Worried about someone?
Its OK to talk about suicide.
It can be very upsetting if someone you know and care for feels suicidal. They may have talked directly about wanting to end their life, or you may be worried that they are thinking about it because of a change in their mood, or a recent life event that they are struggling to deal with.
Many people feel unsure of what to do, or that they might makes things worse. It is very common to fear that asking someone directly about their suicidal feelings will make things worse, or somehow put ideas into their heads. This is a myth. In the majority of situations people feel relieved to be able to talk about their suicidal thoughts.
The most important thing you can do if you are worried someone might be at risk of suicide is to ask directly and clearly – “are you having thoughts of suicide” or “are you thinking about suicide”. Let the share their fears and their feelings.
You can help, and sometimes being there and listening can be enough
There are lots of things you can do that might help. Encourage them to talk about their feelings, to seek treatment and support. Thoughts of suicide usually pass, and sometimes being listed too and feeling safe around someone else, or even just knowing you are there if needed, can be enough for someone to get through.
Encourage them to visit their GP, and accompany them if you can. There GP can be a gateway to getting more support. Offer practical support if they are struggling to manage cooking, getting out the house or other life tasks. The most important thing though is compassion and listening.
Have a look through the Staying Safe site and read the Mind guide, below, for more information on how to offer practical and emotional support.
What to do in an emergency
If someone you know is in immediate danger of seriously harming/killing themselves call 999 and state clearly that you have someone with you that is at risk of taking their own life. It often helps if you can offer any relevant information about the person. As long as you feel safe to do so, you should stay with them until an ambulance professional help arrives. It may also be helpful to remove things that someone could use to harm themselves, particularly if they have mentioned specific things they might use.
A Safety Plan is really helpful for anyone struggling with suicidal thoughts. And you can support someone you are worried about to complete one.
It’s designed to offer hope, compassion and practical ideas on how to find your own way forward. This might include distraction techniques to help someone get through the next seconds or minutes as thoughts of suicide becoming overwhelming, how you can make your immediate environment or situation safer, who you can contact when things get really tough, and what you can do in an emergency.
Information about how to make a safety plan can be found at Staying Safe. They have downloadable Safety Plan templates and an excellent range of short videos to help you understand how to make your Safety Plan effective.
You can encourage the person you are worried about to share this with those close to them, or a professionals involved in their care.
Papyrus – Help and advice for supporting young people at risk of suicide
Samaritans – Information about suicide prevention and supporting others
Mind – A wealth of information about mental health and suicide including practical support guides
MindLine Cumbria – Information about services and support across Cumbria
Our Local Support Services Guide contains information about organisations provding a variety of support across the County.
Learn Suicide Prevention Skills now.
This fantastic new online training resource from the Zero Suicide Alliance is quick and simple and for everyone. Learn about the extent and impact of suicide and how to make a difference.
20 minutes is all it takes but it could make a life changing difference
Having thoughts of suicide? Worried about keeping yourself safe? Take action now.read more
Supporting someone at risk of suicide? Concerned about someones wellbeing?read more