It can be very difficult to hear that your child or someone you care about might be feeling suicidal. It is 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 loved one 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 loved one 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 loved one 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 you think your loved one 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 Kings 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 child or loved one lives in halls of residence, 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 for every accommodation on campus, speak to a member of staff at the Reception Desk who can provide more details.
- Your child or loved on 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 the 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 can provide your child or loved with the right amount of support.
Helping your child or loved on through a tough period in their lives can be upsetting for you. It's important to remember that you should encourage your child or loved one to access all the help and support available to them, rather than to try and help them on your own.
It is our policy to empower students to communicate for themselves. We will not discuss the support students receive at King’s with a parent, relative or guardian unless the student requests that we do so. If a student wishes to have another person to communicate on their behalf, we will need signed express permission from the student to do so. If a parent, guardian or relative contacts us to discuss a student's support needs, we will inform them that we cannot discuss the case or take any action without the student's permission.
Other external resources:
- Minding your head has a range of tips with supporting a loved one with suicidal thoughts and a guide to spot the warning signs of someone at risk of committing suicide.
- 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.