It can be very difficult to hear that your friend or someone you know might be feeling suicidal. It's also important to understand that suicidal thoughts can be triggered by a number of different experiences, such as moving to a new place, new friends, and worries about study and/or employment. 

You can help your friend to take the first step to getting help by listening to their experiences and encouraging them to access professional support as soon as possible.

If your friend is in immediate danger of harming themselves or is attempting to take their own life:

  • Visit the Accident & Emergency (A&E) department at your local hospital
  • Call 999 to request an ambulance if your friend is unable to reach the hospital themselves
  • If you live on or near campus, you can visit either the St Thomas Hospital or King’s College Hospital A&E departments for help and support.

What help & support is there on campus?

It takes a lot of courage for someone to talk about any suicidal feelings they’ve been experiencing. At King's we have a number of trained staff members available on campus to support students. Services on campus who can provide students with help during this difficult period include:

  • Disability Support Service for students who have (or think they have) a diagnosed learning disability or long-term medical condition.
  • If your friend might benefit from speaking to a professional in a confidential and relaxed space to talk about their feelings, they can arrange an appointment with the Counselling and Mental Health Team.
  • The Active Wellness scheme run by King's Sport, uses exercise as a form of therapy that can support mental health and a variety of other initiatives such as BeActive and King’s Move encourage students to use physical activity to support positive wellbeing. 
  • If your friend lives in halls of residence then they can speak to their Residence Welfare Lead, a specially trained member of staff who can provide welfare support to students. To find who the Residence Welfare Lead is in your friend's accommodation, speak to a member of staff at the Reception Desk who can provide more details.
  • Your friend can also get in touch with their personal tutor, who will refer them to specialist services through the Student of Concern process. Once their personal tutor or residence welfare lead submits a Student of Concern form, a member from Student Support and Wellbeing Services will get in touch to discuss their support needs further. This form will not be used in an emergency and should not replace emergency services, but will ensure that King’s provides your friend with the right amount of support.

Helping a friend through a tough period in their lives can be upsetting for you. It's important to remember that you should encourage your friend to access all the help and support available to them, rather than to try and help them on your own.

Other external resources: 

  • For help starting difficult conversations about mental health issues, Samaritans have plenty of tips and resources to support you.
  • Rethink provide advice and guidance on supporting a friend or loved one with suicidal thoughts.