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.

How can I support myself?

Supporting someone who feels suicidal can be emotionally draining. It's important to look after yourself too. This page has some ideas which may help.

When you are caring for someone else, you can find that you think a lot about their wellbeing and not about your own. It's important to take care of your own physical health and mental health, including getting enough sleep, eating regularly and doing things you enjoy or find relaxing.

Some people feel that they should spend all of their time and energy trying to support their loved one, or feel guilty about wanting time for themselves. It's important to remember that you are a human being with needs of your own. To be able to care for someone else, you need to take time for yourself too.

It can feel easier to take time for yourself if you make a support plan with the person you are concerned about, so you know that they have:

  • things they can do to help themselves
  • other ways of getting support

It can be hard to accept that someone close to you feels suicidal. You might feel helpless, powerless, angry, sad, shocked, frightened or a whole range of other emotions unique to your own experience - there's no right or wrong way to feel.

Some people worry that they are to blame if someone else feels suicidal, or their loved one doesn't feel better, but it's important not to blame yourself for what is happening.

If you have these sorts of worries, it could help to talk to someone about how you are feeling.

You could have all sorts of feelings while supporting someone who feels suicidal. It may help to talk about your feelings and worries, or get support from people who have had similar experiences. You could:

For more about taking care of yourself, see our information on looking after yourself and how to cope when supporting someone else. You could also create your own support plan.

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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