Tuesday 10th September 2019
This year we raised awareness of actions individuals can take to help or support someone who is struggling, under the international theme of Working Together to Prevent Suicide. Below is a range of information from our members on actions that individuals can take, which together can help to prevent suicide:
- Starting conversations
- Taking time to listen
- Creating supportive workplaces
- Helping people find support
- Supporting people bereaved by suicide
If you are concerned about someone, either because of things they are saying or doing, it can be difficult to know where to start a conversation about distress and suicidal thoughts. Our members have developed advice and suggestions to help:
- Time to Talk's ‘Ask Twice’ campaign suggests that sometimes we say we’re fine when we’re not, so if your mate’s acting differently, ask whether they're OK twice. See videos and more advice on their website here:
- PAPYRUS and Nightline have developed this flyer with some conversation starters and advice:
- The University of Exeter wrote a leaflet with The Alliance of Suicide Prevention Charities to help people know that it’s safe to talk about suicide, with suggestions on how to do it:
Taking time to listen
Once you've started a conversation with someone struggling with suicidal thoughts, then what do you do? One of the most important things is to listen.
- Samaritans have years of experience in listening to people in distress, and they say it's okay if you're not an expert – just listening can help someone work through what's on their mind.
Creating supportive workplaces
Many of us spend a lot of our time at work, and workplaces can help to support people, whether by organisational approaches or individual colleagues reaching out.
- Public Health England, Business in the Community and Samaritans developed toolkits to help organisations with thinking about suicide prevention and how to respond to a death by suicide in your organisation:
- The Charlie Waller Memorial Trust has a suite of resources for employers, including FAQs on mental health at work:
- Samaritans have developed an online learning programme which teaches employees the skills to look after their emotional health and look out for others, before they reach crisis point:
Helping people find support
Many of our members provide helplines for people in distress, and it's OK to encourage a friend to reach out to them or to their GP for support through a difficult time. As Mike from Matlock said:
“I found being given the helpline numbers a tremendous support, especially as I found it difficult to talk to family and friends.”
- Samaritans: 116 123 (free, for everyone, 24/7)
- CALM: 0800 585858 (free, for men, 5pm-midnight)
- PAPYRUS: 0800 968 4141 (free, for young people, 9am-10pm Mon-Fri, 2pm-10pm at the weekend)
- NHS non-emergency:
- England/Scotland: 111
- Wales: 0845 4647
- The Hub of Hope website can help you find support near you:
Supporting people bereaved by suicide
People who have been bereaved by suicide can be at greater risk of taking their own lives, and yet often friends and family don't know what to say or how to help.
- UCL and the Support After Suicide Partnership developed a short guide to help people feel more comfortable about reaching out to someone bereaved by suicide:
- There are support groups around the country, specifically for people bereaved by suicide - you can find them here:
- Support After Suicide Partnership's website (enter your postcode at the top of the page)
- Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide (SOBS) have a helpline open 9am-9pm Monday to Friday:
- 0300 111 5065
- or visit their website
The NSPA would like to give particular thanks to the project team from our members Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, Mind, Network Rail, NHS England & NHS Improvement, National Probation Service – London, PAPYRUS Prevention of Young Suicide, Rethink Mental Illness and Samaritans for their hard work on the World Suicide Prevention Day 2019 ideas and resources.