Suicide and Self Harm

In an emergency, if you feel your life or someone else’s life is in danger, call 999, or go to your nearest Emergency Department (A&E) - In Buckinghamshire, this is Stoke Mandeville Hospital.

If you can’t do this by yourself, ask someone to help you. A mental health emergency should be taken as seriously as a physical one. You will not be wasting anyone’s time.

What are suicidal thoughts?

Fleeting suicidal thoughts are relatively common during periods of extreme stress. For most people, these last only for a very short time. For others, thinking about suicide is more prolonged, extremely frightening and overwhelming. Thoughts of suicide can be accompanied by:

  • feelings of intense loneliness or isolation
  • shame
  • guilt
  • regret and
  • failure.

People can believe others in their life would be better off without them. They believe that if they were to die, the pain and suffering they are feeling, and the distress they are causing to others would stop.

Suicide myths

There are many myths surrounding suicide. It’s important to remember that most people who feel suicidal do not actually want to die - they do not want to live the life they have. Often, feeling actively suicidal is temporary, even if someone has been feeling low, anxious or struggling to cope for a long period of time. Always take someone seriously if they talk about feeling suicidal. Helping them get the support they need could save their life.

What is self-harm?

Self-harm is when somebody intentionally damages or injures their body. Sometimes when people self-harm they intend to take their life. Often it's a way of coping with or expressing overwhelming emotional distress. Self-harm is often misunderstood and the subject can create anxiety for all those involved. This booklet explains more about self-harm including:

  • myths
  • self-help approaches and
  • sources of support.

How do I know if someone is struggling to cope?

You may notice changes in someone’s personality or behaviour, or they may appear no different to usual. It’s important to trust your gut instincts and keep an eye out for any signs they might not be ok. If something about the person doesn’t look or feel right, say something.

See our leaflet or visit The Samaritans to learn more about:

  • the signs of suicide and self-harm
  • how to have a conversation that could save a life and
  • where to go for help

What can I do to help?

If you are concerned about someone, contact The Samaritans on 116 123 (24 hours) and visit the Buckinghamshire Mind website.

If you are concerned about someone’s immediate safety:

  • Do not leave them on their own
  • Remove anything they could use to take their own life
  • Call 999 or take them to A&E

If you can, stay with them until they are seen by the mental health team.

Buckinghamshire Suicide Prevention Group

This is a group of professionals in Buckinghamshire who work together to help prevent suicide and self-harm. Members of the group include:

  • Buckinghamshire Council
  • Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire West Integrated Care Board
  • Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust
  • Thames Valley Police
  • Buckinghamshire Mind
  • Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide
  • The Samaritans and
  • Hectors House.

To read Buckinghamshire’s Suicide Prevention Action Plan, please click here.

Suicide Bereavement Support

If you or someone you love has been bereaved by suicide you can reach out to Amparo, your local suicide bereavement support service. It’s confidential, free and can be short term or long term, depending on what you feel you need.

Support can be provided one-to-one, to family groups, groups of work colleagues – whatever you prefer and is most appropriate to your situation. Amparo is currently offered by telephone or video link, in person, ‘walk and talk’ or in community venues, wherever you are most comfortable. You can refer at any stage in your bereavement or (with your permission) other agencies can make a referral on your behalf (your GP, the coroner, a police officer or a funeral director, for example).