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Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Children & Young People Mental Health Support

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Many young suicides can be prevented. In the UK thousands of young people are admitted to accident and emergency departments each year because they have attempted suicide.

Although most people who attempt suicide survive, many remain at high risk of taking their own life for quite some time afterwards.

If you are in crisis please see this page HERE!

What can you do to help someone ? A.L.E.R.T

Ask: them how they were feeling before it happened and how they are feeling now. Talking about suicide does not make it more likely to happen. Try to be patient if they are angry or refuse to talk. If they won't talk to you, maybe they would talk to a friend or sibling. It may be that writing things down is an easier way for them to communicate with you.
Listen: this is the most important thing you can do. Treat them with respect, and try not to be judgemental or critical. Is it important to try to raise their self-esteem.
Empathise: by showing that you really do care about them, no matter what, and are trying to understand things from their point of view. Words don't always matter. The touch of a hand or a hug can go a long way to show that you care.
Reassure: them that desperate feelings are very common and can be overcome. Things can and do change, help can be found and there is hope for the future. People do get better!
Try: to give practical support, and help them to cope with any extra pressures. It may not be possible to deal with all the things that are troubling them, but between you agree on what you will do if a suicidal crisis happens again. If they are living away encourage them to come home for a visit or go to see them yourself. This will give you an opportunity to assess the situation. Be clear there are always other options.

For example, if they are at University they can: leave the course for good, have a break from the course or defer for a year or change to a university nearer home


Put them down or do things that might make them feel worse. A suicide attempt suggests that self-esteem is already very low.

Abandon or reject them in any way. Your help, support and attention are vital if they are to begin to feel that life is worth living again. Don't relax your attentions just because they seem to be better. It doesn't mean that life is back to normal for them yet. They may be at risk for quite a while.

Nag: although it may be well meant. Nobody wants to be pestered all the time.

Intrude: try to balance being watchful with a respect for privacy. Don't ignore what has happened.

Criticise their actions: however you may be feeling about their suicide attempt, try to remember the pain and turmoil that they were, and may still be, going through. Don't take their behaviour personally - it was not necessarily directed at you.

A.L.E.R.T was taken from the Papyrus website-Please see their website for further help and support https://www.papyrus-uk.org/ 

The following advice from the Mental Health Foundation may also be useful:

MIND Stop SuicideThe Stop Suicide website has tailored information on coping with suicidal thoughts and helping someone who is suicidal. 


CALM - The Campaign Against Living Miserably is a registered charity, which exists to prevent male suicide in the UK. Check out the website for further support or Click here for their helpline.


 samaritans  If you are feeling suicidal or you are concerned about someone else, contact your GP or the Samaritans – 116 123


PAPYRUS prevention of young suicide

Papyrus is the national charity for the prevention of young suicides. They have lots of information on their website and a helpline that you can call if you are feeling suicidal (call:0800 068 4141 10 am-10 pm weekdays, 2 pm-10 pm weekends email:pat@papyrus-uk.org ).

The Help is at Hand booklet is a free resources that provides people affected by suicide with both emotional and practical support:

help is at hand cover shot

 Zero Suicide Alliance  has some FREE training on their website around talking about suicide and what to do if someone has these thoughts-the training only takes 20 minutes and could save a life.

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