Around 6000 people die by suicide each year in the UK – an average of 16 per day. Many more people, about 1 in 5, will experience
suicidal thoughts at some point in their life. There are many reasons why someone can feel this way. Thankfully only a minority of people who have suicidal thoughts go on to take their lives and the right action can support them. People often just need someone to talk to.
If you’re worried that someone you know may be considering suicide, try to encourage them to talk openly about how they are feeling. Listening is the best way to help. If they’ve been diagnosed with a mental health condition, such as depression, you can speak to a member of their care team for help and advice. If you don’t have these details contact their GP or your nearest accident and emergency (A&E). We can all take positive action to help prevent suicide by looking out for the warning signs.
Here are some possible warning signs to look out for that could indicate someone is experiencing suicidal thoughts and feelings:
• Talking or complaining of feeling hopeless and that life is not worth living
• Talking about feeling trapped, such as saying they can’t see any way out of their current situation
• Saying that friends and family would be better off without them
• Talking or writing about death, dying or suicide
• A sudden lift in mood after a period of severe depression
• Looking into methods or the means to end their own life
• Putting all their affairs in order, such as sorting out possessions or making a will
• Saying that they can hear voices telling them to end their own life.
If you notice any of these warning signs in a friend, relative or loved one encourage them to talk about how they are feeling.
Getting professional help early can reduce the risk of harm but talking to friends and family can also be very helpful. If there is an immediate danger, make sure they are not left on their own.
It will not make their feelings worse or ‘give them ideas’. In fact the opposite is true. For many people it can be a huge relief to be asked the question in a direct way.
Asking someone directly may also give them a chance to open up about their feelings and help them to think about more positive options rather than suicide.
Learning that a friend or family member has suicidal thoughts can be worrying and frightening. Try to encourage them to talk. Use open questions, any question not requiring a yes or no answer e.g. how, what, where, who, when, tell me about. Focus on listening to what they’re saying and not trying to
think of solutions. Listening in a sympathetic and caring way is one of the most helpful things you can do.
Try to encourage the person to contact some of the organisations overleaf who can help to support them.
Alternatively Samaritans will contact a person in distress if they are requested to do so.
Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM)
Offers support to men in the UK, of any age, who are down or in a crisis via a helpline, webchat & website
CALM helpline (0800 58 58 58).
A local mental health charity, with a positive and holistic approach to promoting mental wellbeing.
Tel: 0300 330 0648
For further information please visit :