Preventing young suicide

Updated: 25/08/16

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You may be looking at this because you are feeling suicidal yourself, or you may know someone who feels like that.

Knowing that someone we care about is feeling suicidal can be emotionally and physically draining. It is important to look after your own health and to make time to get support and advice for yourself too.

If you feel suicidal, please get help. If you need help straight away, call 999.  Speak to your parents/carers, or to your GP. If you go to school/college, you can speak to any member of staff. You can call Point 1 on 0800 9774077 to refer yourself for support.

You are not alone: attempted suicide is far more common than most of us realise. In the UK, thousands of young people are admitted to accident and emergency departments each year because they have tried to kill themselves. Although most people who attempt suicide survive, many remain at high risk of taking their own life for quite some time afterwards. This means that any suicide attempt, however minor it appears to be, should be taken seriously.

Suicidal thoughts can coincide with times of change: whether these changes are ‘good’ (like getting married or starting a new job), or ‘bad’ (such as someone dying or the end of a relationship). Quite often two or three different things will have happened, each of them causing considerable stress. For some people there may be no apparent reason for these thoughts.
The circumstances leading up to a suicide attempt are different for everybody, and the reasons may never be fully explained or understood.


Potentially, all suicides can be prevented. If you are concerned about a friend, please talk to them to try and find out if they are at very high risk.

You could ask questions such as is something troubling you, can you tell me what it is, have you felt like ending your life, have you ever felt like hurting yourself, are you currently thinking about this, do you have a plan, what is stopping you from acting on it?

Please get help, contact the young person’s parents/carers, their doctor or their school/college. You might also want to find out from his/her friends if he/she has been talking about ending his/her own life. If you think there is an imminent risk, please call 999.

You may find these websites useful:

This app might also be helpful: Stay Alive

You could help them do a safety plan:

  1. My warning signs of crisis
  2. Coping strategies: what I can do to take my  mind off it
  3. Who or what is good in my life
  4. Contact details of someone who I trust to get help
  5. Contact details of agencies I can get help from
  6. What makes life worth living