Explains how to support someone who feels suicidal, giving practical suggestions for what you can do and where you can go for support.
Suicidal feelings can range from being preoccupied by abstract thoughts about ending your life or feeling that people would be better off without you, to thinking about methods of suicide or making clear plans to take your own life. (See our information on suicidal feelings.)
"I wish other people would understand that I don't want these feelings, I didn't ask for these feelings and I want them to go away, but it isn't that simple."
Anyone can have suicidal feelings, whatever their background or situation in life. Suicidal feelings have a wide range of possible causes. (See our information on suicidal feelings for more about possible causes.) They can be a symptom of an existing mental health problem or episode of mental distress, or sometimes a side effect of psychiatric or other medication. When someone is feeling suicidal it is important to be aware of any medications they are taking which might be causing or aggravating these feelings.
To find out more about side effects of specific medications talk to your GP or contact NHS direct on 111 (for England) or 0845 46 47 (for Wales).
"I try and explain to my friends that it's like there is a huge, thick, black cloud following you around. It doesn't matter what you're doing, how good your life appears or how 'ok' you seem."
Some people can say why they feel suicidal, but in other instances there may not be a clear reason, or they may be unable to talk about what they are feeling or experiencing.
If someone feels suicidal, their feelings may become more intense if they:
"My own thoughts are driven by the desire to want this pain and suffering that I feel inside to cease. I feel my husband and children are better off without me. I feel worthless and undeserving of their love and affection. I don't see the person they do."
Studies show that some groups experience higher rates of suicide than others. Statistics show that men, for example, and people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans or queer (LGBTQ) are more likely to take their own lives. People can also be more vulnerable to suicide if:
This information was published in January 2017. We will revise it in 2020.
References are available on request. If you would like to reproduce any of this information, see our page on permissions and licensing.