Welcome to the OutUK series looking at gay men and their health brought to you in association with the NHS website.
Each week we'll tackle a different topic in our A to Z of Gay Health. We'll have features and advice on everything from relationships, sexual health, mental and physical conditions and how to stay fit. You can follow any of links provided below for more information direct from the NHS website, or view any of our Previous A to Z Features.
You should also know that OutUK has produced a special report about: Coronavirus Covid-19.

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This Week - S : Suicidal Thoughts

If you're feeling like you want to end your life, it's important to tell someone.

Help and support is available right now if you need it. You do not have to struggle with difficult feelings alone.

Phone a helpline

These free helplines are there to help when you're feeling down or desperate.

Unless it says otherwise, they're open 24 hours a day, every day.

You can also call these helplines for advice if you're worried about someone else.

NHS 111
Call 111 - 24 hours every day

Samaritans - for everyone
Call 116 123
Email jo@samaritans.org

Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM)
Call 0800 58 58 58 - 5pm to midnight every day
Visit the webchat page

Papyrus - prevention of young suicide HOPELINE247
Call 0800 068 41 41
Text 07860 039967
Email pat@papyrus-uk.org

Childline - for children and young people under 19
Call 0800 1111 - the number will not show up on your phone bill

SOS Silence of Suicide - for everyone
Call 0808 115 1505 - 8pm to midnight Monday to Friday, 4pm to midnight Saturday and Sunday
Email contact@sossilenceofsuicide.org

Message a text line

If you do not want to talk to someone over the phone, this text line is open 24 hours a day, every day.

Shout - for everyone

Text "SHOUT" to 85258

Talk to someone you trust

Let family or friends know what's going on for you. They may be able to offer support and help keep you safe.

There's no right or wrong way to talk about suicidal feelings - starting the conversation is what's important.

Who else you can contact

If you find it difficult to talk to someone you know, you could:

  • call a GP - ask for an emergency appointment
  • call NHS 111 or get help from NHS 111 online - they will help you find the support and help you need
  • contact your mental health crisis team - if you have one

Is your life in danger?

If you have seriously harmed yourself - for example, by taking a drug overdose - or you feel that you may be about to harm yourself, call 999 for an ambulance or go straight to A&E.

Or ask someone else to call 999 or take you to A&E.

Tips for coping right now

  • try not to think about the future - just focus on getting through today
  • stay away from drugs and alcohol
  • get yourself to a safe place, like a friend's house
  • be around other people
  • do something you usually enjoy, such as spending time with a pet

See more tips from Rethink

Worried about someone else?

If you're worried about someone, try to get them to talk to you. Ask open-ended questions like: "How do you feel about...?"

Do not worry about having the answers. Just listening to what someone has to say and taking it seriously can be more helpful.

See Samaritans' tips on how to support someone you're worried about

Read Rethink's advice on how to support someone who is having suicidal thoughts

Making a safety plan

If you struggle with suicidal thoughts or are supporting someone else, it may help to make a safety plan to use if you need it:

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We'll have more information and advice next week on another topic in our A to Z of Gay Health. We have covered many subjects in this series and you can catch up with all of our Previous A to Z Features.

If you want to find out more about this week's subject you can visit the Original article on the NHS website. If you are worried by any aspect of your health make sure you go and see your doctor or book an appointment at your local clinic.

Photos: LightFieldStudios and one of VladOrlov, Stockcube, darak77, ajr_images or rawpixel.com.


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