There may be signs to look out for, but we humans are good at masking our feelings so that's why it's important we raise awareness in our communities.
Signs of Suicide
In real life there are the ones you’ll maybe know:
But there are also subtle ones too:
But remember, sometimes you’ll see none of the above. So if you ever suspect someone is struggling, trust your gut and reach out to them.
The Words: How to start a conversation
Let them know you’re there. Don’t worry about finding the perfect words – there’s no right or wrong, just let them know they have your support.
Yeah, it might be awkward at first but it could also be the most important conversation you ever have - and we’ve got loads of practical tips to help.
The Support: Where to direct them if they’re struggling
You don’t have to have all the answers. If someone is struggling, the best thing to do is let them know they can always speak to an expert and that support is available right now if they need it.
Our advice is that if you have tried a service and it just wasn't for you, try another and another and another...
If you're feeling like you can't see a reason to keep safe or are having thoughts of wanting to die, it's important to tell someone.
Help and support is available right now if you need it. You do not have to struggle with difficult feelings alone.
These free helplines are there to help when you're feeling down or desperate.
Unless it says otherwise, they're open 24 hours a day, every day.
You can also call these helplines for advice if you’re worried about someone else.
Childline – for children and young people under 19
Call 0800 1111 – the number will not show up on your phone bill
YoungMinds Parents Helpline: 0808 802 5544
Helpline: 0808 808 4994
If you do not want to talk to someone over the phone, this text line is open 24 hours a day, every day.
Shout Crisis Text Line – for everyone
Text "SHOUT" to 85258
Kooth.com is an online counselling service that provides vulnerable young people, between the ages of 11 and 25, with advice and support for emotional or mental health problems. Kooth.com offers users a free, confidential, safe and anonymous way to access help.
Let family or friends know what's going on for you. They may be able to offer support and help keep you safe.
There's no right or wrong way to talk about suicidal feelings – starting the conversation is what's important.
If you find it difficult to talk to someone you know, you could:
If you have seriously harmed yourself – for example, by taking a drug overdose – or you feel that you may be about to harm yourself, call 999 for an ambulance or go straight to A&E.
Or ask someone else to call 999 or take you to A&E.
If you're worried about someone, try to get them to talk to you. Ask open-ended questions like: "How do you feel about...?"
Do not worry about having the answers. Just listening to what someone has to say and taking it seriously can be more helpful.
Violet Projects Top Eight tips to talking about mental health
Sometimes it will seem obvious when someone is going through a hard time because they are talking about it, they may cry, get angry etc. Sometimes the signs are not as obvious because the person may be withdrawn, quiet and stops replying to texts or cancels plans. Either way we need to check in with them and see how we can support them. Here is some advice:
1. Set time aside with no distractions
It is important to provide an open and non-judgmental space with no distractions. Maybe a coffee or walk away from loud noise and lots of people.
2. Let them share as much or as little as they want to
Let them lead the discussion at their own pace. Don’t put pressure on them to tell you anything they aren’t ready to talk about. Talking can take a lot of trust and courage. You might be the first person they have been able to talk to about this.
3. Don't try to diagnose or second guess their feelings
You probably aren’t a medical expert and, while you may be happy to talk and offer support, you aren’t a trained counsellor. Try not to make assumptions about what is wrong or jump in too quickly with fixing things. You won’t be able to ‘fix’ their problems and it’s important that you realise that. Yes, you can offer advice around services that can support them, ie abuse, drug, debt organisations etc.
4. Keep questions open ended
Say "Why don’t you tell me how you are feeling?" rather than "I can see you are feeling very low". Try to keep your language neutral.
Give the person time to answer and try not to grill them with too many questions.
5. Talk about self-care
Talk about ways of de-stressing or practicing self-care and ask if they find anything helpful. Exercising, having a healthy diet and getting a good night’s sleep can help protect mental health and sustain well being. We sometimes forget how this can have such a huge impact on our well being.
6. Listen carefully to what they tell you
Repeat what they have said back to them to ensure you have understood it. You don’t have to agree with what they are saying, but by showing you understand how they feel, you are letting them know you respect their feelings. Acknowledge what they have said and support “I'm really sorry you're going through this” “That sounds really difficult.”
7. Offer them help in seeking professional support and provide information on ways to do this
Ask them “What can I do to help?" You might want to offer to go the GP with them, or calling a support line or even help them talk to a friend or family member. You could also go along and support them with the first contact with services relating to their needs, ie abuse, drug, debt organisations etc. Try not to take control and allow them to make decisions.
8. Know your limits
You will have your own limits to the support that you can provide. And it's important to take care of yourself too. Give yourself time to rest and process what they have told you or what’s happened. Try to help them create a support network of other friends, relatives and mental health professionals who can help them too.
Remember that If you believe they are in immediate danger or they have injuries that need medical attention, you need to take urgent action to make sure they are safe. Confidentiality needs to be broken when we are talking about life and death.
If you struggle with suicidal thoughts or are supporting someone else, it may help to make a safety plan to use if you need it:
* Not everyone who Self-harms is thinking of suicide- however it is a big factor in many suicides , so we do need to acknowledge this.