Asking about suicidal thoughts

Talking about suicide does not create or increase risk; it can help to reduce it.

The set of short films below provide some advice on offering support to someone you're worried is suicidal. We also have some other resources you may find helpful.

Asking about suicidal thoughts lets us check if someone has a plan. If they don’t, then asking won’t increase risk of them making one. But if they do have plan, it means you can help to keep them safe.

Stay with them and get immediate help from a doctor or through one of the helplines listed on our find help page. We have also detailed below some other resources you may find helpful.

Suicidal thoughts can be frightening and isolating, and it can be a source of relief to be able to talk about these thoughts and feelings. The booklet Suicide.. living with your thoughts from SAMH may be helpful.

For more information,  please read  The art of conversation, a guide to talking, listening and reducing stigma around suicide and watch the Ask, Tell, Save a Life film made as part of Scotland's Suicide Prevention strategy.

You may also find information on NHS Inform page Offering support to someone you're worried is suicidal helpful. You can get advice on supporting someone else, or help for yourself, by contacting the organisations listed in our Find Help page under “suicide support”.  There are useful guides and information from SAMH that may also be helpful.

Our friends at the Fire Fighters Charity have an excellent set of resources to help support suicide prevention, and also how to have conversations and how to start to cope after a suicide. The information contained in the different online toolkits is relevant to all.

Your service, your Lifelines

Visit the web pages of Lifelines Scotland Ambulance, Fire & Rescue, Police or Volunteer Responders for extra resources tailored to each service and more information about the specific help available from different organisations.