What should I do if I am worried about somebody else's child?

If you have knowledge that someone else's child may be at risk for suicide or harming him/herself, speak with that child's parent immediately.  You could save the child's life or, at least, provide support to another parent who is very worried.

What to say:

You must assume that parents of a child at risk would want you to communicate this information. It is important to report your direct observations and give information without value judgments or diagnoses. Share with the parents that you are worried and feel the need to speak with them.

Some words to begin a conversation:

  • "I have something difficult to tell you but I believe that I must."
  • "I do not know what this means exactly but I want to tell you that I have observed your child saying/doing …… and I thought I must tell you."
  • "How is John doing?  I noticed that he was saying…..doing……."
  • "I imagine you are aware and concerned, I noticed that John was …."

When your child tells you about someone he/she is worried about:

  • Ask for as much specific information as he/she is able to give.
  • Make a plan to inform the parent of the other child. Explain to your child with the understanding that you would rather him/her have an angry friend than a friend who killed or hurt him/herself.
  • Do not let your child implement a plan to help a friend by him/herself. You can work together if your child wants to be included.
  • For Wellesley Public School students, if you do not know the parents or need advice, you can call a school counselor or the Director of Guidance at the High School.


Hurting yourself is NEVER the answer. There is help available…talk to someone now

For immediate help call

Riverside Emergency Services

Newton Wellesley Hospital

Samariteen Hotline
1-800-252-TEEN (8336)

Samaritan Helpline
1-877-870-HOPE (4673)

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
1-800-273-TALK (8255)