Suicidal Ideation

If you are experiencing a mental health emergency, call the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) crisis team immediately on 0800 516171 or 999. They are available 24/7 and will support you through your crisis.

Though you may feel overwhelmed – it’s important to remember these feelings will pass.


What is suicidal ideation?

Suicidal ideation, also known as suicidal thoughts, is the process of having ideas, thoughts or contemplations about the possibility of ending one’s own life.

Thoughts of suicide can happen to anyone. People may feel suicidal because something has happened which feels too overwhelming for them to cope with. It may have been a situation that has been building over time, an accumulation of events, or a recent event.

Whatever the cause, thoughts of suicide may leave the person feeling isolated and alone, believing that people would be better off without them or that death is the only option to escape.

Thoughts of suicide aren’t permanent. Things can improve and people can find their motivation to keep going and their reasons for living.

What are the warning signs?

Many people with thoughts of suicide do not let their friends or family know directly how they are feeling, but often there are warning signs that someone may be feeling suicidal – signs we can be alert to.

What they might say:

  • Talking about wanting to die, feeling hopeless and trapped, having no reason to live
  • Talking about being a burden to others, or that everyone would be better off without them
  • Saying goodbye to friends and family as if they won’t be seeing them again
  • Constant negativity

How they might behave:

  • Unexpected mood changes such as suddenly being calm and happy after being down
  • Giving away/clearing out possessions or making a will
  • Researching suicide, ways to kill oneself or other suicide related web/social media use
  • Self-harming and risky behaviour, including increased use of alcohol/drugs
  • Withdrawing from friends and family
  • Lateness, carelessness
  • Changes in appetite or sleeping patterns
  • Losing interest in things, including their appearance

How might they be thinking or feeling

  • Out of control, trapped, helpless or that no other options are left
  • Feeling guilty, that they are a burden or that others would be better off without them
  • Extreme mood swings or sudden rage
  • Anxious, agitated or scared

What might be happening in their lives

  • A major loss or change
  • Losing control of their lives
  • Long term problems
  • Abuse, bullying, coercion or discrimination
  • An accumulation of events


What can help?





Supporting your child with suicidal ideation

If your child is struggling with suicidal thoughts, click on the link to find out how you can support them and places you can get help.





Further Information

  • Suicidal Ideation, what can help?

    Reaching out for support might feel scary – but it’s really important! No matter how you’re feeling, there is always hope. Talking about it is key. Speak to a trusted friend or family member, or contact our Therapy Service on to talk to one of our therapeutic counsellors. They can offer one-off drop-in appointments […]

    Find Out More