There are times when you need help RIGHT NOW. You are not safe. You need someone to reach into your life, grab your hand and help you to safety. This is called a Mayday call. Pilots make this type of call to air traffic control when the aircraft is damaged and unable to continue to its destination. When you aren't able to continue down the road of your life, make the call. Don't hesitate. This is a matter of timing, help is needed right now.
Who to call: A trusted adult. This could be a parent, coach, teacher, therapist, hotline counselor or pastor. Friends and peers can offer lots of support too but when your safety is at stake, adults have more life experience and access to resources to help you through the crisis you're facing. If you don't have a supportive adult in your life remember you can always reach out to our hotline 800-448-3000. We are here to help 24/7.
When to call: When you are in an unsafe situation. You are thinking of hurting yourself or having thoughts of hurting others. You are being hurt or abused by someone else. You are taking risks with your health by your use of medication, drugs, or alcohol.
What to say: I need help RIGHT NOW!
How to tell them about your problem: Be specific. Just as a pilot will give the air traffic controller a detailed account of what they are seeing, hearing and feeling; you too should be giving a full description of what is going on in your life. Don't stop at I'm having a bad day or I don't feel very good. Tell your trusted adult what this means to you. See the example below:
I need help RIGHT NOW! (show the urgency of the situation)
having suicidal thoughts. (name the problem that is making you unsafe)
I am thinking of ending my life by ______________. (explain the details of the situation)
I don't think that I can be safe on my own. Clarify that this is not something that you can handle by yourself.
Accept help. Just as the pilot will need to give up the route that he was supposed to follow and detour for the safety of his crew and passengers; you may need to take a detour for a moment to get help. The more willing you are to accept help, the more effective your help will be. If you're transparent with your feelings and your circumstances, this will help your trusted adult to guide you to safety.
Mayday Call Worksheet