To mark World Suicide Prevention Day on 10 September, our charity partner Samaritans is encouraging people not to be afraid to talk about suicidal thoughts and feelings if they are worried about someone, as well as highlighting the importance of the language we use when we talk about suicide

Every 90 minutes, someone in the UK or Ireland takes their own life.

Evidence shows that asking someone if they’re suicidal doesn’t make things worse, it can protect people, as it provides a crucial opportunity to open up, express their feelings and seek help.

If someone does let you know they are having suicidal thoughts, always take them seriously. You don’t have to be an expert, just being there to listen and showing you care can help them work through what’s going on. Let them know they’re not a burden and there’s always someone they can turn to – whether it’s a family member or friend, or a 24/7 helpline like Samaritans.

Using the right language around suicide is also important, and key to breaking down stigma. When we use our words carefully, we can create a safe environment for people to open up.

Here are some DOs and DON’Ts to remember:

  • Don’t share or repost anything that talks about suicide or self-harm in an unsafe way online
  • Do report content you think might be harmful
  • Do post sources of support and share stories of hope and recovery
  • Don’t mention the method or location of a suicide; there’s evidence that this can lead to further suicides
  • If you’re worried about someone, do ask if they’re feeling suicidal, and help them get the support they need
  • Don’t use language that could come across as judgmental. For example, ‘don’t do anything stupid’.
  • Don’t say committed suicide. ‘Committed’ suggests suicide is illegal, which it isn’t.
  • Do say took his/her/their own life or died by suicide.
  • Don’t share or repost anything that talks about suicide or self-harm in an unsafe way online
  • Do report content you think might be harmful

It’s OK to ask about suicidal thoughts. It could save a life.

When Paul reached his lowest point, he felt it was impossible to open up. He was working in a place where he thought he would be seen as weak if he told someone he was struggling, so he kept silent. Eventually, having thoughts about suicide, Paul reached out to Samaritans. He says that call saved his life:

“Suicide is something that isn’t talked about, but the more we can have this conversation, normalise it and speak amongst ourselves, the more we can actually help each other and feel it’s OK not to be OK. If I didn’t break the silence – if I didn’t take steps to obtain help and understand myself – then I probably wouldn’t be here today.” Paul, Samaritans caller

If you feel anxious about asking someone if they’re suicidal and worried about saying the wrong thing, just being there and letting someone know you care can help. You can read more advice on Samaritans website here and download the charity’s ‘Little tips’ PDF here (insert your link to asset).

Remember, you’re not alone. Samaritans is there day or night, for anyone who’s struggling to cope, who needs someone to listen without judgement or pressure. If you’re struggling, you can contact Samaritans any time of the day or night by phoning 116 123 or emailing