Everybody feels sad from time to time. But when you feel like your feelings are getting out of control, you need to talk to someone right away.
Three young people comforting a friend

It’s normal to feel low or sad. But sometimes these feelings can get out of control. When someone gets very unhappy, stressed 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.  

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 risky 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, you need to take action:

  • 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, or who have a responsibility to look after you (like parents/carers, 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 or email

If you need to talk to a helpline, all these can help:

  • Papyrus Mon-Fri: 10am-10pm, weekends: 2pm-10pm & bank holidays: 2pm-5pm helpline tel: 0800 068 41 41 text 07786 209 697 email   
  • 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 

You may also find it helpful to look at the Self Harm Page or visit Harmless, an organisation which supports people who self harm and their friends and family.

If someone needs help

If someone you know is considering suicide, very distressed or in a crisis, you can help:

  • Take them seriously
  • Listen
  • 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.

Take action: If you or someone you know struggles with thoughts of suicide, help is available. You can find out more and download the Stay Alive app from the Grassroots website.

​If someone has died

Getting support after someone has died is really important. Research shows that when someone may have died from suicide, there is an impact on other people. This can happen for family, friends, acquaintances, people professionally in contact with the person (like Doctors or Teachers), and other people, even even if they did not know the person well at all.

Everyone has the right to their own feelings, and anyone suffering difficulties after someone may have died from suicide can ask for help. Talking to friends and family is helpful, but many people find it also helps to talk to someone who can provide support like their GP, School Health Nurse, or a helpline. 

Get help: This guide, called Help is at Hand, was written for everyone who has been affected by suicide. It contains practical help, signposts further support and discusses how you may feel, as well as practical strategies for things like telling others and comforting friends. It was put together with the help of people bereaved by suicide.

Find out more

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