I’m worried about someone

Lifeline is always here to give advice Available 24/7
If someone is in immediate danger of suicide or needs immediate medical attention, call 999.

If you are worried that someone is struggling or might be thinking about suicide and you aren’t sure how to talk to them, you can call Lifeline on 0808 808 8000. Textphone users can contact 18001 0808 808 8000. Interpreting support is available.  Our trained counsellors will support you to take your next step.

Signs that someone you know may be struggling

We can all recognise when someone is having difficulties coping. Often it is a change in someone’s behaviour that you will notice first:

  • They may be more irritable than normal, with the smallest thing causing them to get annoyed with themselves or others around them.
  • They may be spending more time alone and not want to go out and do the things they normally enjoy doing.
  • They may complain of feeling tired and have disturbed sleep patterns.
  • They may be skipping meals or eating more than normal.
  • You may notice that they are misusing alcohol or drugs, or taking days off work, school or college.
  • They may be making arrangements, such as giving away prize possessions (such as pets or family heirlooms).
  • They may talk about not wanting to be around or that people would be better off without them.

Remember, we are all different and not everyone will display all of these signs.

If you are worried or concerned about someone else, talk to them about your concerns. Ask them how they are feeling and if there is anything you can do to help them. Tell them that you have noticed that they haven’t been themselves recently. The worst thing that can happen is that they will tell you to mind your own business, but at least they will see that you cared enough to ask.

You can also download and print the leaflet Concerned about suicide.

I’m a relative or friend

Friends and family can play an important role in helping someone who is struggling with their mental health or feeling suicidal. 

Many things affect why someone might feel like this. It can be difficult to watch someone you are close to go through these intense feelings, but remember most people who feel like this do recover. If you see signs that someone is struggling, you can help them by asking if they are okay, being willing to listen and getting them help if they need it.

Family and friends can call Lifeline on 0808 808 8000, if they are worried about someone and need advice on what to do next. Textphone users can contact 18001 0808 808 8000. Interpreting support is available. 

Lifeline counsellors can also work with you to try and resolve the crisis your friend or family member is experiencing. This may include helping you seek support from:

  • the emergency services
  • a health professional
  • a trusted friend or family member
  • another professional

If the reason you phone Lifeline is not an immediate crisis, we can work with the person you are worried about as long as they have agreed to you sharing their details. Lifeline will then call the person within 24 hours to offer support. 

I’m a parent

Lifeline counsellors are experienced in supporting children and young people who may be struggling with their emotions. Some of our counsellors have undertaken further specialist training in trauma-informed counselling for children and young people. Lifeline can also support parents by providing advice and guidance in relation to their child.

Lifeline supports people of all ages. This means children and young people can contact Lifeline on 0808 808 8000, if they are struggling with their emotions or thinking about causing harm to themselves. Textphone users can contact 18001 0808 808 8000. Interpreting support is available.  

I’m supporting someone

Lifeline can provide support and guidance to a range of professionals, including teachers, youth workers, clergy, community and voluntary sector employees and many more. 

Those supporting someone are able to refer people to Lifeline, with permission from the person they are referring. Lifeline will then work with all parties to determine the best course of follow-up action, which may include an outreach call to the person within a specified timeframe to offer support. When Lifeline contacts the individual, they will jointly explore the risks and support the individual to understand their thoughts and feelings, aiming to provide the right support at the right time.

Lifeline can offer immediate and short-term support to those referred by someone else which may include:

  • safety check-in calls, including ongoing collaborative development of safety plans
  • support calls, to improve understanding of support available and how to access this

I’m a healthcare professional

Lifeline works closely with other healthcare professionals to ensure people get the support they need when experiencing a crisis. Like everyone, healthcare professionals are able to refer people to Lifeline, with permission from the person they are referring. 

Making a referral to Lifeline is straightforward and takes approximately 20 minutes. Simply ring Lifeline on 0808 808 8000 and our counsellors will guide you through the process. We aim to gather some basic information about the individual you are referring, and determine the most appropriate course of action.

Last updated:
20 January 2023