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The University of Southampton
Enabling ServicesPart of Student Services

Suicidal thoughts

Suicidal feelings can be powerful, frightening and immediate, but with the right support you can overcome them.

Suicide may seem to be the only way out of overwhelming pain. But even an extreme state of pain will ease, and there are other ways to cope.

Talk to someone

If you are worried that you are feeling suicidal, then talking to someone can really help. There are people that can help you make sense of what you are feeling and work with you to identify support. Give yourself the time you need. You can be talking to an advisor within a few minutes.

Remember that it is all right to ask for help and although it can be difficult to see this at the time, you are not alone. Others who have felt suicidal have found it helpful to talk, and many people have suicidal thoughts and feelings but take no action to harm themselves. Talking things through can help alleviate feelings of hopelessness or being overwhelmed. There is no evidence that talking about these thoughts may make them worse.

If you feel unable to tell someone close to you how you are feeling, or if you feel that you feel that you might act to end your life, then calling a confidential support line can help you get through the immediate crisis.

Samaritans: 08457 909090

Papyrus: 08000 68 41 41

Contact Enabling Services for help with getting support.

Tell someone

People can feel worthless or hopeless about the future, or believe that no one cares about them, or even that the world would be better without them. You may be able to convince others that all is well, while really you hope someone will notice your pain. But unless you tell someone they will have no idea how you are feeling inside.

Talk to a doctor, preferably your GP, or another person about your suicidal thoughts and feelings. The first time you speak about them will be scary, but just taking that step will reduce their power. Remember this can happen to anybody – you are not alone. Do not expect to feel all right immediately. But that first step of talking about your feelings is often the most important as well as the hardest step.

If you start to feel an overwhelming urge to kill yourself, you must tell someone without delay, at any time of day or night. Ask them to stay with you or on the phone until the feelings pass.

Be prepared for your bad thoughts

Try to recognise when your bad thoughts are likely to come and prepare for them. There are things you can do such as being active, just being with people, or doing something you enjoy. Recall some good things that happened today. Just thinking about suicidal thoughts a bit less often may help. It can help you realise that the battle can be won.

Don’t take risks and look after yourself

Sometimes you may feel that you don’t care whether you live or die. This mentality can be dangerous for you and for others. Be aware, think carefully, and avoid engaging in risky and dangerous behaviour.

Look after yourself physically by avoiding alcohol and drugs. Eat regularly. Take exercise – it is known to help with depression. Spend time in the daylight and try to stay up until night time. Structure your day with work, lectures, study times, and time with friends.

Write a list of phone numbers of those you can turn to for help. This might include friends, family, tutors, Enabling Services, your GP, The Samaritans, or Nightline. Keep it with you or enter the numbers into your mobile phone. 

If you need immediate emergency help you can call 999, or you can go to your nearest accident and emergency department and tell the staff how you are feeling. You can also phone your doctor's surgery to make an urgent appointment.


Tel: 08457 909090


NHS 111

For medical help and advice in situations which are not life-threatening. Open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Tel: 111


Tel: 08000 68 41 41

Students Against Depression

Helpful guidance on helping you survive suicidal thoughts with information on making sense of suicide and how to get help.


Tel: 0300 123 3393


Information on why you may be having suicidal feelings and some options to help you look forward and break the cycle of negative thoughts.

Get Connected

Tel: 0808 808 4994

Get Connected is the UK's free, confidential helpline service for young people under 25 who need help, but don't know where to turn.


Tel: +44(0)23 8059 5236


A student-run listening service available 8pm – 8am during term time.

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