High-risk warning signs

  • threaten to hurt or kill themselves

  • talk or write about death, dying or suicide

  • actively look for ways to kill themselves, such as stockpiling tablet

Other warning signs:

  • lacking energy or appearing particularly tired
  • complain of feelings of hopelessness
  • have episodes of sudden rage and anger
  • act recklessly and engage in risky activities with an apparent lack of concern about the consequences
  • not wanting to talk or be with people, not wanting to do things they usually enjoy,, become withdrawn
  • a change in routine, such as sleeping or eating more or less than normal
  • talk about feeling trapped, such as saying they can’t see any way out of their current situation
  • self-harm – including misusing drugs or alcohol, or using more than they usually do
  • using alcohol or drugs to cope with feelings
  • finding it hard to cope with everyday things
  • say things such as ‘You wouldn’t believe what I’ve been through’ or ‘It’s like the whole world is against me’, ‘no one loves me’, or ‘I’m a waste of space’

If you notice any of these warning signs in a friend, relative or loved one, encourage them to talk about how they are feeling. Also share your concerns with your GP or a member of their care team, if they are being treated for a mental health condition.

Helplines and support groups

We know it can be difficult to pick up the phone, but reach out to somebody and let them know how you are feeling.

  • Samaritans (116 123) operates a 24-hour service available every day of the year. If you prefer to write down how you’re feeling, or if you’re worried about being overheard on the phone, you can email Samaritans at jo@samaritans.org.
  • Childline (0800 1111) runs a helpline for children and young people in the UK. Calls are free and the number won’t show up on your phone bill.
  • PAPYRUS (0800 068 41 41) is a voluntary organisation supporting teenagers and young adults who are feeling suicidal.
  • Depression Alliance is a charity for people with depression. It doesn’t have a helpline, but offers a wide range of useful resources and links to other relevant information.
  • Students Against Depression is a website for students who are depressed, have a low mood or are having suicidal thoughts.
  • Bullying UK is a website for both children and adults affected by bullying.