If you’re worried that an adult you know might be struggling with their wellbeing or is showing signs they may be having thoughts of suicide, it can be confusing and worrying, but try your best to stay calm. We’ve laid out some advice to help you through this difficult time.
If the adult you’re worried about has hurt themselves, call 999 if its serious; if it’s not, then call 111 for more guidance.
Tell an adult that you trust
The first thing you can do is tell another adult that you trust:
- It’s helpful if this is someone who already knows the person you’re concerned about, but it’s more important that its somebody you feel able to tell. Let them know that you’re concerned and explain why you’re worried.
- For advice on how you can support the person you’re worried about, you can call Samaritans on 116 123, or Papyrus on 0800 068 4141 (text: 07860 039967).
If the person is close to you, it can be helpful to create an emergency plan with a trusted adult detailing what you should do in future difficult situations. This emergency plan may include:
- who to call (e.g. a neighbour, GP, another family member, the police or an ambulance);
- a safe place (somewhere you can go if you need to get away from home – make sure you know how you can get there safely);
- details of the person’s mental health problems and any medication they’re taking (if this is an issue).
There may be times when you’re worried that a friend or other young person is struggling with their feelings. Or you might’ve noticed warning signs relating to suicide, including them telling you that they’re hurting themselves or that they’ve been having thoughts of suicide.
If the child or young person you’re worried about has seriously hurt themselves, call 999.
Tell an adult that you trust
The first step to getting them the right help is to tell an adult: you shouldn’t try and deal with it on your own. The person may ask you not to tell anyone, but they may need help that you can’t give, and an adult needs to be involved.
- Encourage them to tell an adult (e.g., a parent or teacher).
- Tell an adult you trust about your concern, and explain why you’re worried.
- You could encourage them to call a helpline, such as Samaritans. You can also call Samaritans yourself and ask them to contact the child, if you feel that would help.
- After you’ve told someone, it’s okay to still be their friend and support them.
Its important to look after yourself as well
It can be emotional to know someone is hurting, so make sure you look after yourself and talk to someone. Below, we’ve listed some ways you can look after your own wellbeing, as well as some places you might find support during this time.
Here are some simple things you can do to look after yourself.
- Do things you enjoy – it’s important you remember to keep doing the things you enjoy, like listening to music, playing games or watching TV. This will help you to stay grounded.
- Spend time with friends – maintaining social connections (going to school or clubs, etc.) can be a good way to keep your mood up.
- Eat and sleep well – make sure you’re eating and sleeping enough, and not eating or sleeping too much. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is important to helping you through difficult times.
Seeking support from others
Asking and getting support from others and just talking through things can be a big help. Here are some people you could talk to.
- Someone at home – you could talk to an adult at home about how you’re feeling and what’s going on.
- Someone at school – a teacher or a member of staff at school can direct you to specific sources of help, and they can also help support you with your school or college work when your mind might not be on it.
- Support and professional services – There’s loads of support and advice out there, and there are people willing to just let you talk things through. This might be about how you are feeling, advice about mental wellbeing or wanting to know more. Have a look at the ‘Sources of Support’ pages by clicking on the button below to see what might help you.
Don’t feel as though you’re betraying anyone by getting an adult involved. You’re not telling on them, and they’re not going to get in trouble – you’re helping them to get the help they need.