If you're worried that someone you know may be considering suicide, try to encourage them to talk about how they are feeling. Don’t worry about having answers. Just listening to what someone has to say and taking it seriously is the best way to help.
Asking them a direct question about whether they have thought about suicide can also make all the difference. Some people think that asking someone whether they are having suicidal thoughts will put the idea in their head. This is a MYTH. Evidence shows that asking the direct question actually opens the door and gives them permission to speak about it.
Be alert – Not everyone who thinks about suicide will tell someone, but there may be warning signs.
Be honest – Tell the person why you're worried about them, and ask about suicide. Tell them you want to know how they really are, and that it’s OK to talk about suicide.
Listen – Just listening is one of the most helpful things you can do. Try not to judge or give advice.
Get them some help – There is a range of help and useful advice available.
Take care of yourself – You may find it helpful to discuss your feelings with another friend, or a confidential service.
These will show up differently in different people and often are not easy to spot. Such as a cheeriness which may seem fake to you. Or they may joke about their emotions. Such as saying something quite alarming that is disguised as a joke.
Don’t ignore your gut feeling if you are concerned about someone. If you have a feeling that someone you know isn’t behaving as they normally would – they seem out of sorts - then it’s okay to trust and act on these thoughts. Some people won’t be open about how they are feeling.
Many people also try to seek help before attempting suicide by telling other people about their feelings. If someone tells you about how they are feeling don’t ignore them.
A person may be more likely to attempt suicide if they are:
You may feel uncomfortable talking about suicidal feelings. You may not know what to say. This is entirely normal and understandable.
Remember that you don’t need to find an answer, or even to fully understand why they feel the way they do. Listening to what they have to say will at least let them know you care.
Ask them directly:
It is better to address the person’s feelings directly rather than avoiding the issue. Asking about suicide won’t make it more likely to happen.
The Sussex Mental Healthline is a 24-hour NHS mental Healthline service, available to anyone concerned about their own mental health or that of a relative or friend. A trained and experienced team is on hand ready to listen and offer urgent mental health support, 24 hours a day, seven days a week
Telephone: 0800 0309 500
is a charity that helps people affected by mental health issues and illness to improve their lives. They provide a wide range of services including very useful and practical guidance on how to support someone that is having suicidal thoughts. You can access the guidance here.
is a national charity that offers emotional support, advice and information to men who are feeling suicidal and their families. They also provide useful guidance about what to do if you are worried about someone.
provides free and impartial money advice including: advice and guides to help improve finances; tools and calculators to help keep track and plan ahead; support over the phone and online.
is a 24/7 UK crisis text service available for times when people feel they need immediate support. A trained Crisis Volunteer who will chat via text. The service is designed to help individuals to think more clearly and to take their next steps to feeling better. They can help with urgent issues such as: suicidal thoughts, abuse or assault, self-harm, bullying, and relationship challenges.
is a national charity that offers emotional support for people who are distressed. They are available day or night, for anyone who’s struggling to cope, who needs someone to listen without judgement or pressure. They also provide useful guidance about what to do if you are worried about someone.
is an alliance of organisations working together to enable people with mental health support needs, and their carers, to improve their mental health and wellbeing. They provide a range of services to support people with their mental health and wellbeing in Adur, Bognor, Chichester, Crawley, Horsham, Littlehampton, Midhurst, Mid Sussex and Worthing.
is a network of local services committed to supporting good mental health and wellbeing in Brighton and Hove. If you need support, or know somebody that does, you can call and them and they will help you navigate and access services.
is a rapid assessment service providing an urgent response service to the people of Brighton & Hove when they feel they are in a mental health crisis and are at immediate risk of harming themselves or others.
Referrals can come from individuals themselves or anyone concerned about someone experiencing a mental health crisis. This includes carers, health professionals and the police.
The service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
is a locally funded charity that offers a wide range of practical information, advice and services to support local people deal with mental health issues.
provides a comprehensive list and information about the local support available to people in need of mental health support living in East Sussex.
has information about mental health issues and how to get help and support.
is a locally funded charity that offers a wide range of practical information, advice and services to support local people deal with mental health issues. They are open 5 days a week, 9am to 5pm
can help give advice about debt and money issues.
provides links to a range of local and national sources of advice.
is a local charity providing support to help people manage their money.
is a mental health service run by and for lesbians, gay, bisexual, trans and queer people with experience of mental health issues. They work to improve the mental health and wellbeing of LGBTQ communities and to make mental health a community concern. If you need support can speak to a MindOut member of staff and/or use their Online Support service. Peer support groups, peer mentoring and counselling are available online and by telephone.