Understanding suicidal thoughts and suicide prevention
Whatever the mental or physical health diagnosis, if the person you care for has talked about suicide it’s important you take them seriously. In a crisis, help is available 24/7 from the Samaritans on 116 123. In an emergency call 999. Offering the right type of support to someone who is feeling suicidal is crucial. LivingWorks, a leading provider of suicide-alertness training, advises following the acronym TALK:
T – tell
Someone who is feeling suicidal will be telling you how they feel but perhaps not very directly so be aware of the signs and learn to read them. Do not dismiss them or trivialise them
A – ask
If you think someone is thinking of suicide always ask them. You can’t give them the idea of suicide simply by asking, and it is important that you do ask. If they say ‘no’ you haven’t lost anything, and if they say ‘yes’ you have a chance to help.
L – listen
Don’t rush them or judge. Tell them ‘this is important’. Don’t try to offer solutions, just listen. Listening stops people feeling alone, gives hope and provides emotional release.
K – keep safe
Don't promise secrecy, don’t leave someone feeling suicidal alone, keep yourself and them safe.
Most people who feel suicidal simply want to end their pain, not their life, and most people who have had suicidal thoughts and/or made a suicide attempt look back later and say they are glad to have survived and that the right intervention at the right moment made all the difference. There is nothing inevitable about suicide – it is often a question of knowing how to help and support someone through a crisis. More help is also available from:
CALM Helpline is dedicated to preventing male suicide and offering confidential emotional support for men through their helpline. Telephone: 0800 58 58 58. Calls are free from landlines and most mobiles. Webchat (5pm-midnight) www.thecalmzone.net
Grassroots suicide prevention charity: www.prevent-suicide.org.uk
Lifecraft the suicide bereavement support service is available to family and friends in the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough area who have been affected by suicide. www.lifecraft.org.uk/our-services/suicide-bereavement-support-service/
Maytree Sanctuary is open to anyone in a suicidal crisis for a one-off short stay in a safe place. The service is free and it is open to anyone in the UK and it offers a quiet place to reflect and time to talk in confidence. Telephone: 0207 263 7070. www.maytree.org.uk
Papyrus Hopeline UK is a national confidential helpline for young people at risk of suicide: www.papyrus-uk.org or telephone 0800 068 41 41.
Samaritans - call 116 123. This is a free 24-hour helpline.
STOP Suicide is an award-winning suicide prevention campaign which reaches across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, led by Cambridgeshire, Peterborough and South Lincolnshire Mind (CPSL Mind) and Lifecraft. https://stopsuicidepledge.org/
Winston’s Wish provides support for children, young people and families who have been bereaved by suicide. www.winstonswish.org
The Zero Suicide Alliance (ZSA) is a collaboration of National Health Service trusts, charities, businesses and individuals who are all committed to suicide prevention in the UK and beyond. http://www.zerosuicidealliance.com