Suicide & self-harm

Updated: June 21, 2024

Everyone experiences ups and downs with their mental health. If you or someone you know has questions about mental health, self-harm, or suicide, it is important to know that help is out there, recovery is possible, and you are not alone.

What are suicide and self-harm?

Thoughts of wanting or wishing to die are called suicidal ideation. When a person tries to act on these thoughts, it is called a suicide attempt. If a suicide attempt is fatal, it is called a death by suicide. Suicide is preventable, and not every person who struggles with suicidal ideation will die by suicide. Self-harm refers to when a person intentionally hurts their own body. Self-harm is different from a suicide attempt as not everyone who engages in self-harm wants to die. We should take all suicide or self-harm thoughts and behaviors seriously, and as a sign to seek help.

Getting help

It's important to recognize when mental health challenges are continual and make day-to-day life hard to manage. Signs that someone might be struggling with their mental health include changes in behavior, mood, and communication, such as:

  • Changes in appetite, sleeping patterns, or energy levels
  • Isolating from friends and family, or reducing participation in usual activities
  • Difficulties functioning at work, school, or in other areas of life
  • Feeling sad, hopeless, irritable, or anxious more than usual
  • Statements like, "You would be better off without me", "I wish I could go to sleep and never wake up", or "I don't care if I live or die"

What can I do if I think I need help?

Reaching out for help when you're struggling can be hard, but you are not alone; there is help available. Asking for help is always okay and doesn't mean you're a failure. In fact, it is one of the most important steps you can take toward recovery.

You may want different forms of support depending on your needs and comfort levels. Here are some resources you could consider getting help from:

  • Friends, family, or other communities. Friends, families, hobby groups, or religious communities if you identify with one, can be a great source of support and encouragement. They can listen to how you're feeling with empathy and remind you that you don't need to go through a tough time alone.
  • Mental health crisis or suicide helpline. Reaching out to a helpline will connect you with a trained professional who will ask questions about how you're feeling and if you're at risk of hurting yourself. At some helplines, you can get support via texting or calling, depending on your preference. You don't need to be in a life-threatening crisis to reach out to a suicide helpline. You can talk about anything that is bothering you in an anonymous, confidential setting.
  • Medical doctor. Your doctor can help assess changes in your emotions and behaviors, give recommendations for lifestyle changes (such as sleep habits, exercise, and diet), and provide referrals to other health professionals as needed.
  • Mental health professional. A specialized mental health provider can provide support and treatment for mental health struggles, including diagnosing mental health conditions if needed. They may explore treatment options with you, like medication or talk therapies. They may also help you make a plan to keep yourself safe if you're having suicidal feelings or urges.
  • Peer support services. Talking to someone who has recovered from mental health struggles can be an empowering and validating experience. Local peer support communities may offer phonelines that are staffed by people with lived experience with mental health conditions, as well as support groups with other peers.

What can I do to support a friend?

If you think a friend might be thinking about suicide or engaging in self-harm, it's easy to feel overwhelmed and unsure of how you can help. Here are some actions you can take to support a friend:

  • Start the conversation. If you're concerned about changes in a friend's behavior and think something might be wrong, don't be afraid to bring it up with them. You could try asking your friend to catch up in-person and ask something like, "It seems like you've been down lately, and I'm worried about you. How have you been feeling?" Asking about suicide does not put the thought into someone's head or increase the risk. You can try asking directly by saying, "Have you had thoughts about ending your life?" Additional guidance for how to talk to someone about suicide or self-harm is available in TikTok's Well-Being Guide.
  • Listen with empathy and without judgment. Don't offer solutions or change the topic. Be patient and comfortable if there are silences. Try asking open-ended questions, such as "What's on your mind?" and "What can I do to support you?", and listening to the emotions that come out in your friend's responses. We can help others just by being a good listener.
  • Offer to connect them with resources. You can play an important role in your friend's recovery by encouraging them to seek professional help from a therapist or healthcare provider, contact a suicide hotline, or reach out to a local support group.
  • Take care of yourself. Providing a listening and supportive ear to those around you takes significant energy. It may leave you feeling distressed or burned out, especially when talking about issues like suicide or self-harm. If you notice that supporting a friend is taking a toll on your own mental health, don't be afraid to take a break, set healthy boundaries, or talk to someone you trust.

More information about how to support friends who are experiencing mental health difficulties is available in TikTok's Well-Being Guide.

Getting help immediately

If you or someone you know is experiencing a mental health emergency, please contact a healthcare provider or a suicide hotline immediately.

Learn more

How can I safely share about my experiences with suicide or self-harm on TikTok?

If you are considering sharing your story on TikTok, please consider reviewing the How to Safely Share Your Story Guide for tips. Also, review the "Suicide and Self-Harm" section of our Community Guidelines.

Is it normal to have thoughts of suicide or self-harm?

While many people have thoughts of suicide or self-harm, these types of thoughts should always be taken seriously. Reach out to someone you trust and get the help you deserve. You are not alone and help is out there.

What are some tips for coping with thoughts of suicide or self-harm?
  • Focus on getting through one moment at a time
    • Sometimes we may find ourselves getting caught up in our thoughts or feelings, and becoming overwhelmed. Recognize when this is happening and be mindful of your emotions. Try doing something that makes you feel better and relieves stress, such as getting out into nature, listening to music, connecting with friends, or creating art. Consider unfollowing people who are no longer positively serving you or your recovery, and limiting your screentime if you find yourself feeling negative while scrolling.
  • Notice your “self-talk”
    • It’s common to have self-talk as running commentary on how we feel and everything around us. Sometimes self-talk can become negative and toxic, which can make us feel worse. Try to practice speaking to yourself in a kind, patient, and caring way. Talking to yourself should be similar to talking to your best friend.
  • Focus on your inner strengths and reasons for living
    • Try to think about all your strengths and the values you hold. Think about tough times you have managed to get through already, and good moments that may be waiting for you in the future. Focusing on these can help you see the bigger picture and feel good about yourself and your accomplishments.
    • For example, you could list out things you are looking forward to, such as finishing your favorite book series, or people you want to stay alive to support, such as your family.
  • Get to know your triggers and plan ahead
    • Thoughts of suicide or self-harm can often come up during triggering circumstances, such as studying for exams, changes in routine, or arguments with friends or loved ones. Get to know what brings up uncomfortable or negative emotions for yourself. Make a list and prepare how you will get support if you do feel triggered, or alternate activities you can do instead of harming yourself.
    • For example, you could write out a safety plan to get through thoughts of suicide and self-harm.
  • Seek medical and mental healthcare
    • Tips such as the ones above are informed by suicide prevention organizations that partner with us at TikTok. However, everyone's mental health is unique. The best way to find out how to cope with thoughts of suicide or self-harm is to reach out to a medical or mental healthcare provider who can figure this out with you.


TikTok’s Safety Center resources and guides do not provide mental health or medical services. “Suicide and Self-Harm” on TikTok is not a substitute for medical, psychological, or psychiatric diagnosis, treatment, or advice. Content produced and distributed by TikTok is for informational and educational use only. Do not disregard or delay seeking professional advice because of the availability of services or educational materials offered by TikTok.

If you are in a crisis or if you or any other person may be in danger or experiencing a medical emergency, immediately call your local emergency resources. Users should remember that the responsibility for anyone else’s safety is not on you alone; others are available to help. You do not have to engage in these conversations if you do not feel ready to do so.

This Safety Center was developed with expert consultation from the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP).