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Talking About Suicide

man rests his head on his hands as he talks to someone about suicide

This year has been particularly difficult for all of us; the pandemic and months of lockdown restrictions have had a massive impact on our daily lives as well as our mental health. This is a lot to cope with and it is understandable that many of us are struggling with our mental health and wellbeing or facing challenges in life.

Talking About Suicide

Many of us are affected by suicide or suicidal feelings throughout our lives. Even though mental health awareness has increased in recent years, talking about suicide is still widely stigmatised. Too many of us suffer in silence.

“I couldn’t see past the pain. It was a different reality for me. I only knew I wanted the pain to stop, the anguish to go away.”

It can be scary talking to someone who is experiencing suicidal thoughts, but it really can make a difference.

How can I support someone in a crisis?

If someone tells you they are experiencing suicidal thoughts, always take them seriously.

Ask open questions – this invites them to answer more than ‘yes’ or ‘no’, for example, ‘How are you feeling?’ or ‘What happened next?’

Try not to judge – it’s important not to blame the person or give your own opinion on the situation.

Give them time and listen – be patient, as it has probably been very difficult for them to open up to you.

Don’t be afraid to ask the difficult questions – being direct lets the person know they can talk freely about how they’re feeling. Ask ‘Are you having suicidal thoughts?’ or ‘Have you felt like you want to end your life?’

If you need urgent assistance…

  • Contact your GP surgery
  • Contact Central North West London NHS Trust’s Single Point of Access (SPA) – a first point of contact for people experiencing a mental health crisis: 0800 0234 650

If you or someone else that you know is at immediate risk:

  • You can attend Accident & Emergency (A&E)
    • Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, 369 Fulham Road, London, SW10 9NH
    • The Royal Marsden Hospital, 203 Fulham Road, London SW3 6JJ
    • St Mary’s Hospital, Praed Street, London W2 1NY
  • If you have already taken an overdose or injured yourself, dial 999

Additional support…

Mind has some information you may find helpful, including how you can access treatment and support.

The Samaritans are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year: call free on 116 123.

If you feel you need additional support with anxiety, depression or low mood, our Talking Therapies service may be able to help. Find out more about the service and register.

Author: Stewart Gillespie
Posted on: 20th April 2021

SMART St Mary Abbots Rehabilitation and Training
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