Skip to content

World Suicide Prevention Day 2023

Today, Sunday 10th September, is World Suicide Prevention Day.

We need to talk about suicide.

5,219 suicides were registered in England in 2021 – an increase of 307 compared with 2020. Men aged 40 to 49 have the highest suicide rate in the UK, while the North East of England had the highest suicide rate by region in 2021.

Sometimes, we may choose to avoid talking about suicide, due to it being a sensitive and upsetting topic, or because it still has stigma attached to it. However, it’s important that we do talk about it to raise awareness and to educate ourselves on what to look out for and how to prevent it – because suicide is preventable.

What is suicide?

Suicide is when someone ends their own life.

If someone feels suicidal, they may:

  • Be anxious and depressed
  • Feel helpless, useless or desperate
  • Feel as though people would be better off without them
  • Make plans to end their life
  • Have thoughts about not wanting to be here anymore
  • Experience unbearable pain that they can’t see an end to

Signs that someone may be suicidal

It’s important to be aware of the potential signs that someone may be suicidal, so that you can identify it in your friends, family, or anyone you know:

  • Feeling restless, agitated, angry, aggressive
  • Talking about feeling helpless or worthless
  • Being tearful and upset
  • Losing interest in things they usually enjoy
  • Withdrawing from those around them, not wanting to talk
  • Alcohol or drug problems
  • Saying that they feel trapped or that they can’t see an end to the pain they’re feeling
  • Doing risky things like gambling

Someone feeling suicidal may show all of these signs, a few, one or two, or even none at all. Sometimes, it can be difficult to spot when someone is struggling, which is why it’s important to be aware of potential risk factors that may lead to someone feeling suicidal.

Why would someone want to end their life?

We are all different as we all cope with and react to things in our own way, but some of the general things to look out for include:

  • Previous suicide attempts or self-harming
  • Suicide or attempted suicide of a friend or family member
  • Having poor mental or physical health, for example, struggling with depression or a chronic illness
  • Life changing events such as losing a loved one, relationship breakdown, abuse, or trauma
  • Financial concerns or struggling with unemployment
  • Struggling with loneliness or isolation
  • Drug or alcohol problems

What can I do if I feel suicidal?

If you’re feeling this way, it’s important that you tell someone.

If you have or feel like you may be at risk of seriously harming yourself, such as taking an overdose, call 999 immediately (or ask someone to do it for you) or go to A&E.

There are lots of free helplines you can call or text, see this page on the NHS for a full list.

It can be hard to talk about how you’re feeling – you may prefer to talk to someone you don’t know instead of a friend or family member.

You can also ask your GP for an emergency appointment, ring 111 for advice and support, or contact a mental health crisis team in your area.

What can I do if I think someone I know is suicidal?

A conversation with them could save their life.

You might be worried that reaching out to them could seem invasive or make things worse, but it’s important that the person knows you are there for them, even if they are struggling to open up.

If someone starts to share how they feel, listening is vital – try not to jump in or offer advice, hear them out.

See this page on Samaritans for some active listening tips.

You could offer to help them out with things such as contacting their friends, family or GP, or even helping with tasks in the home such as cleaning or cooking.

It can also be a good idea to help them create a safety plan, so that they know what to do and who to contact in a crisis. See this link from the Mental Health Foundation for a really useful safety plan that you can download for free.

If someone you know is suicidal, it can be hard to process and is likely to worry you, so take the time for yourself and remember that you can’t do everything. If someone is struggling, it can be a good idea to signpost them to the helplines listed above.

Remember that you are never alone in anything you’re going through – there is always someone to talk to.


Published date:

10th September 2023

In partnership with:

Back to all posts