Ways to Reach Out

It’s simple, really. You almost don’t have to do much more than you already do. Here you will find a list of ideas of things to do with someone you care about and different ideas on how to reach out to them. These little things and the conversations that can come out of them can make a huge difference. The transition from feeling alone and depressed toward feeling connected and cared about doesn’t have to be a difficult journey. Here are some ideas to get you started.

  • Make a random phone call to a friend you haven’t talked to in a while. Ask how things have been going.
  • Invite a friend out for coffee, lunch, or maybe a hike. Make it an activity that allows you to talk a bit and catch up.
  • Trust your instincts. If you feel like something is wrong, don’t be afraid to ask.
  • Be willing to listen without forcing advice. Sometimes we all just need to vent.
  • Attend a training program on suicide intervention in your community.
  • Educate yourself on where to find resources in your community so you can help someone in need.
  • Throw a surprise birthday party for someone you care about.
  • Smile at someone as you walk by.
  • Let someone you care about know how much they mean to you and how they have impacted your life.
  • Send random text message to friends to let them know you’re thinking about them. Ask how they are.
  • Make time to talk to friends after going to a movie and have a real conversation.
  • Send a card in the mail (you remember… the one that uses stamps!) to say hi, thinking of you or thank you.
  • Show interest in a friend’s hobbies and participate when possible.
  • Walk around the mall with a friend and chat about how things have been going.
  • Go to a salon together to get new hairstyles.
  • If you see someone who looks sad or worried, don’t be afraid to say hi and ask if everything’s okay.
  • Host a game night and invite people you haven’t talked to in a while.
  • Try a new sport with a friend.
  • Take your dog to a dog park either with a friend or talk to people already there. They might need to talk too.
  • Host a scrapbooking party for your friends. Allow for open conversation during the event.
  • Spread the word about Reach Out. Check In. Save a Life. so that others may become involved as well.

Most importantly, realize that everyone in this world needs positive human interaction. If you’re in a safe environment and feel safe doing so, take a risk and meet someone new. Say hi. Ask how they’re doing. Be genuine in your willingness to listen. You just might stumble upon someone who is struggling and feeling alone and that positive human interaction might make a huge difference to them; a difference that at times could be the determining factor between life and death.

Dr. Jerome Motto, who has been part of two failed suicide barrier coalitions, is now retired and living in San Mateo. When I visited him there, we spent three hours talking about the bridge. Motto had a patient who committed suicide from the Golden Gate in 1963, but the jump that affected him most occurred in the seventies. “I went to this guy’s apartment afterward with the assistant medical examiner,” he told me. “The guy was in his thirties, lived alone, pretty bare apartment. He’d written a note and left it on his bureau. It said, ‘I’m going to walk to the bridge. If one person smiles at me on the way, I will not jump.’ ”
Friend, Tad. “Jumpers.” The New Yorker 13 Oct 2003