CALM & LYNX
At CALM we are working with Lynx to raise awareness of male suicide through the ‘Bigger Issues’ campaign, so that men feel able to get help when they need it. Lynx are also helping us take thousands of extra life saving calls each year by helping us employ more helpline staff.
As well as this campaign you can be kept informed of our progress and activities, and get more involved in CALM, by signing up to our mailing list.
To explore our website, read stories and articles, be inspired and informed and contribute your own stories, visit our homepage.
If you can’t find what you’re looking for then email us at [email protected]
Worried about someone?
If you're worried that someone you know may be feeling suicidal it can be really hard to know what to say to them.
Maybe you're worried about upsetting them by bringing it up. Below you’ll find information on signs that someone could be feeling suicidal, what to say to them, how to say it and where to find help.
Suicide is rare but...
There are over 6,000 deaths by suicide in the UK every year – an average of 16 per day.
It can happen to anyone. There’s no such thing as ‘the suicidal type’.
We all go through tough times, whether it’s the break down of a relationship, losing a job, or feeling like a failure when good things are happening to other people.
It doesn’t have to be one big thing – it can be lots of smaller things, and remember that everyone deals with things differently.
Sometimes there are no warning signs
because the person wants to keep their personal crisis private, and so will work hard at hiding their thoughts and feelings.
Unexpected mood changes
- including suddenly being calm and happy after being very depressed
Increased drug or alcohol abuse
Anger or irritability
Neglect of personal appearance
Change in sleeping and eating patterns
Lack of energy
Talking about suicide or wanting to die
- their statements may be vague or appear to be joking about it
Giving away possessions
- to friends and family as if they won’t be seeing them again.
So how will you know?
It sounds scary, but the best thing to do is talk about it.
Just showing your support and giving someone space to communicate their feelings can be a huge release for them.
Don’t be scared of the S word
‘Won’t talking about suicide put the idea in their head?’
No. If a person is suicidal then the idea is already there, and if they aren’t it won’t do any harm – it might come as a great relief to actually acknowledge that they’re feeling like this.
Saying something is safer than saying nothing. Trust your gut and start the conversation. Saying the word suicide won’t make it happen.
What to say
EXPLORE HOW THEY’RE FEELING Ask questions like “How does that feel?” that keep the conversation open and allow them to talk
Don’t judge or criticise For example, they may be drinking too much alcohol. But pointing this out won’t be particularly helpful to them
Don’t deny what they’re telling you and don’t pretend you know how they feel or try to convince them how lucky they are
Reassure them that these feelings won’t last forever and that they can find help
Don’t try to solve their problems If someone is feeling suicidal, they need reassurance that they are valued that they can talk about how they feel and that help is available. Problem solving can come later
ASK THE QUESTION If they give any indication they’re feeling hopeless or can’t see the point of going on, ask them clearly, “Are you thinking about killing yourself?” or “Are you thinking about taking your own life?” Don’t be too quick to accept denials or jokes as responses
What to do next
Feeling suicidal is frightening. If someone tells you they’re feeling suicidal, make sure they’re not left alone. Remove anything they could use to take their own life.
Tell the person that you’d like to get them medical help now. Sit with them and call their GP surgery, call 999 or take them to A&E and stay with them until they are seen by a member of the mental health team
Even if it’s only a hunch, share your concerns with others. Don’t be afraid to involve family, friends, or colleagues. And talk to them about how you’re feeling.
Sources of support
It can be difficult to hear the suicidal thoughts of a friend or loved one and they may be anxious not to frighten or upset you by telling you. Sometimes people find it easier to talk to a stranger, so encourage them to ring one of the helplines below. You can ring them yourself if you are worried about someone.
This web page has been developed in partnership with the University of Exeter Medical School
Affected by suicide?
If you know someone that has taken their life, or witnessed a suicide, this can be extraordinarily difficult to deal with. A suicide will have a huge impact, not just upon immediate family, but also on best friends, ex partners, colleagues at work and neighbours. You don’t need to pretend that it’s ok. It’s not ok, and we want you to get whatever help you need.
You can download the booklet Help is at Hand as a PDF, published by Public Health England, and hard copies can be obtained from [email protected] (please supply an address). This booklet contains not just practical advice but also links and phone numbers to help you navigate the coroner’s courts, funerals, supporting the children etc during this difficult time, as well as helpline numbers if you just need someone to talk to. You can also find these resources on the Support After Suicide website.
Remember there is no right or ‘proper’ way to grieve. Everyone’s got different ways of dealing with their feelings, and this in itself can cause problems. You may be angry at the world in general, or with the person who’s died. You may feel guilt and remorse, shock and anger, denial, disbelief and a need to understand why this has happened. While these are normal reactions it can be very hard to just get through each day.
You may find a particular incident or memory continues to play on your mind. You could be struggling with how to tell children or teenagers about the death, or be trying hard just to live in the same house where they died. With so many thoughts you could think you’re literally losing your mind, feel cut off from reality, unable to deal with day to day life. There is help out there, so please get it. Go through the resources and links above - and don’t be afraid to go to your GP.
Coming to terms with someone dying doesn’t mean we forget that person, or that they stop being important to us. It’s OK to be upset; it’s normal, and there’s no shame in showing emotions. There’s no time limit on grief, so don’t rush yourself or let others rush you.
Take whatever help you can to get through each day, and use the resources we’ve linked to here.
If things are tough for you just now, then use our helpline or web chat service, and if you’ve a particular issue, use the links underneath to find an organisation to help or pick out the tag word below which most closely matches the issue and you’ll be taken to our website.
Find help near you
Call the helpline
Nationwide0800 58 58 58
London0808 802 58 58
Helpline closed? Call the Samaritans116 123
Our free, anonymous and confidential helpline is for men who are feeling down or who need to talk or find information and support. We're open 5pm–midnight, 365 days a year. Outside of our open hours if you need to talk then ring the Samaritans.
Webchat is closed and will re-open at 5pm. If you need to talk to someone now, then ring the Samaritans.