Is someone you love thinking of killing themself?

Learn the signs of suicidal thoughts & get help before it’s too late

Elizabeth Collins


Last year my brother-in-law killed himself. I had just seen him the night before & I had no idea that he was that severely depressed. I knew he was upset because the day before he & my sister’s house had burned down. (I wrote about that in detail here:

All of their friends were pitching in with clothing, food, money, and offers for a place to stay, and my sister seemed to be handling things well.

When I first saw him that night, I hugged him. We didn’t normally hug, but I felt it was the only way to express my sympathy about the loss of their home. I will always be glad that I did. He seemed like his usual self — talkative & friendly, so I thought he was okay.

I’ll never forget how I felt when my sister called the next morning & told me he shot himself. I wondered if he was dead but I was afraid to ask. Maybe he was injured but not dead. Did he accidentally shoot himself? As she explained to me, I realized that he was dead. There was no letter, but he had made a few calls first, one of them to 911. The security camera at his business had recorded it, so there was no doubt it was suicide.

Photo by Andrew Gook on Unsplash

As the day went on, I thought about everything he said the night before, looking for a clue that I missed. I thought about what I said to him and wondered if any of it was the wrong thing to say. I was so sad, yet numb. I knew how he felt because I had tried to kill myself before.

After that day, I tried to reconcile my attempts at suicide with how I felt about not being able to help him. I read a lot of information about preventing suicide. I decided to write “How to Help a Loved One who is Depressed” to help others in similar situations. It’s one of my most popular posts. (

Since then, though, I’ve wondered if what I wrote was too rambling. I’ve thought someday I should write a more step-by-step version.

Then a few months ago the brother of one of my oldest friends hung himself. They knew he had been depressed since…



Elizabeth Collins

Health, psychology, current events, politics, cats, tech… Suicide prevention & mental health are extra important to me. Stereotypes fall when we talk openly.