It’s normal to feel low or sad. But sometimes these feelings can get out of control. When someone gets very unhappy or depressed, they may become suicidal (want to seriously harm or kill themselves). These feelings can come on over a period of time, or very suddenly.
While there is often an immediate reason for the stress the person is under (abuse in a relationship, for example, or a bereavement), this does not explain suicide. Suicide is a very rare response to stress, that happens when a person's normal coping mechanisms fail.
Immediate action: If someone is in immediate danger dial 999.
Stop doing, start talking
When someone's feelings are getting out of control, it can be very hard for them to think clearly. They may say or do bad things that hurt themselves and other people. Things can quickly spiral out of control. If you or a friend are feeling very stressed or unhappy and feel like you may want to seriously harm yourself, think about doing the following;
- Try to talk to someone who you trust (a friend, school health nurse, school counsellor, family member, teacher or helpline)
- See your GP and explain how you are feeling.
- Try to reduce and stop any dangerous activities (like drinking, taking drugs or driving a car)
Calling a helpline may be helpful as you can remain anonymous and the advisers are trained to listen, but they may not be able to offer as much help as those close to you, of who have a responsibility to look after you (like teachers, youth workers, or your Doctor).
Crucial: Your School Health Nurse can help with all kinds of health problems, including feelings of stress, panic and unhappiness, even out of termtime - call 01865 904225.
If you need to talk to a helpline, all these can help:
- Papyrus Mon-Fri: 10am-10pm, weekends: 2pm-10pm & bank holidays: 2pm-5pm Hopeline tel: 0800 068 41 41 text 07786 209 697 email email@example.com
- Childline 24/7 0800 1111
- Young Minds 9.30 to 4.00pm, Mon- Fri Parents helpline: 0808 802 5544
- CALM 7 days a week, 5pm to midnight 0800 58 58 58
If someone needs help
If someone you know is considering suicide, very distressed or in a crisis, you can help:
- Take them seriously
- Encourage them to ask for help and ask for help yourself.
Don't try to solve their problems If you believe that your friend or someone else may get hurt, get help right away. Papyrus or Childline can advise you about what to do. Your School Health Nurse can support you and over the summer break the Oxfordshire School and College Health Nursing service can provide support - call 01865 904225
Crucial: If someone is in immediate danger dial 999.
Look after yourself
Helping a friend or family member in a crisis can be very upsetting and stressful, so you should consider getting help yourself. Talk to your GP, school health nurse, a worker or volunteer at a youth group, or a helpline.