for better mental health

Supporting someone who feels suicidal

Explains how to support someone who feels suicidal, giving practical suggestions for what you can do and where you can go for support.

What to do in an emergency

If someone has attempted suicide, call 999 and stay with them until the ambulance arrives.

If you're worried that someone is at immediate risk of taking their own life, you should do the following if you feel able:

  • you should remove anything the person could use to harm themselves
  • stay with them
  • get emergency help.

See our page on helping someone else to seek help to find different ways to get help in an emergency. 

What if someone I know feels suicidal?

It can be very distressing if you are worried about someone who feels suicidal. They may have talked about wanting to end their life, or you may be concerned that they are thinking about it.

You might feel unsure of what to do, but there are lots of things that might help. You could:

"The main aspect of supporting someone through this is compassion, listening and most importantly not over-reacting or becoming upset. Remaining calm and talking the situation through is extremely important."

It may also be helpful to remove things that someone could use to harm themselves, particularly if they have mentioned specific things they might use.

For more information on encouraging someone to seek treatment for suicidal feelings, see our information on supporting someone else to seek treatment.

"It has helped me to have someone who loves me who accepts that I am feeling what I am feeling, and yet choose to remain with me quietly and encourage, but not force me, to have a sip of water or a bite of something, or go for a walk with them, etc."

This information was published in July 2020. We will revise it in 2023.

References are available on request. If you would like to reproduce any of this information, see our page on permissions and licensing.

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