How can I help my suicidal friend?

My friend has tried to kill herself a number of times but doesn’t actually want to die, so why keep doing it? Can you suggest anything I can do to help her

You’re obviously very concerned for your friend. It sounds like she’s going through a lot at the moment, so it’s great that she trusts you enough to tell you how she’s feeling.

Although she’s attempted suicide, your friend says she doesn’t want to die. More often than not, people who are suicidal don’t actually want to die, they just want to put an end to the pain they’re experiencing.

There are some things you can do to help your friend, but please don’t feel that you have to deal with this on your own. Helping a friend who’s suffering can be hard, so try to make sure that you’ve got support too. (And always keep in mind that despite your help your friend is ultimately responsible for her own actions.)

One of the best things you can do for your friend is to be there to listen. Don’t be judgmental – just be there for her. Befrienders International have further information on its website about helping a friend who’s suicidal.

Your friend may also find it useful to talk to a professional counsellor about the way she’s feeling. Contacting Youth Access – the UKs largest provider of young people’s advice and counselling services – is a good place to start. They’ll be able to put her in touch with a counsellor in her area. Call 020 8772 9900 (from 9.30am to 1pm, and 2 to 5.30pm), or email [email protected].

If your friend finds it difficult to talk to someone face to face she may feel better about talking via a helpline or email. Samaritans have a 24-hour helpline offering confidential emotional support. Their number is 08457 909090 and their email address is [email protected].


Next Steps

  • Our Crisis Messenger provides free, 24/7 crisis support across the UK. If you’re aged 25 or under, you can text THEMIX to 85258
  • Papyrus supports young people who are feeling suicidal - you can call, email or text them. Call on 0800 068 41 41.
  • Mind offers advice and support to people with mental health problems. Their helpline runs nine to six from Monday to Friday. 0300 123 3393
  • Chat about this subject on our Discussion Boards.