I’m worried someone I know might be having suicidal thoughts

Don’t be afraid to ask directly if you’re worried that someone is thinking of suicide. A common myth is that asking will encourage people to take their own lives, but in reality asking the question gives others the opportunity to speak about how they’ve been feeling; you are opening the door for them to talk.

Them talking about it doesn’t make it more likely to happen, but it is important to encourage them to access support. It can feel a huge responsibility and at times overwhelming if you are trying to support a friend who is struggling emotionally, so it’s important that you take care of yourself as well and don’t feel that you have to keep everything to yourself. It is difficult but if someone wants you to promise you won’t share that they feel suicidal, you probably need to let them know that might not be possible, especially if they are at risk.

You can get lots of advice in the following places. 

For you:

  • Papyrus has information about supporting someone with suicidal thoughts
  • The university wellbeing and counselling service if it would help to talk
  • The Big White Wall can provide interim online mental health and wellbeing support
  • Your department, especially if you feel the pressure is having an effect on your studies

For your friend, you can suggest:

  • The University of Leeds Counselling Service can be used by any student 
  • LUU Advice is confidential and independent from the University. Drop us an email on advice@luu.leeds.ac.uk or ring us on (0113) 3801 290. You can visit with your friend as support.
  • Your GP will also be able to help. If you are registered at Leeds Student Medical Practice you can make an appointment by ringing 0113 295 4488.
  • If someone you know is at immediate risk or has already taken steps to end their lives, call the emergency services on 999.

Out of hours support:

  • Dial house is a place of sanctuary open 6pm–2am Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday. Visitors can use Dial House when they’re in crisis and relax in a homely environment with an hour of one-to-one support from the team of Crisis Support Workers.  
  • The Samaritans helpline is open 24 hours a day and provides emotional support in times of crisis - simply call 116 123.