Suicide is when a person takes their own life.
Suicidal thoughts are when a person thinks about and or plans to end their life. These thoughts include; thoughts of ending your life, feeling that others would be better off without you and planning ways to end your life.
Suicidal thoughts may present themselves as feeling:
- desperate like you have no choice
- overwhelmed by feelings of negativity
- unwanted or unneeded by others
- hopeless like there is no point in living
There is no one reason or cause for suicide or suicidal thoughts. There are many things that may lead a person to consider taking their own life.
Some of these include:
- Difficult life events
- Struggling to cope with life
- Feeling alone, isolated, hopeless, or like things may not get better
- Difficulties understanding people’s behaviour and expectations
- Poor physical or mental health
- Long-term illness
- Trauma or stressful experiences (relationships, financial issues, work issues)
- Repetitive cycles of thought, may lead to an intense focus on suicide
- Difficulties recognising, managing, and regulating emotion
- Psychiatric conditions; including depression, anxiety disorders, Bipolar Affective disorder (BAD) and others
- Delays in receiving an assessment for autism
- Difficulties accessing support
- Difficulties securing and or maintaining employment
When a person says they are feeling suicidal or are considering taking their own life, it is important to take it seriously.
If an autistic person tells you that they are suicidal, it is even more important to believe them, this is because they may not show signs that people typically expect. This could be because:
- they have differences communicating and interacting with other people
- they find it difficult to communicate their thoughts
- they may not want to/ or feel able to talk about it
If you or someone you know is thinking about suicide, it is important to get help now. Talk to the Samaritans on 116 123 anytime of day, 24 hours a day.
If there is an immediate risk to life call 999 or go to any hospital accident and emergency (A&E) department.
There are a few warning signs to look out for if you are worried about a person ending their life. Some of these include:
- Making material preparations such as storing up medication
- Preparing a Will
- Giving away possessions, especially items known to be of significance to the individual
- Changes in weight/appetite
- Lack of self-care. For example, personal hygiene
- Behaving in an erratic or reckless manner, compared to normal
It is important to get help and support, and you can do this in a number of ways:
- Speak to your GP for help and advice or call 111
- Talk to a friend, family member or someone you trust and tell them how you are feeling
- Speak to someone confidentially:
If there is a risk to life call 999 or go to any hospital A&E department.
Further support services
Central Access Point
If you are in need of urgent NHS mental health support, you should call the Mental Health Central Access Point which is open 24/7.
Call: 0808 800 3302
Whatever you’re going through, you can call Samaritans any time, from any phone for free on:
Challenging Behaviour Foundation
The Family Support Service can provide information and support about the needs of your family member with a severe learning disability. The support is confidential, and they won’t judge you or tell you what to do.
For families and professionals caring for children and adults with severe learning disabilities and challenging behaviour.
Telephone: 0300 666 0126
PAPYRUS, Prevention of Young Suicide, is the UK charity dedicated to the prevention of suicide and the promotion of positive mental health and emotional wellbeing in young people. Phone services are operated by Hopeline UK
Telephone: 08000 684 141
Mind provide advice and support to empower anyone experiencing a mental health problem. Discover specific advice for supporting someone who feels suicidal here.