If you’re worried about someone

Support for anyone in the Dudley Borough who is concerned that someone they know may be having suicidal thoughts.

How to talk about suicide

Useful tips for more effective conversations about suicide

If you’re concerned that somebody close to you might be contemplating suicide, it’s important that you intervene in some way. This can mean starting a conversation with them about their feelings or showing them resources that can offer support. Be prepared to listen without judgment as their sentiments may shock or worry you.

Opening a dialogue with somebody about suicide can be a difficult conversation to have and is one which you’ll need to prepare for. These tips will give you an idea of what you need to have in mind when you plan your conversation.

Choose a suitable environment

The location where you decide to voice your concerns matters. You want this person to feel safe, relaxed and comfortable. Think about having your conversation in a familiar space as this might give them the comfort to really open up.

This space doesn’t have to be a private area. It can be anywhere that the person feels most comfortable, like a park bench or their local café.

Get them talking

In order to fully understand their feelings, and why they feel the way that they do, you need to get them talking.

  • Try to initiate the conversation by stating your worries, and why you have them
  • Ask open-ended questions like ‘How long has this been going on for?’, giving them an opportunity to open up
  • Maintain eye contact, and offer reassurance to show that you are listening carefully

This will get the conversation off the ground and give it room to flow.

Listen carefully

The purpose of your conversation is to show this person that you want to help, but more importantly, that you care. It’s important that a person experiencing suicidal thoughts feels understood and cared for.

It may be difficult for this person to explain or describe their feelings, so be open-minded and patient. Don’t interrupt them or ask questions when they’re talking. Allow them time to put their feelings into words and let them drive the conversation.

Ask about suicide

It’s important to ask whether they have had suicidal thoughts, as it will help you to understand the severity of their feelings. It may sound daunting, but as the conversation develops and you both become more comfortable, this question should be easier to ask.

  • Ask in a non-judgmental way whether they have thought about suicide and prepare yourself for their answer
  • Reassure them that lots of people think about suicide and that it’s OK not to feel OK
  • If they say that they have contemplated suicide, then ask if they have made any plans to carry it out. It’s important that you understand where they are in their struggle
  • If you are concerned that the person might take their life imminently, then contact the emergency services immediately
Learn more about suicide
Samaritans

This guide on how to talk about suicide by Samaritans is easy to digest and remember.


PAPYRUS

PAPYRUS, a national charity dedicated to the prevention of young suicide, highlight how we should approach conversations about suicide.


Mind

Mind discuss how we should approach conversations about suicide with people that we're worried about.


Share the right support

Useful resources for someone who is thinking about suicide

If you’re concerned that somebody close to you might be thinking about suicide, try to get them to talk to you about their thoughts and how they feel. Suicide is a very sensitive topic, so make sure that you prepare for your conversation with our tips above on how to talk about suicide.

Below is a list of useful resources where you can learn more about suicide. They also offer support and advice for those who are struggling with suicidal thoughts. If you feel comfortable in doing so you can share these resources with the person you're concerned about.

Learn more about suicide
Samaritans

Through their 201 branches across the UK and Republic of Ireland, Samaritans provide support for anyone who needs it.


PAPYRUS

PAPYRUS is the national charity dedicated to the prevention of young suicide.


CALM

The Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) is an award-winning charity dedicated to preventing male suicide.


Stamp Out Suicide

Stamp Out Suicide have a free phone line counselling service that is accessible to anyone in the UK in need of support.


Suicide warning signs

How to identify if someone around you might be having suicidal thoughts

Identifying whether somebody is having suicidal thoughts is complex, as people react differently to situations and pressures. Also, there isn’t a clear path to suicide. Some people who experience suicidal thoughts may take their life after months, some after days and most never do. This makes it difficult to identify how close a person might be to taking their own life.

This is why it’s important to learn about the warning signs and reach out to the people that you’re concerned about. These warning signs can be found in a person’s behaviour, their mood and the kinds of things they bring up in conversation. Be vigilant of these warning signs, especially if they are out of character.

Behaviour

Recklessness

Those experiencing suicidal thoughts often feel like they don’t want to live the life they have, and don’t care whether they live or die. This leads them to act recklessly, without care or caution.

Isolation

A common feeling amongst those experiencing suicidal thoughts is that they don’t have a place in society and are worthless. This may cause them to draw back from their families and social groups, becoming increasingly difficult to contact.

Withdrawing from activities

Contemplating suicide can leave a person feeling worthless, useless and caring less about their life. This may result in that person being unable to enjoy activities they once cared about.

Mood

Rage

A person contemplating suicide may feel like they have nothing to live for or be happy about. Because of this, they may exhibit sudden mood swings and fits of rage.

Anxiety

Most people experience anxiety throughout their lives, so be vigilant and try to differentiate between general worries and a symptom of suicidal thoughts. Drawing back from activities they once enjoyed and isolation from friends are signs of anxiety that may be linked to suicidal thoughts.

Loss of interest

A person may become uninterested in things that were once important. These may be as rudimental as personal hygiene, diet and sleep, as well as sporting activities, spending time with friends or even general conversation.

Conversation

Feeling trapped

Someone who is experiencing suicidal thoughts may feel like they are under pressure or trapped and can’t see a way out.

Being a burden

A feeling of worthlessness is a symptom of someone who may be experiencing suicidal thoughts. They may draw back from family and friends or apologise for their presence due to feeling useless or futile.

Talking about ending their life

This might not be in the form of an obvious confession, but rather as a passing comment. A person may bring up this topic, justifying their comments as hypothetical.

What to do next

If you’re concerned that somebody close to you is exhibiting these warning signs, it’s important that you intervene.

Talking about suicide is a complex issue and requires preparation. Find out how to start a conversation about suicide below.

To prepare you for a conversation about suicide and suicidal thoughts, Zero Suicide Alliance offer a free 20-minute online suicide prevention training course.

Learn more about suicide
Zero Suicide Alliance

By offering FREE suicide prevention training which is accessible to all, the alliance is committed to improving support and awareness for people contemplating suicide.


Samaritans

Through their 201 branches across the UK and Republic of Ireland, Samaritans provide support for anyone who needs it.


PAPYRUS

PAPYRUS is the national charity dedicated to the prevention of young suicide.


CALM

The Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) is an award-winning charity dedicated to preventing male suicide.