Supporting someone who feels suicidal

Supporting someone who feels suicidal


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

You could:

  • Encourage them to talk about their feelings
  • Encourage them to seek treatment and support
  • Offer emotional support
  • Offer practical support
  • Help them think of ideas for self-help
  • Help them to make a support plan

See the Signs

Here are some warning signs to look out for that could indicate someone is experiencing suicidal thoughts and feelings:

  • Talking or complaining of feeling hopeless and that life is not worth living
  • Talking about feeling trapped, such as saying they can not see any way out of their current situation
  • Saying that friends and family would be better off without them.
  • Talking or writing about death, dying or suicide
  • A sudden lift in mood after a period of severe depression
  • Looking into methods or the means to end their own life
  • Putting all their affairs in order, such as sorting out possessions or making a will
  • Saying that they can hear voices telling them to end their own life


If you are worried about someone and do not know how to tackle it, there are some things you can do to help them open up: Samaritans


How to start a difficult conversation

Tips for coping right now

  • Try not to think about the future – just focus on getting through today
  • Stay away from drugs and alcohol
  • Get yourself to a safe place, like a friend’s house
  • Be around other people
  • Do something you usually enjoy, such as spending time with a pet

See more tips from Rethink here.


Worried about someone else?

If you are worried about someone, try to get them to talk to you. Ask open-ended questions like: “How do you feel about…?”

Do not worry about having the answers. Just listening to what someone has to say and taking it seriously can be more helpful.

See Samaritans’ tips on how to start a difficult conversation.

Rethink also has advice on how to support someone who is having suicidal thoughts.

Contains information from NHS Digital, licenced under the current version of the Open Government Licence.


Oxford Health and its partners are committing to supporting local whole system efforts to reducing pressures on the A&E departments at the John Radcliffe, Horton and Stoke Mandeville hospitals. If you are concerned about your or someone else’s mental health please consider using an alternative to attending A&E where possible. People who have harmed themselves and require emergency medical treatment for this should continue to use Minor Injuries Units, A&E and the ambulance service.

Oxford Health has mental health clinicians working with Police, Ambulance, 111 and A&E in order to ensure that people experiencing mental health problems who are having contact with the emergency services can access mental health support from the right service at the right time.

Together with our partners, Oxford Health are currently developing additional services to meet the needs of people experiencing a crisis with their mental health. These developments are happening in relation to our local implementation of the ‘Five Year Forward View’.

Organisations in the Oxfordshire Mental Health Partnership (OMHP) which provides services for people with severe and/or enduring mental health issues include: ·
Restore – 01865 455835,
Oxfordshire Mind – 01865 247788,
Response – 01865 397940,
Connection Support – 01865 711267,
Elmore Community Services – 01865 200130,
Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust – 01865 902600 (Warneford Reception),

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