional help, such as by accompanying them to see a mental health professional.

You can also encourage them to find help in other communities: support groups, faith communities, teachers, or other trusted individuals.

Surrounding themselves with supportive individuals or communities offers a space of hope, and makes things less uncertain.


You can’t keep it a secret.

While someone who is suicidal may confide in you on the basis of trust, it is important for us to never promise to keep one’s suicidal feelings a secret.

Of course, naturally, you can’t go sprouting such information at the top of your lungs either.

Rather, communicate that you seek to be understanding. However, if it comes down to one’s life being in danger, you cannot keep mum about it. At such a juncture, it is important that one seeks help.

If there are people you believe are at risk of suicide, you can contact Samaritans of Singapore by emailing or calling 1800-221-4444.

Tying it together

Most of all, remember to be a friend or family and show genuine concern.

It may be one of the most unfortunate and uncomfortable conversations to have, but it can be among the most life-changing.

Let us all be a friend or family to someone else, and first start by giving one a listening ear. Your intervention can help one extensively, showing that there are other options especially when they are at a loss of what to do.

For anyone having suicidal thoughts, you can contact Samaritans of Singapore’s 24-hour hotline at 1800-221-4444.

Cover image from here (left) and here (right).



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