If someone opens up to you, respect their story!
If someone shares with you that they’re not feeling well, it’s important that you listen to what they’re saying tactfully and with great respect. What someone is feeling on the inside is not be taken lightly. Even if what you hear may not seem very heavy to you, it probably does to the person you’re talking to. Your perceptions of the situation are most likely very different. Your part in making the conversation comfortable and your way of responding to what you what hear matter a great deal.
If you hear something that you don’t know how to respond to or handle, ask:
What would you like me to do with the information you have given me?
I want to help you in a way that you are okay with, so what would you like me to do?
This is clearly a sensitive subject for you. How do I best handle it?
Try to accommodate the person’s wishes as far as possible. You have probably helped move things forward simply by being there. However, there is something you must never, ever do! And that’s agreeing to keep quiet about what might be suicidal thoughts. Such agreements must never be made. If, for any reason, this is uncomfortable or outside your social context, translate what you just heard into: I feel like I can’t breathe much longer.
What would you do then?