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The College of Animal Welfare

Suicide awareness and prevention
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Suicide awareness and prevention
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Suicide Awareness and Prevention: Supporting Yourself and Others

In the UK and Ireland alone, over 6,000 people died by suicide in 2018.*

If you’re feeling like you want to die, it’s important to reach out for help in any way you feel comfortable doing so.

It’s crucial to remember that you don’t need to struggle with difficult feelings alone; help and support is available right now if you need it.

Here are just some of the different ways to get help:

  • Talking with a close friend or family member you trust  
  • Calling or texting the Mind Infoline on 0300 123 3393 or text 86463
  • Calling a hotline or helpline –
    • Samaritans is available for everyone, 24/7 on 116 123 /
    • Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) is available for men from 5pm-Midnight every day on 0800 58 58 58 / Webchat
    • Childline is available for children and young people under 19 on 0800 1111
  • Scheduling an appointment with a professional therapist, or e counselling if that is more appropriate. Staff and students at CAW can access counselling on an ongoing basis, further information can be found the student support section of our website.
  • Reading others’ stories of hope and recovery. Sometimes reading how others have made it through tough times can help you navigate your own situation
  • Joining a support group (Find your nearest Mind centre here)
  • Calling your GP and asking for an emergency appointment
  • Calling 111 out of hours – they will help you find the support and help you need
  • If you have one, contact your mental health crisis team

If your life is in serious danger, for example if you have taken a drugs overdose, call 999 for an ambulance or go straight to A&E, or ask someone else to call/take you to A&E.

If you’re struggling to cope in the moment, try not to think about the future – just focus on getting through today. Try to be around other people and get yourself to a safe place, such as a friend’s house. More tips for coping with suicidal thoughts in the moment

How to help others who may be feeling suicidal

If you’re concerned that a friend or family member may be feeling suicidal, you shouldn’t be afraid to ask if they’re having thoughts of suicide.

There is still a taboo around discussing suicide, which can make it harder for people experiencing these feelings to open up. Asking direct questions about suicide such as ‘Are you having suicidal thoughts?’ or ‘Have you felt like you want to end your life?’ can encourage someone talk about how they are feeling.

If someone tells you they are feeling suicidal, respond with kindness and care. You could encourage them to talk more about how they are feeling by:

  • Asking open questions that encourage someone to say more than ‘yes’ or ‘no’.
  • Giving them time to share their thoughts and feelings when they’re comfortable, even if you’re anxious to hear their answers.
  • Taking them seriously. Avoid minimising someone’s problems or trying to convince them their mental health problems aren’t that bad, as this may increase feelings of guilt and hopelessness even further. 
  • Listening without judgement. It’s important not to blame the person for how they are feeling, even if you feel shocked, upset or frightened by their words.

You might feel unsure of what to do, but there are lots of other things that might help too. You could:

  • offer emotional support
  • offer practical support
  • help them think of ideas for self-help 
  • help them to make a support plan

Supporting yourself

Supporting someone who feels suicidal can be difficult. It’s important to look after your own mental health too, by taking time out for yourself, being kind to yourself, eating well and getting enough sleep.

To read more about how to support someone who feels suicidal, download the Mind Support Booklet.


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