Most of the time, people who are having thoughts about suicide or self-harm don’t act of them, but if you’ve hurt yourself badly, or you’re about to, call 999 and ask for an ambulance. You may need to tell them where you are and what’s happened. You will not get into trouble.

If you’re having troubling thoughts and you’re feeling worried about telling someone how you feel, we’ve got some advice on how you can do this. Click on the questions below to have a look at our suggestions.

Jump to: Who can I tell? | What do I say? | What can I do?

Who can I tell?

Choosing who to tell is a big first step in getting support. It can feel less daunting if you choose someone you trust. Here are some examples of people you might talk to:

  • A parent or carer.
  • A teacher or tutor.
  • Another member of your family.
  • A support service or helpline (see sources of support, below).
  • A friend or partner.
  • A youth worker or counsellor.

Tell the right person for you and be open and honest about your feelings.

What do I say?

Once you’ve decided who to tell, it’s time to think about what to say. You don’t need to worry about saying the wrong things or disappointing anyone – the person you decide to talk to will be able to help you find support, and most likely, they’ll be pleased that you shared things with them.

Here’s some ideas about what you could say.

  • Start with a general conversation – it’s okay to start with something general like telling them how your day was or asking them about theirs.
  • Talk about a general worry – it can feel less difficult if you begin by talking more generally about what is troubling you, if there is one e.g. you’re being bullied or worried about school. Or you could tell them you haven’t been feeling well or that you’ve been feeling down recently.
  • Talk about a specific worry – being direct and specific about your troubling thoughts or actions is important so that they understand you. But you can say it however you feel like saying it – there’s no ‘right’ way. You could tell them, for instance, if you’ve been thinking of harming yourself, or if you’ve been having difficult, negative thoughts about yourself.
    • You could say “I’ve been thinking about hurting myself” or “I’ve not been feeling myself recently, and I’m really struggling with my thoughts.”
  • Tell them how you’d like to be supported right now and in the future Its most beneficial if you can let people know your preferences or what you think will help– if you’re not sure yet, then you can explore the options below.

What can I do?

There are quite a few things to try that can help yourself feel brighter, and there are lots of ways to get support. When talking to someone about how you feel, you could discuss the options below and see what might work for you.

  • Distract yourself – one of the best starting points is doing something you enjoy. Try to focus on something that’s not your thoughts, like playing a game, watching a film or going to see a friend. This can help to lift your mood.
  • Contact a helpline – helplines can offer confidential support and advice on how to keep yourself safe, and some can also provide counselling. You can call our Fire Fighters Charity Crisis Line any time on 0300 373 0896; Samaritans any time on 116 123; Shout Crisis Line by texting “YM” to 85258 or you Childline free on 0800 1111. If you’re really worried, you can also click on these links to find local urgent care in England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland.
  • Don’t be alone – even if you don’t tell anyone what’s happening, try to have someone keep you company, either in person or via text or a phone call.
  • Hand over anything that might cause you harm – it can be helpful to give any items that you might use harm yourself to someone else, or you could move into a different area that’s away from anything you could use to hurt yourself.
  • Talk to a GP or any professionals you already know – your GP will be able to offer support and advice on how you can cope with your feelings. They can also suggest other services or medication that might help you. If you’re currently under the care of a mental wellbeing team, your care plan will have details of who you can contact in a time of crisis.
  • Make or use a safety plan – a safety plan is a personalised document that you can use to prompt you when you’re feeling distressed. If you have a safety plan, then this is a great time to try it out. If you don’t have one and would like one, then you can read more about them on the Safety Plan page.

Sources of support