Supporting a friend who is feeling suicidal

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Be honest if you are worried about someone. [..] If you feel that this person may be considering suicide, ask them directly if they are thinking about suicide. [..] Asking about suicide shows that you care enough to want to know how someone really is. [..] Asking is safer than not asking, and asking someone about suicide doesn't make it more likely that they will attempt suicide - quite the reverse.




These resources provide information and support to help you navigate a situation where you may need to help someone who is feeling suicidal and needs urgent support. 


MIND: Helping Someone Else

Some of the information and advice you can find in this resource are:

  • Asking how you can help;

  • Showing trust and respect;

  • What practical support you can offer;

  • Boundaries;

  • Looking after yourself. 


STOP Suicide: Helping Someone Who is Suicidal

This resource offers advice on how you can support someone who is feeling suicidal or how to identify that someone has suicidal thoughts. 


Stay Alive: Practical Steps To Help

Here, you can access practical advice on how to support someone who is feeling suicidal by:

  • Asking directly if the person is thinking about suicide;

  • Listening without judgement;

  • Helping them to get help;

  • Taking care of yourself.



If you have serious concerns about another student’s safety, getting urgent help could save their life. If the situation allows, discuss with them how you can help them and what support they need. This could be reaching out to a friend, a family member, a mental health professional, a University or College member of staff or calling emergency services.

If you think that there is an immediate risk to their life or someone else’s, contact 999 to speak to the Police or ask for an ambulance. If you determine that immediate medical support is required, you can also help them get to A&E by accompanying them to the hospital and/or staying with them until they receive the support they need. 


Confidentiality when sharing concerns about another student’s safety with a member of staff

If you share your concerns about another student’s safety with a member of staff, the member of staff may act upon that information if you believe the other student is at risk of harm. If you are unsure about confidentiality, it is a good idea to discuss this with that member of staff.



Calling 999 on behalf of a friend

If you think a friend’s life is in danger, call 999 to speak with the Police or ask for an ambulance. You can call on someone else’s behalf and ideally you would be with that person to help you describe the situation as best you can. It is also a good idea to stay with them and help them stay safe until specialist support arrives.

The Police may arrive if their behaviour poses a risk to others or if an incident took place, for instance, if they attempted suicide.

The ambulance may arrive if your friend is in immediate need of medical support: eg. they need specialist medical support, they need urgent medication, they may need to go to A&E, etc.

Our Felling suicidal: crisis support and information article answers questions about what information you may need to provide when calling 999.


Going with your friend to the A&E at Addenbrookes Hospital (if you are in Cambridge)

The hospital is located on Hills Rd, Cambridge CB2 0QQ.

It would help your friend to be with someone when they go to A&E and for that someone to stay with them until they get the right support.

What happens in A&E?

  • You will be asked to check in at reception, provide your friend’s personal details and the reason for your visit;

  • A medical professional will talk to you (and them) about what happened and their feelings to decide on the support they need. It would be helpful if you or your friend mentioned they are experiencing a mental health crisis and asked to see the liaison psychiatry team; 

  • The outcomes could include receiving treatment while in A&E, transferring them to another ward in the hospital such as a mental health ward or being asked to return home.


Calling 111 option 2 on behalf of a friend

To access this service, your friend needs to be registered with a GP in Cambridgeshire or Peterborough.

  • Although ideally, your friend will make the call themselves, if they need help reaching out for help, you could call on their behalf. They will need to be with you and give their consent to speak for them. It is a good idea to put the phone on speaker so both you and your friend can contribute to the conversation; 

  • Specially-trained mental health staff will discuss with you and assess your friend’s mental health care needs;

  • Describe the situation the best you can and provide as much information as possible to assist the mental health professional to assess the situation and offer the right support;

  • Support may involve telephone support or a face-to-face assessment and, if appropriate, referrals to other CPFT services.


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