TW: mention of self-harm and suicide

I know these topics are triggering so I am proceeding softly. As a person who has self-harmed (I'm clean 131 days atm) and was hospitalized for suicidal thoughts, I know how inverted a person can become. It's not hard to find warning signs for a suicidal friend online, but it is hard to find warning signs for self-harm (which can lead to an attempt).

So here are some tips that might help you or a friend:

1. If your friend makes a joke, do not put them on the spot in front of multiple people, but do take them aside and ask if they want to talk about it whenever fit to do so.
2. If your friend mentions being in pain, ask about it. For example, "My arm hurts," "Why? Are you ok?"
3. Remember that self-harm is not limited to shallow cuts on the wrists. Self-harm can be burning oneself, beating oneself, obsessively restricting oneself, etc. Self-harm is not contained to the arm! Areas that are often covered (like stomachs and high thigh) can be the most common.
4. If your friend tenses up, winces, or shows any signs of pain through movements (i.e. standing up, laying down, holding areas tenderly) address it privately.
5. Pay attention. Maybe your friend is buying matches or blades for "a project," maybe they bought some band-aids or rubbing alcohol. Ask. If your friend seems hesitant, ask if they are ok. It might seem embarrassing but it could help.
6. How long is your friend gone? Do they just randomly leave? Are they always in the bathroom? Do they take a pouch/bag to the restroom a lot? I started self-harming in college and I lived in a dorm. Sometimes I would disappear into the bathroom for hours.
7. Show your friend that you are concerned for their well-being.
8. DO NOT (under any circumstance) COMMENT ABOUT THEIR SELF-HARM!! Any small statement might trigger them. "It doesn't look that bad," "I've seen worse," or "I guess you're right-handed." DO NOT SAY THINGS LIKE THIS
9. You can never be too sure. If you are worried; ask. Ask your friend. Ask other people they frequently contact if they've noticed anything. Ask their roommate.
10. If your friend confides in you try to take them to a counselor with you. Actively check to see if they are improving. Build trust with this friend. Ask if they want to show you. You can not handle this alone, a trained counselor should get involved.
11. Lastly, this person is not solely your responsibility. Be there, but take care of yourself as well.

If you have any questions, message me.

Know that you are loved always.
Suicide Prevention Line: 1(800)-273-8255