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Suicidal feelings


If you are worried that someone is suicidal, ask them.

If you are thinking about killing yourself, talk to someone.

Most people who attempt suicide do not want to die, they just don't feel able to cope with the pain of life.

Suicide and suicidal feelings are often, but not always, linked to mental illness. Lots of people who attempt to take their own lives have never had contact with mental health services.

Suicide is rare, but nonetheless it is one of the main causes of death among young people in Scotland: more common than road accidents. Thinking about suicide is a common response in an urgent situation, but immediate help is available.

If you are having suicidal feelings, contact Breathing Space on
0800 838587 or the Samaritans on 116 123.

You can also talk to your GP or contact NHS 24 on 08457 242424.

If you are worried about someone else

Choose Life, Scotland's suicide prevention strategy, says:

Someone you know may be at risk of suicide if they:

  • talk about wanting to die or not being able to find a way out of a difficult situation
  • have been through stressful life events and don't seem to be coping
  • start giving away possessions
  • start putting things in order e.g. arranging wills, pet care, or childcare
  • show marked changes in behaviour, appearance, or mood
  • appear distracted, sad, distant, or lacking in concentration
  • are misusing drugs and/or alcohol

Also watch out for sudden calmness or uplift in mood. This can sometimes be because, having decided to attempt suicide, the person feels relieved as they think they have found a solution to their problems, no matter how drastic this may be.

You can help:

  • Let them talk about their feelings
  • Listen to what they have to say and show that you care
  • Ask if they are thinking about suicide