Suicide is when a person causes their own death. Some suicide attempts do not lead to the person dying, whereas others do.
For people who suffer thoughts or dying or killing themselves, if is important to speak to someone, as help and support is available.
Those with suicidal thoughts can contact an organisation like the Samaritans, which is open to everyone. Other organisations are available for certain groups, including Papyrus (for those under 35), Childline (for those under 19) and the Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) (for men). Many people may prefer to simply speak to someone they know and trust.
There are a number of warning signs that someone may be feeling suicidal. A change in behaviour may be the first sign, such as a person becoming more anxious, irritable, confrontational, reckless or quiet. They may avoid friends and family, say negative things or sleep too much or too little.
More immediate indicators include a person threatening to harm themselves, talking about death, making plans that could be part of a suicide attempt such as storing up medications, or putting their affairs in order such as by making a will, giving away belongings or speaking to people as if they will not see them again.
Information on how to speak to and help someone who may be at risk of suicide is available from organisations like Rethink and Mind. The most important step is simply to ask someone how they are and bring the issue into the open. It is then important to listen to the person, empathise with them, and avoid trying to find an overly simple solution or minimising the person’s issues.
A GP or other NHS professional can help treat those with suicidal thoughts, as well as community support groups. It is important for a person to get suitable support as early as possible.