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suicidal thoughts

suicidal thoughts

this resource explores what support you can get if you’re experiencing suicidal thoughts – how you can help yourself and tips for reaching out

You are not alone. If you are feeling suicidal, help is available

Samaritans (116 123) is a 24-hour anonymous service available every day of the year. If you prefer not to speak on the phone, you can email Samaritans at

PAPYRUS (0800 068 41 41) is a voluntary organisation supporting teenagers and young adults who are feeling suicidal. 

Breathing Space (0800 83 85 87) is a website and phone service for anyone experiencing low mood, depression or anxiety.

NHS 24 by dialling 111 if you feel you need to speak with a medical professional.

Content Warning: The following article discusses about suicide and could be triggering. 

If you have, or have had, thoughts about taking your own life, it’s important you ask someone for help. It may not seem like it right now, but you’re not alone and are not beyond help.  

Many people who have had suicidal thoughts say they were so overwhelmed by negative feelings that there was no other option. Examples of these feelings can be caused by being bullied or even being stressed from work. However, with support and treatment, they were able to work through these feelings to recovery. 

What are some signs that someone is suicidal? 

A change in someone’s behaviour might be a sign that they are having suicidal thoughts. These could include: 

  • Becoming anxious, irritable or confrontational 
  • Having mood swings 
  • Feelings of depression 
  • Sleeping too much or too little 
  • Preferring not to be around other people 
  • Having more problems with work or studies 
  • Saying negative things about themselves 

What can I do if I’m feeling suicidal?

Reach out

You may feel you can’t speak about how you’re feeling, but this is the first step to getting help. Try talking to someone you trust. If you don’t feel you can do this, there are helplines you can call at the top of this page.

Don’t decide today

You don’t need to act on your thoughts right now. Try to focus on just getting through today. You can always reassess how you feel tomorrow.

Use your ‘safety plan’ 

Your safety plan should include warning signs, internal coping strategies and identified friends, family and professional resources to support you. When you are feeling suicidal, follow the plan one step at a time until you are safe. 

If you need a safety plan, you can follow this guide. It takes 20-40 minutes to complete. 

Go to a safe place

This could be your bedroom, a friend’s house, or a library. Wherever you feel most comfortable in.

Be aware of your triggers

Triggers are things which make you feel worse. You may find that certain music, photos or films make you feel worse. Try to stay away from these.

Be around other people

You may find it too difficult to speak to anyone now. That’s okay. But try not to spend too much time alone. You could go to a shopping centre, gym, coffee shop or park. Being around people can help to keep you safe, even if they don’t know how you’re feeling.

Stay away from drugs and alcohol

These affect the parts of your brain that control judgement, concentration, behaviour and emotions and may make you feel worse and more likely to act on suicidal thoughts.

What should I do when someone is suicidal? 

Be alert 

Keep an eye out for subtle changes in behaviour that may signal distress such as those mentioned above. Not everyone who is struggling will openly express thoughts of suicide.

Be honest 

It’s important to approach the topic of suicide directly and openly. Express your concerns to the person you’re worried about, and don’t shy away from asking if they are considering harming themselves. Let them know that it’s okay to talk about their feelings, and that you’re there to listen and support them without judgment. 

Ask for a ‘safety plan’ 

Following the safety plan created by a person you’re supporting can help you and them to communicate what is important when feeling suicidal and establish what to do going forward. 


Sometimes, the most powerful form of support is simply being there and actively listening. Create a safe and non-judgmental space for the person to share their thoughts and feelings. Resist the urge to offer advice or solutions; instead, focus on validating their emotions and providing empathy. 

Encourage professional support 

While offering a listening ear is valuable, it’s essential to encourage the person to seek professional help. Assure them that there are trained professionals who can provide the support and guidance they need to navigate their feelings and find healthier coping mechanisms. 

Take care of yourself 

Supporting someone who is struggling with suicidal thoughts can take a toll on your own mental and emotional wellbeing. It’s crucial to prioritise your own self-care and seek support when needed. Lean on friends, family members or support services for guidance and encouragement.  

Remember that you are not alone, and it’s okay to ask for help when you need it. Taking care of yourself allows you to be a more effective source of support for others. 

contact us

Our Advice and Support Service is open Monday to Friday, 10 am to 4 pm, where advisers can signpost you to local support that most fits your needs, including our Change Mental Health services. We offer initial advice on money worries and help to deal with emergencies.

Contact 0808 8010 515, email us at or fill out the enquiry form on the Advice and Support Service page.

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