If you are concerned about a child doing something to harm themselves you should call 999 immediately. If you need immediate help because a child is hurt or has taken an overdose phone 999. If a child is having a mental health crisis and does not think they can cope, make sure they are not on their own. You can also phone 0808 196 3779 the Nottinghamshire Mental Health Crisis Line, 24/7.
SHOUT is a free, confidential, anonymous text support service for anyone struggling to cope, available 24/7. Text NOTTS to 85258.
If a child you know is having thoughts about suicide...
If a child you know is feeling down and can see no way out, if they are thinking and talking about killing themselves, let them know there is help there for them. Lots of people have felt like this and have been able to access help and support and begin a journey to feeling mentally well again.
Talk to the child and make sure they are not on their own. If they don’t want to talk to you, encourage them to talk to someone else they trust. There are lots of helplines they can phone or text – Check out our Get Help Now links on this page.
These are some warning signs that a child might be having suicidal thoughts:
- Always talking or thinking about death, wanting to die, feeling trapped or expressing a desire to end their life.
- Isolation and withdrawal from friends, family and activities that once brought them joy
- Intense feelings of persistent sadness
- Feeling hopeless or worthless
- Having trouble sleeping
- Loss of appetite
- Engaging in reckless behaviours which could be life endangering/threatening.
How to talk to a child about suicidal thoughts
- Create a safe, calm and non-judgemental space for them to feel comfortable sharing their thoughts with you.
- Let them know you are glad they’ve told you.
- Listen and empathise with just how bad things are
- Ask open ended questions and explore together what is making them feel this way.
- Try to get a sense of what their thoughts are like. It’s important to find out whether they have an intent or plan to attempt suicide, for example they may have thought about how, when or where they will do it or researched methods and strategies online. This is the biggest sign they are at risk of making an attempt and you need to seek urgent professional help.
- Seek professional mental help support after the conversation about what to do next and seek support for yourself. Check out our Get Help Now links on this page.
- Follow up and maintain open communication with your child and let them know that seeking help is a sign of strength and bravery and you will support them throughout their journey to feeling mentally well again.