World Suicide Prevention Day – Sunday 10 September
This Sunday, 10 September is World Suicide Prevention Day, a day that raises awareness of suicide and promotes action aimed at reducing the number of suicides and suicide attempts globally.
Suicidal feelings can mean having abstract thoughts about ending your life or feeling that people would be better off without you. Or it can mean thinking about methods of suicide or making clear plans to take your own life.
If you are feeling suicidal, you might be scared or confused by these feelings. You may find the feelings overwhelming. But you are not alone. Many people think about suicide at some point in their lifetime.
Here are some organisations that offer suicide support
- Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM)
- International Association of Suicide Prevention
- Maytree Suicide Respite Centre
- National Suicide Prevention Helpline UK
- Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide (SOBS)
How to help someone who may be experiencing suicidal thoughts
If someone does open up about their mental health, we know it might not always feel easy to know what to say. Here are some tips for talking to someone who may have suicidal thoughts:
- Ask open questions. These are questions that invite someone to say more than ‘yes’ or ‘no’, such as ‘How have you been feeling?’ or ‘What happened next?
- Give them time. You might feel anxious to hear their answers, but it helps if you let them take the time they need.
- Take them seriously. People who talk about suicide do sometimes act on their feelings — it’s a common myth that they don’t. It’s best to assume that they are telling the truth about feeling suicidal.
- Try not to judge. You might feel shocked, upset or frightened, but it’s important not to blame the person for how they are feeling. They may have taken a big step by telling you.
- Don’t skirt around the topic. There is still a taboo around talking about suicide which can make it even harder for people experiencing these feelings to open up and feel understood. Direct questions about suicide like ‘Are you having suicidal thoughts?’ or ‘Have you felt like you want to end your life?’ can help someone talk about how they are feeling.