Positive Steps Forward in Suicide Prevention

Suicidal, Concerned About Suicide or Bereaved by Suicide?

Need to talk? Call Samaritans free on 116 123 (UK and ROI)

www.stampoutsuicide.org.uk has been online for many years. This is only a website and is not linked to other people, groups or organisations etc called Stamp Out Suicide. If you want to support a suicide prevention charity Samaritans have branches across the UK and Ireland and Befrienders Worldwide operate around the globe.


A page with information on suicide awareness and prevention, warning signs associated with suicide and what to do if you think someone may be suicidal. Sections also cover ‘Are you feeling suicidal?‘, ‘Support for people bereaved by suicide‘ and ‘Suicide: Frequently asked questions’. So go on, read on…

Suicide awareness and prevention

“Why the emphasis on suicide prevention? Because once a suicide is completed, very sadly, there is no cure…Therefore, we must try to prevent suicide…”

Why do people kill themselves? There is no single answer, but a common theme appears to be the need to put an end to intense emotional pain. The cause, or more usually causes, that lead to such pain can vary greatly between individuals. Unfortunately, people on the verge of suicide are often so distressed they are not able to see other alternatives. What is more, we all have the potential to become suicidal.

Warning signs associated with suicide

Sometimes suicide can occur without warning but most people who are suicidal do give warnings. Please note, the warning signs listed below can also be symptomatic of other conditions and do not necessarily mean a person is suicidal but these are some of the signs you should be aware of. Moreover, the more signs displayed the greater the risk.

  • History of suicide attempts
  • Talk of, or preoccupation with, death or dying
  • Showing signs of depression
  • Self-harming
  • Loss of interest in daily life or hobbies
  • Loss of interest in self and others
  • Loss of interest in school or work
  • Changes in sleeping pattern
  • Changes in appetite and/or weight
  • Putting ‘things’ in order. For example, sorting out personal possessions, making a will or attending to unfinished business
  • Substance and/or alcohol abuse
  • Unexpected changes in mood and/or behaviour
  • Suffering a recent loss. For example, due to the death of a loved one, breakdown of a relationship or perhaps the loss of a job

If you think someone may be suicidal…

It is important to remember that the majority of people who feel suicidal want to be helped and we can all try to help. A starting point might be to recognise that the stigma associated with suicide presents a large barrier to giving, and asking for, help. Many of us feel uncomfortable about raising sensitive issues or addressing emotional concerns and we sometimes find it easier to let things go, rather than try to deal with them. Why? Fear of embarrassment, worries about saying the wrong thing or not knowing what to say or do are just some of the things that prevent us from tackling sensitive issues. Moreover, given that people do not feel comfortable talking about death and because there is a stigma associated with suicide, people who are suicidal may withhold their feelings and not seek help. This presents a major problem. However, trying to put our fears to one side, focusing on the individual in distress and showing genuine concern are the things that really matter. By showing support, we hope it will help reduce the stigma associated with suicide and encourage more people who may be feeling suicidal to seek help.

Why not try the steps below?

  • Try to remain calm
  • Ask the person how they are feeling and don’t be afraid to ask if they are feeling suicidal
  • Actively show the person that you are listening to them
  • Take what they are saying to you seriously
  • Do not make judgements. What they are feeling is their unique experience and you should refrain from giving your opinions or views
  • Let the person know that you want to help
  • Try to remove the things they could use to harm themselves or make a suicide attempt with
  • Try not to leave the person on their own if they are actively suicidal
  • Seek professional advice as soon as possible


Are you feeling suicidal?

“Some people dwell on the past, some plan for the future and others will struggle to get through today…”

Feeling suicidal at this time? We know it’s a very, very difficult, painful and emotional time and you may feel alone but please try to remember that feelings do change, time does pass and so you’ll not always feel like this. All we ask is that you please keep yourself safe and contact your doctor or seek help immediately. Why not talk to someone you trust or make contact with a relevant organisation? Talking really can help. There are people and organisations that want to help and support you. Please take the time to look at the list below and make contact with one of these organisations or agencies.

Contacts and support for those who are suicidal

Note: The links are provided as a convenience only and should not be taken as an endorsement of any website, content, product or service. Visits to linked websites are at your own risk.

www.befrienders.org: Befrienders Worldwide provide emotional support for people in distress and have suicide helplines in many different countries around the world.

www.papyrus-uk.org: PAPYRUS offer resources and support for those dealing with suicide, depression or emotional distress – particularly teenagers and young adults.

www.samaritans.org.uk: Samaritans offer 24-hour support for people in distress or despair, including those feeling suicidal. They have branches all over the UK and Ireland and most branches are able to offer services via telephone, email, letter and face to face.

www.supportline.org.uk: offer confidential emotional support to children, young adults and adults by telephone, email and post. The ‘problems’ section has an A-Z of problems people can experience.

We sincerely hope that before reaching this sentence you have made a call for help – if you haven’t please do. At the very least, take some time to read this.


Support for people bereaved by suicide

“Remember, although we may feel alone, it is a feeling experienced by many, many people at any given time and so in this sense we are never alone…”

Being bereaved by suicide affects people in different ways. It is not our place to tell you how you should feel, you know how you feel. What we can tell you is that you are not alone because, very sadly, many others have lost a loved one, or loved ones, to suicide. There are organisations you can contact that will provide help and support.

Contacts and support for people bereaved by suicide

Note: The links are provided as a convenience only and should not be taken as an endorsement of any website, content, product or service. Visits to linked websites are at your own risk.

https://bereavementadvice.org  The Bereavement Advice Centre offers help on a range of issues.  For example, from registering the death and finding a funeral director through to probate, tax and benefit queries.

www.cruse.org.uk: Cruse Bereavement Care is concerned with the well-being of the bereaved. They provide support and advice so that anyone dealing with bereavement can understand their grief and cope with their loss.

www.rd4u.org.uk: a website designed by young people for young people. RD4U means The Road for You. Have you been bereaved by suicide? If you are a young person this website will give you the chance to share experiences, thoughts and feelings.

https://uksobs.org: Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide exists to meet the needs and break the isolation of those bereaved by the suicide of a close relative or friend.


Suicide: Frequently asked questions

“Let’s dispel the myths and get to grips with the reality of suicide…”

Unfortunately, suicide and the issues surrounding it are often misunderstood. This has resulted in a number of ‘suicide myths.’ We will attempt to dispel some of these myths by answering some frequently asked questions.

Q: If a person becomes suicidal will they remain so?
A: No, the feelings will subside and possibly return but people can also experience an isolated instance of feeling suicidal and never experience such a feeling again.

Q: Are all suicides preventable?
A: Most suicides are preventable. We encourage people to learn about the warning signs associated with suicide, so they can become more suicide aware and play a part in suicide prevention.

Q: Do suicidal people really want to die?
A: The majority of people who are suicidal want help – they are just desperate to end their pain and think killing themselves will achieve this.

Q: Is it true that those who talk about suicide won’t actually do it?
A: No, talk of suicide or showing signs associated with suicidal thoughts or intent are common in those that go on to kill themselves. You should always take comments and references made in relation to suicide seriously.

Q: Do people who are suicidal always give warnings?
A: Most, but not all, do. Warning signs can include talk of suicide and/or clues can be found in behaviour.

Q: If a suicidal person appears to feel better, are they no longer suicidal?
A: Not necessarily. A person who is suicidal may suddenly appear happier or more content. However, this can sometimes be because they have made the decision to end their life and believe they will soon be free from pain and suffering.

Q: Will talking about suicide put the idea into someone’s head?
A: No, in fact talking about suicide may actually help because if a person is suicidal it will provide them with the opportunity to talk about how they are feeling and it opens the pathways to help.

Q: Is suicide a selfish act?                                                                                                                           

A: Suicide can occur when psychological or emotional pain far outweigh the ability to cope and it is an act of desperation, rather than selfishness. People who are suicidal are in deep pain and the depth of this pain can be difficult for others to comprehend.

Suicidal or Bereaved by Suicide? Please don’t try to cope alone