Concerned about suicide?


If you or someone you know is in distress or despair, there are a range of services available to help.

Lifeline is the Northern Ireland crisis response helpline service for people who are experiencing distress or despair. Please contact their 24 hour support helpline on 0808 808 8000.

Please also refer to our mental health contacts for other organisations you can contact for more help on a wide range of practical and emotional support services.

If you believe you are feeling low / suicidal

If you think you might harm yourself, seek help immediately. You should:

  • Call 999
  • Call Lifeline on 0808 808 8000
  • Get someone to take you to your local emergency department. 

If you have suicidal thoughts, don’t try to manage it on your own. There are things you can do to keep yourself safe:

  • Seek help early/talk to someone - Please refer to our mental health contacts and support groups sections.
  • Postpone any decision to end your life - Many people find if they postpone big decisions for just 24 hours things improve, they feel better able to cope and they find the support they need.
  • Avoid being alone (especially at night) - Stay with a family member or friend or have someone stay with you until your thoughts of suicide decrease.
  • Develop a safety plan - Come up with a plan that you can put into action at any time, for example have a friend or family member agree that you will call them when you are feeling overwhelmed or distressed.
  • Avoid drugs and alcohol when you are feeling down - Alcohol and many drugs are depressants and can make you feel worse, they don’t help solve problems and can make you do things you wouldn’t normally do.
  • See your local doctor or a specialist to discuss support or treatment - Discuss your suicidal thoughts with your doctor, talk about ways to keep yourself safe. Ask your GP or Lifeline about help for suicidal thoughts.
  • Set yourself small goals to help you move forward and feel in control.
  • Set goals even on an hour by hour or day by day basis – write them down and cross them off as you achieve them.

I'm worried someone I know may be feeling suicidal

What to do:

  • Do something. Take warning signs seriously. Reaching out could save a life. Seek urgent help if it is needed by calling 999 or take the person to your nearest emergency department or call Lifeline 0808 808 8000
  • Ask if they are thinking of suicide. Talking about suicide will not put the idea into their head but will encourage them to talk about their feelings. Don’t agree to keep it a secret since the person’s safety is your main concern
  • Acknowledge your reaction. You might panic or want to ignore the situation. If you are struggling, get the help of a trusted friend
  • Be there for them. Spend time with the person, encourage them to talk about how they are feeling, identify who they can call on for support and encourage the person to agree to get further support
  • Check out their safety. Ask how much thought the person has put into taking their own life. If you are really worried don’t leave the person alone. Remove any means of suicide available including weapons, medications, alcohol and other drugs, even access to a car
  • Decide what to do. Discuss together what action to take. You may need the help of others (partners, parents, close friends or someone else) to persuade the person to get professional help. Only by sharing this information can you make sure the person gets the help and support they need
  • Take action. Encourage the person to get help from a local health professional such as a GP, counsellor or telephone helpline service
  • Ask for a promise. Ask the person to promise they will tell someone if suicidal thoughts return. This will make it more likely they will seek help
  • Look after yourself. It is difficult and emotionally draining to support someone who is suicidal, don’t do it on your own. Find someone to talk to, friends, family or a health professional
  • Stay involved. Thoughts of suicide do not disappear easily. The continuing involvement of family and friends is very important to the person’s recovery.

Bereaved by Suicide Support Project (over 18s)  

When someone close dies by suicide, those left behind have to deal with an overwhelming range of practical and emotional issues. The Northern Trust's Bereaved by Suicide Support Project is funded by the Public Health Agency to provide one to one counselling for families and friends as well as developing bereavement support groups across the communities.

For further information contact:
Danielle Gallagher
Bereaved Suicide Project Worker
Health Improvement
Community Development Service
The Naomi Centre
2 Cullybackey Road
BT43 5DF
028 2563 6607

Barnardo’s Children and Young People Bereaved by Suicide Support Project

The project works with individual children and young people, with groups and on residentials. It includes family and peer support, training those working with children and young people bereaved by suicide and provide support and advice to parents and carers.

For further information contact:

Michelle Scullion
Barnardos Senior Practitioner  
077 9614 8549

For further information and guidance on suicide prevention and support services, please refer to our useful links and leaflets and contacts.

Page last updated:23 December 2014