If you’ve got a friend who is in distress or in serious crisis - including talking of suicide – consider the acronym COPE: be Caring, Optimistic, Practical – and seek an Expert.
Never ignore or take a suggestion of self-harm lightly. Research shows most people who attempt suicide normally tell someone else they’re thinking about it first. Ask them, and don’t be afraid that talking about the threat will put ideas into the person’s mind. It’s more likely they’ll appreciate being taken seriously.
Most human problems can be solved with time, care and expert help no matter how hopeless they might seem. Don’t give up hope just because your friend has temporarily lost theirs – their problem can be overcome. At the same time, however, don’t let your optimism lead you to dismiss or make light of the person’s concerns.
If a friend says they’re thinking about suicide do not ignore this. Involve other people, including the emergency services if you need to. Be especially vigilant if someone is intoxicated, under the influence of drugs, if they have made a suicide attempt in the past, or if they have a clearly formulated plan. Don’t however, get drawn into making unrealistic promises of long-term support that you’re unlikely to be able to keep.
If the person in distress refuses to get help once the immediate crisis is over, consider contacting someone yourself in order to plan what steps can be taken to get support for yourself and your friend. Try to understand protective factors for your friend.
The local Crisis Mental Health hotline is available 24/7 on 0800 915 4644 and the Woking Safe Haven is open each evening from 6pm - 11pm
For further advice and guidance please contact the Wellbeing department or look at our emergency support information for urgent care.