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​Reaching out to those at risk of suicide

GPs in Southwark are encouraging local residents to consider the role that offering support may play in combating suicide.
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Reaching out to someone who is struggling can make a difference and this is the theme for this year’s World Suicide Prevention Day on Thursday 10 September.

Dr Nancy Kuchemann, local GP and clinical lead for mental health at NHS Southwark Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) said: “If you are worried that someone you know may be considering suicide, check in with them, ask them whether they are okay and try to listen to what they say in a non-judgemental way.

“Listening is the best way to help so try to encourage them to talk about how they are feeling, show them kindness and support, let them know you care and try to avoid offering solutions.

“This can all have a significant impact. Isolation increases the risk of suicide, while having strong social connections is protective against it, so being there for someone who has become disconnected can really help.”

Dr Kuchemann also said it was very important to reach out to those who have been bereaved by suicide. “Suicide is devastating for families, friends and community members who are left behind.

“Those bereaved by suicide may experience a whole range of emotions, including grief, anger, guilt, disbelief and self-blame, but they may not feel that they can share these overwhelming feelings with anyone.”

Sometimes there may be obvious signs that someone is at risk of attempting suicide. However, this is often not the case.

A person may be at high risk of attempting suicide if they:

  • threaten to hurt or kill themselves 
  • talk or write about death, dying or suicide
  • actively look for ways to kill themselves, such as stockpiling tablets

If you are feeling suicidal, there are people you can talk to who want to help:

  • speak to a friend, family member or someone you trust as they may be able to help you calm down and find some breathing space
  • call the Samaritans 24-hour support service on 08457 90 90 90
  • go to, or call, your nearest accident and emergency (A&E) department and tell the staff how you are feeling
  • contact NHS 111
  • make an urgent appointment to see your GP

World Suicide Prevention Day (WSPD) is organised by the International Association for Suicide Prevention and the World Health Organisation. More information about WSPD can be found at

More information on how you can support someone who may be considering suicide, including other warning signs, can be found on the NHS Choices website at