World Suicide Prevention Day (WSPD) is an awareness day observed on 10 September every year, in order to provide worldwide commitment and action to prevent suicides, with various activities around the world since 2003.

Did you know, one in four young people may struggle with thoughts of suicidal at any one time? Just take a minute to think about that. Suicide thoughts can impacted anyone and can be for all sorts of reasons. Knowing there are support services that help those who are struggling with thoughts of suicide is massively important because this shows they are not alone and lives can be saved.

Raising community awareness and breaking down the taboo is important for countries to make progress in preventing suicide.

  • Creating that hope by acting bravely and speaking openly and honestly about your thoughts of suicide.
  • Creating that hope by being the one who asks this question: “Are you having thoughts of suicide?” to that person that you are concerned about.

What to do if you are struggling with thoughts of suicide.

We know that staying isolated with your thoughts means that no one can support you, so breaking your silence around your feelings of suicide and what is causing this, is the way forward. Breaking through that stigma can help you to seek support and can help you to stay alive. Knowing what to say can be difficult so try if you can to plan what you are going to say and when you are going to say it.

Please do not struggle alone, speak to someone you trust, this could be your family, your friends or even a work colleague but if that is difficult then you could also contact those support services and helplines such as HOPELINEUK. Take a look at suicide prevention websites also, this may help you to feel connected and understood which may empower you to reach out to them for that support you deserve.

If you feel you need emergency help because your suicidal thoughts are intense then please go to your local A&E department or call the emergency services, they are there to support you.

What to look out for when someone is struggling with thoughts of suicide.

It really isn’t easy to know if someone is suicidal because we cannot read minds but the signs that we can look out for are:

  • changes in behaviour (withdrawing, loss of interest or giving away their possessions),
  • physical indicators (lack of interest in appearance or weight loss),
  • expressing thoughts or feelings (hopelessness, sadness, guilt, worthlessness),
  • particular words/language being used (“I can’t take this anymore”, Everyone would be better off without me”)

How can you help someone who is struggling with thoughts of suicide?

Having that chat about suicide can be really nerve-wracking for you and also for the person you are concerned about.

To ask the question directly means a direct answer is needed so this will ensure a clear understanding around suicide and their safety. If that person has never been asked if they are feeling suicidal before it could be a big relief to them. Recent research has indicated that asking the question can reduce the risk of them ending their life because this gives you the opportunity to explore their feelings further and support them to safety by working on how they can get support and how important it is to be honest with that support. The most important thing to do is to ASK THE QUESTION.

Here are some conversation starters that provides some examples of how to start a conversation with someone that you think may be having thoughts of suicide.

There are also a whole range of support services out there, such as:

  • Talking therapies: counselling or cognitive behavioural therapy.
  • Medication.
  • Community mental health support.
  • Crisis services and sanctuaries.
  • Peer support.
  • Self-help and online resources.
  • Local crisis lines and national helplines.
  • For help and advice resources, click here.

If the person says they are having thoughts of suicide but do not want to work on safety and have already taken steps then you will need to take them to A&E or contact 999 to get immediate support.

How do I look after myself if I have been impacted when I have supported someone struggling with thoughts of suicide?

Supporting someone who feels suicidal can be tough, it can make you feel scared, drained or even angry, so it is really important to look after yourself. There is no right or wrong way to do this but just taking time out of your day to focus on yourself rather than your loved one is really important so please look at the ideas below:

  • It is important to remember to eat well and exercise,
  • Sleep can become impacted: hearing a loved one say they are suicidal can keep you awake, so please seek medical support if your sleep is affected so you can continue to support your loved one.
  • Remember that you cannot fix all your loved one’s problems so empowering them to look at the support they need is best.
  • Staying organised and keeping on top of the things important to you.
  • Seeking support from friends and family.
  • Try to remember there is more to the person you are supporting than just their suicidal thoughts, take a bit of time to remember the many other things about them that you love and cherish.

We hope you have found this advice and guidance helpful so that you too feel empowered and able to ‘create hope through action’ in this way.

If you’re a young person struggling with thoughts of suicide, or you’re concerned for somebody who is, HOPELINEUK is here for you. Call 0800 068 4141, text 07860 039 967 or email pat@papyrus-uk.org our advisers are here to support you from 9am until midnight every single day of the year.

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