What do I say if my friend mentions they’ve had suicidal thoughts?

If somebody does share this with you, you have to appreciate just how big a step that is.

Reassurance is key in any conversation around mental health and so your initial reaction to these words will be the foundation to how the conversation proceeds.

A simple “that is ok” or “I appreciate you telling me” can let them know that you are taking them seriously.

You can then ask them if they have or need support, whether they are suicidal right now, if they have any plans to end their lives. Don’t be scared to ask direct questions in order to understand the situation.

If their lives are in immediate danger then call the emergency services. There are now 24/7 mental health crisis teams available across England, you can find their details on the Hub of Hope.

Things you can do

  1. Offer reassurance
  2. Ask what your friend needs, and listen
  3. If your friend is in immediate danger, call the emergency services

Useful links & resources

The Samaritans samaritans.org
We’re here, day or night, for anyone who’s struggling to cope, who needs someone to listen without judgement or pressure. Samaritans is not only for the moment of crisis, we’re taking action to prevent the crisis. We give people ways to cope and the skills to be there for others. And we encourage, promote and celebrate those moments of connection between people that can save lives. We offer listening and support to people and communities in times of need.

The Hub Of Hope hubofhope.co.uk
The Hub of Hope is the UK’s leading mental health support database. It is provided by Chasing the Stigma, the national mental health charity, and brings local, national, peer, community, charity, private and NHS mental health support and services together in one place for the first time.

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