Chooselife

The national strategy and action plan to prevent suicide in Scotland

Worried about someone?

If you are worried that someone is suicidal, ask them. It could save their life.

Most people thinking about suicide will try to let someone know. The key to helping is watching out for the warning signs and knowing what to do to help.

There are several signs to watch out for and remember everyone is different so if you are concerned, the best thing you can do is be there to listen.

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

  • appear stressed, anxious or depressed
  • don’t seem to be coping with any problems they may have
  • are distracted, moody or withdrawn
  • show marked changes in their eating, sleeping or drinking habits.

What you can do:

  • take all signs of distress seriously, even if the person seems to be living a normal life
  • ask the person about what’s troubling them
  • listen carefully to what they have to say
  • let them know you care

If it feels right, ask if they are thinking about suicide. It won’t put the thought in their head if it wasn’t there before, but it can be a big relief for them to be able to say, ‘Yes, I am’ and acknowledge they need help.

The Art of Conversation – a guide to talking, listening and reducing stigma

Our guide gives advice and tips on spotting suicidal signs, striking up difficult conversations around suicide and listening effectively.

Download the free Art of Conversation guide [PDF - 497KB]

Getting further help

For help and advice for the person you’re worried about call Breathing Space or Samaritans. You can even call them yourself to talk things through – dealing with suicide can be difficult.