How Do I know If Someone Is Suicidal?
We know that talking about suicide is a nerve-wracking thing to do – for the person who is suicidal and for anyone who may be concerned about them.
If you are asking a loved one, family member or friend if they are suicidal, it can be distressing to learn that they feel this way and it can difficult to take in.
Lots of people we come across worry that asking and talking about suicide will make suicide more likely to happen – THIS is really NOT the case at all. Asking a direct question that requires a yes or no answer will ensure that there is no confusion and that the person will understand you are asking them about suicide and nothing else, no cross wires.
Potentially, sharing these feelings with someone for the first time may give this person a huge sense of relief. For many years, people have believed that asking about suicide could put the idea of suicide into someone’s head. – Again THIS is really NOT the case at all, If someone is thinking of suicide, they’re already thinking about suicide. It’s not always easy to know if someone is suicidal. After all, we cannot read other people’s minds to truly understand how they are feeling in any given moment.
Sometimes though, there may be signs that a person is feeling suicidal; some signs are more obvious than others and some can be quite subtle. After all, some people may not have the skills, confidence or language to describe how they feel. Therefore, we might need to pay a little more attention than usual. Alternatively, some people may be more comfortable directly expressing their thoughts of suicide which will allow us to explore them further.
At this point I hear you speaking to your screen saying HELP me, what might the signs be?
People thinking about suicide often invite us to ask directly if suicide has become an option for them.
Trust us when we say that there is no exhaustive list of ‘invitations’ but changes in behaviour (loss of interest/withdrawal, giving away possessions), physical indicators (weight loss, lack of interest in appearance), expressing thoughts or feelings (Hopeless, sad, guilty, worthless) and the words/language being used (“I can’t take it anymore”, “Everyone would be better off without me”) could all be indicators that someone is experiencing thoughts of suicide.
The most important thing to do to ascertain if someone is struggling with thoughts of suicide is to ASK!
Where Can I Get Help?
Talking about our fears and feelings is really difficult – even to those we know and love. This can and does prevent other people from recognising distress and being able to help in crisis. Words are sometimes inadequate to convey the amount of pain a person may be suffering right now. It is easy to understand that someone is hurting if they have been badly injured or are physically ill. Emotional pain cannot be seen, so makes it a lot harder, but it can be as unbearable.
Who can I tell?
It is a really brave to step to open up and talk about thoughts of suicide. Have a think about who is in your life right now who you feel may be able to support you? There is a list below of some ideas of people who could support you
- Your parents or partner
- Your GP
- A teacher
- A youth worker or counsellor
- Your friends or other family members
- Support services and helplines
What do I say?
We know that when asking for help, it can be scary to think about what to say or even how to say it. Planning what you’re going to say and when you’re going to say it can help with this.
- Speak to an advisor at HOPELINEUK for advice
- Download our letter template as talking face to face can be difficult
What help is available?
We know its hard imagining what type of help or support you can access if you are feeling suicidal. as the help available can vary depending on where you live. Support might include:
- Talking therapies such as counselling or cognitive behavioural therapy
- Community Mental Health support
- Crisis services and sanctuaries
- Peer support
- Local crisis lines and national helplines:
Phone – 116 123 (free phone, available 24 hours)
Email – firstname.lastname@example.org
Web – www.samaritans.org
Phone – 0300 123 3393 (not 24 hours)
Text – 86463
Web – www.mind.org.uk
If you need medical help but it is not an emergency
Quay House, The Riverside Centre, The Quay, Newport PO30 2QR
Tel: 0330 008 3886