They’ve phoned me before to make sure that I am ok when things got really bad, or they have calmed me down enough that I start feeling more level headed about my problems.
Signs someone may need support
Sometimes people do want to talk about their problems, and often put out signals which might help you recognise they are struggling to cope:
- making leading statements, such as 'You wouldn't believe what I've been through' or 'It's like the whole world is against me'. People sometimes say these things in the hope you will pick up on them and ask what they mean, so that they can talk about it.
- being irritable or nervous
- a change in routine, such as sleeping or eating more or less than normal
- drinking, smoking or using drugs more than usual
- being un-typically clumsy or accident prone
- becoming withdrawn or losing touch with friends and family
- losing interest in their appearance, such as no longer washing or dressing badly
- negative statements about themselves, such as 'Oh, no one loves me', or 'I'm a waste of space', even if it sounds like they are joking.
If you're worried about someone, you can ask them how they are, or ask us to contact them.
Ask them how they are yourself
Don't be afraid to approach someone you think might be struggling to cope.
Many people do want a chance to talk about their problems, but don’t want to burden anyone around them.
You don’t have to be able to solve their problem, or even to completely understand it, but listening to what they have to say will at least let them know you care.
Ask Samaritans to contact them
If you can, first try to encourage them to contact us directly, as this will put them in more control of when and how they talk to us.
When we contact them, we can tell the person that you asked us to get in touch, or keep you anonymous if you prefer.
We won’t tell you anything the person you’re worried about shares with us, or whether they wanted our support. The only information we can share with you is whether or not we managed to reach them.
You can ask us to contact whoever you’re worried about by phone, email, text or letter, and we’ll contact them in the way you suggest with the details you provide.
If we call then and somebody else picks up, we won’t leave a message.
- Information on suicide and self-harm for parents
- How to start a difficult conversation
- How to prepare and respond to suicide in schools