“Some suicides do happen very quickly, but for others that are planned over time there may be warning signs, these include…”

  • Talking a lot about death.
  • Saying things like “there’s no point any more.”
  • What is called ruminative thoughts, if someone had a breakup five years ago and they are still always thinking about it, this would be an example of ruminative thoughts.
  • Suddenly getting better after a long history of depression. Usually, this is not a good sign, because it means they have made a decision to end it and the reason they may be happy is they think their pain is over.
  • Giving away prized possessions for no apparent reason.
  • Sudden and unexplained desire to buy weapons.
  • Writing goodbye notes.
  • Significant negative changes/events, such as a relationship break up.
  • Talking about wanting to die by suicide.
  • Feeling hopeless.


If ever you notice any of the signs mentioned previously, or if you feel that something is not right then you should explicitly ask “Are you planning to kill yourself?” You may want to start by saying what you have seen. For example, you may say “I’ve noticed that you have been looking sad all the time. I heard you say just now, “There is no way anything will ever get better.” This might be a really tough question but are you planning to end your life?”

Most people are comfortable if they get the answer “No, I’m not planning to kill myself.” It’s the yes response that fills people with fear. But sometimes we need to put aside our own comfort to help someone.

If someone does say they are suicidal a really good way to respond is by saying “I am so glad you told me that.”

Next you need to make a plan to keep them safe, if they are planning to take their life that day you need to get them to see someone urgently, if you are not sure where to take some a GP is a really good place to start, if you can’t get an appointment that day explain that it is urgent.

If they are in danger of taking their life do not leave them alone until more help comes.

If they are planning to take their life then and there and they are in immediate danger you need to call 111.

If you are ever unsure what to do you can ring Healthline, 0800 611 116

Or Lifeline for advice 0800 543 354

You don’t need to be sure someone is suicidal, before you ask them, if you ever suspect it, but are not sure it is better to be safe than sorry.

This page has a more detailed explanation of how to help someone, https://www.beingatruehero.com/samplechapter.html