Talking About Suicide

Suicide is a taboo subject, however, talking about it in an appropriate and sensitive manner is hugely important.

Much alike the wider conversation around mental health, talking about suicide may help someone who feels isolated in their thoughts, feelings or experiences. Individuals suffering with suicidal thoughts, suicide attempt survivors and those bereaved by suicide could all benefit from the support talking can bring with it.

However, it can be a triggering topic, which is why it isn’t as simple as opening up the conversation – we must also get the dialogue right. Within our Model of Care, we focus a lot on the importance of the words we use and our body language.

Don’t be afraid to be direct

When it comes to talking about suicide, your instinct may be to tiptoe around the subject. However, it is better to ask simple, direct, but, still sensitively-worded questions. Through this method, the individual will be provided with the opportunity to share how they are feeling. In fact, according to Mind UK, research has actually shown that speaking openly about suicide can decrease the likelihood of the person acting on their feelings.

Practice active listening

Active listening is almost like an enhanced way of doing what we all do every day, it’s a way of using techniques to give someone the space and time needed to open up.  Once someone starts to be honest with you about their feelings, it’s important to listen carefully and refrain from making the conversation about yourself. The Samaritans utilise the acronym ‘SHUSH’ to remember key tips for active listening (see below, or read more here).

Be mindful and kind

Whilst it is important to be direct, as we have already mentioned, it is still vital that you are mindful of what you say. For example, if you are talking to a survivor of suicide or someone who has been bereaved through suicide, be mindful of asking about potentially triggering details. Instead, focus on how the individual is feeling, actively listen and provide emotional support for them. 

Use the correct terminology

Some of the terminology we use today originates in the days when suicide was viewed as a criminal act. These days, our understanding of mental health conditions has changed, and thus, it’s important that we steer away from using both ancient and harmful words/phrases. Take a look at the image below for ideas of the what you shouldn’t say, and what you could say instead.

These tips have been based on professional advice, and will not only help you in speaking to someone who has suicidal thoughts, but help to also break the stigma still attached to it. By opening up the lines of communication and being sensitive about the subject, we can give more people the space needed to be honest in times of need.

For more suggestions and resources, whether you’re worried about someone else or yourself, click here.

Supporting a Friend With Mental Illness

Building and maintaining healthy friendships is an important part of an individual’s journey to improved mental health.

Unfortunately, it can be difficult to know exactly how to support friends who are struggling. Here, we have rounded up six simple tips to help you support your friend.

Firstly, try to encourage communication and create a safe space for them to discuss how they feel. People who are dealing with a mental illness may not always be forthcoming in talking about their emotions. Therefore, be prepared to start the conversation rather than waiting for them to come to you. You can create a communication safe space by ensuring it is somewhere they are comfortable, and with few distractions around.

When you are talking with your friend about their mental health, try not to make assumptions or diagnose them. Their diagnosis and subsequent solutions are areas best left to their healthcare professionals.

When communicating with a friend about their mental health, listen to what they are saying and validate their feelings. We recently did a blog post about the importance on empathy, which may help you understand how to be validating in what you say.

If your friend is not already seeking professional help, you may want to encourage them to visit their GP. Try to remain supportive of their choices, whether they decide to engage in counselling or wish to try medication alongside therapy sessions. Different approaches work for different people, and what worked for your brother’s girlfriend’s cousin, may not work for your friend.

Above all these tips, one small, but infinitely supportive, act you can do is check-in with your friend on a regular, unprompted basis. Some people who are currently struggling with their mental health may not feel able to reach out to people. However, a simple text (‘Hi, how are you? x’) may help them from becoming isolated or lonely. It will also remind them that people care for their wellbeing.

Finally, you must remember to know your own boundaries and take care of your own wellbeing. Sometimes it’s not in our power or best interests to help someone. In cases like this, you must be mindful of maintaining your own mental health first and foremost. 

For more help on this topic, please see below:

Helping Children Manage Stress: Top Tips


Children are not immune to the effects of stress, but there are ways you can help them manage these feelings.

Throughout our lives, we will often encounter stressful times, which is very normal. Learning to cope with this early on can equip children with the tools to manage later in life. Here, we share some helpful tips to assist in building up your child’s stress management ‘toolkit’.


It’s always important to encourage children to talk about how they are feeling, but it is especially important during difficult times. There are many ways you can put your child at ease when discussing their emotions, for example, make sure you get down to their level or lower, and ensure you give them your full attention. Additionally, refrain from assuming what your child is feeling, and instead take the time to truly listen and respect their emotions. For more tips on how to talk to your child about their feelings in the most effective way, check out our previous blog.


Maintaining a routine can be reassuring for children during times of stress or change. Routine can be as simple as meals being at the same time each day, or more complex if your child would benefit from this. For older children, you may find value in creating a schedule alongside your child as a way of exercising their ability to take responsibility for themselves. However, it’s important to remember that having routine doesn’t have to be boring or rigid – remember to include fun and relaxation.


Encourage your child to care for their own wellbeing, and follow suit by displaying how you also practice self-care. There are lots of ways you could go about doing this, depending on the situation and specific needs of your child. You may take half an hour in the day to do some quieter activities like colouring, reading or child-friendly yoga. Additionally, take time to practice self-care on a basic level – through eating a balanced diet, maintaining good hygiene and enjoying daily exercise.


Allowing your child to act like a child is vital to maintaining their wellbeing – and it can also do wonders for your own wellbeing. Find time each day to do something nice together, such as playing a game, watching a film or enjoying an outdoor activity. Children are also often very happy to sit alone and play, so don’t place pressure on yourself to continually engage in complicated fun family activities.

These tips are designed to give you some ideas of how you may help your child cope with stress during difficult times. However, naturally each child is unique, and what may be helpful for one may not be for another.

Maintaining Your Wellbeing During Isolation

For some people, self-isolation may seem like a dream come true and for others, it may seem like a nightmare. However, the reality is that social distancing and self-isolation for those with symptoms is the current government advice for reducing the spread of Covid-19.

Those with mental health difficulties may find this particularly challenging, especially with the level of uncertainty we are currently experiencing. This makes it all the more important that we practice self-care, whatever that means to you, and maintain our wellbeing at this time. But, how do we manage this when our movement is so limited?


Maintain structure & routine

It may seem boring, but having structure and sticking to your usual routine can provide huge comfort and reduce stress levels. Naturally, your day will be different when isolating, but you can come up with a new structure whilst maintaining some similarity with your normal routine. 

For example, if you usually get up at 8am and have breakfast, then continue to do this regardless of whether you need to be up at that time. Then, rather than travelling to college or work, you could use that same time to do some light morning exercise. When you may be studying, you could instead read a book, get your creative juices flowing or even learn a new language.


Get active

It certainly won’t make everything better, but a little exercise can improve your mood for a variety of different reasons. This doesn’t have to be running a marathon or hitting it hard at the gym, it can just mean dancing around the room to your favourite tunes or following a simple workout video.

Not only is exercise good for improving you mood, but some forms of exercise, such as Yoga and Pilates can help you sleep better. This is especially useful when you may find your sleep cycle impacted by anxiety.

Use the internet sensibly

Having access to so much at our fingertips is pretty amazing, but it can also make it hard to ever switch off. During particularly turbulent times, it can be easy to get sucked into the cycle of news and constant stream of opinions. However, instead focus on limiting your news intake and stick to trustworthy sources such as BBC news.

Check out uplifting news stories to remind yourself of the good in the world or take a look through mental health & wellbeing website ‘Happiful‘, where they share helpful tips for living a healthier, happier life. Plus, consider tailoring your social media feeds to featuring only those who make you feel good, such as ‘Smart Girls‘, ‘I Weigh‘, ‘BodyPosiPanda‘ or ‘Happsters’.

Get creative

Getting creative has many benefits for your wellbeing, however, one key advantage is that you can let those creative juices flow even during isolation! Additionally, there can be a real sense of achievement and pride once you have made something

There are so many ways you can get creative, from writing and colouring in to origami and candle-making!


Keep connected

Of course, keeping connected is hugely hindered by socially distancing, but it doesn’t mean you have to be totally isolated, you just need to be a little more crafty with how you connect with friends and family. Whether this means using new methods or taking it back to the traditional method of picking up the phone, it’s all helpful in combatting loneliness.

Additionally, if you have access to Netflix, there is an add-on Google Chrome feature where you can watch your favourite shows or films along with your friends and family – virtually!