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Samaritans offer a safe place for you to talk any time you like, in your own way – about whatever’s getting to you.
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Teenage mental health & wellbeing

Suicide prevention

As a parent or friend you are well placed to notice whether someone close to you is struggling to cope or even feeling suicidal. There are some things to look out for which may be a sign that something is wrong. This article written by the Samaritans advises you what to do if you're concerned about someone. Details on how to contact them directly are provided below.
In Short

It's not always possible to identify people who are going through emotional distress. However, some of the following signs may indicate someone is in poor emotional health:

lacking energy or appearing particularly tired;

appearing more tearful;

not wanting to talk or be with people;

not wanting to do things they usually enjoy;

a change in routine, such as sleeping or eating more or less than normal;

using alcohol or drugs to cope with feelings;

finding it hard to cope with everyday things;

appearing restless and agitated;

not liking or taking care of themselves or feeling they don't matter;

being un-typically clumsy or accident prone;

becoming withdrawn or losing touch with friends and family.

Why do people take their own lives?

Suicide is a very complex issue and often there isn’t one main reason why someone decides to take their own life.

It can be the result of problems building up to the point where they can see no other way to cope with what they’re experiencing.

The kinds of problems that might put people at risk of suicide includes:

  • recent loss or the break up of a close relationship
  • an actual and/or expected unhappy change in circumstances
  • painful and/or disabling physical illness
  • heavy use of, or dependency on, alcohol or other drugs
  • history of earlier suicide attempts or self-harming
  • history of suicide in the family
  • depression

Signs someone may need support

Sometimes people say things which might help you recognise they are struggling to cope:

  • making leading statements, such as ‘You wouldn’t believe what I’ve been through’ or ‘It’s like the whole world is against me’. People sometimes say these things in the hope you will pick up on them and ask what they mean, so that they can talk about it.
  • negative statements about themselves, such as ‘Oh, no one loves me’, or ‘I’m a waste of space’, even if it sounds like they are joking.

“We want to remind people that if a friend says that life isn’t worth living, they should always be taken seriously.”
Catherine Johnstone, Former Samaritans CEO

How to contact the Samaritans in the UK
On the phone: 116 123 (UK and ROI)
By email: jo@samaritans.org (UK), jo@samaritans.ie (ROI)
Face-to-face: in one of our local branches (a list can be found here)
By letter: Freepost RSRB-KKBY-CYJK, PO Box 9090, STIRLING, FK8 2SA

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DISCLAIMER
This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. Essential Parent has used all reasonable care in compiling the information from leading experts and institutions but makes no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details click here.