Suicide in children and young adults

Suicide in children and young adults

This blog is all about suicide in children and young adults. Children and young people suffer emotional distress in the same way as adults do, but sometimes struggle to know whether their feelings are normal or how to access help to manage them. Despite efforts to give children and young people’s emotional and mental welfare a higher priority in schools, many are still hesitant to directly address suicide prevention.

Due to the stigma, silence, and misunderstandings surrounding suicide, it is frequently not a topic of everyday conversation. Additionally, not enough is being done to make suicide prevention training a top priority for all individuals who interact with children and young adults.

Children and teenagers spend a large part of their waking hours at school, where teachers and other staff have the opportunity to spot warning signs of potential suicide in students and are in a position to take appropriate action. Despite this, a lot of people are unclear of what to say or do. In fact, many are concerned that discussing suicide with their students could worsen the situation.

There is currently very little guidance for schools and colleges on how to prevent suicide and support those affected by it.

Why do people feel suicidal?

Suicidal thoughts might arise for any reason in anyone. It’s possible that anything that makes one person suicidal won’t have the same impact on another. But there are several risk factors that can make you more likely to have suicidal thoughts.  For example, you may experience suicidal feelings if you:

  • are depressed or have another mental illness
  • struggle with low self esteem
  • struggle with a physical health problem or chronic pain
  • use of drugs or alcohol, especially when you’re upset
  • feel anxious about pressures you face today or in the future
  • feel overwhelmed by expectations of you, for example to act a certain way or achieve certain things
  • feel under pressure from family, friends or your peers
  • feel alone and as if nobody cares about you
  • feel trapped and unable to escape from a situation
  • have experienced a traumatic event, or a difficult life experience

Occasionally, a side effect of some drugs for mental health is suicidal thoughts. Speak to your GP, psychiatrist, or chemist right away if you begin to feel suicidal thoughts soon after starting a mental health drug. Visit the medication pages for more information.

Suicidal thoughts and behaviours might emerge suddenly or over time. Suicidal thoughts are not necessarily associated with depression, despite the fact that we are aware of the connection between the two. Even when things seems to be going well, some people may experience these thoughts.

Research shows that young people who take their own life are more likely to have a history of self-harm, but self-harm is not necessarily a sign of feeling suicidal.

Suicidal thoughts can interfere with everyday activities to the point where it may be difficult for you to imagine ever feeling better. However difficult things seem right now, things will get better.

Whatever the cause of your suicidal thoughts, they are legitimate, and you should get support.

What are suicidal feelings?

It is a normal part of life to feel down and sad sometimes.

But if you’re struggling to deal with those emotions or they’ve grown extremely strong and intense and you’re at a loss for what to do, you might believe taking your own life is the only option. These could be classified as suicidal ideas or feelings.

Suicidal ideation is the term used to describe suicidal feelings or ideas. Both of these expressions can be used to describe how someone may feel and think about perhaps taking their own life.

If you are experiencing suicide feelings, thoughts, or ideation, remember that there is still hope for you and that you can get through this.

Are suicidal feelings common?

You’re not the only one who feels this way if you’re considering taking your own life; many people experience suicidal thoughts at some point in their lives. In fact, one in four young people, according to Papyrus (, is thought to have had suicidal thoughts. It’s crucial for you to understand that there are numerous approaches to coping with and getting through these emotions. Coming out the other side and feeling fine once more is feasible.

Over 200 teenagers are lost to suicide every year in the UK.

Warning signs of suicidal feelings

It may not always be easy to spot when you are having suicidal feelings, especially if they have been building up over a long time. Here are some warning signs of suicidal feelings:

  • always talking or thinking about death
  • deep depression and sadness
  • losing interest in daily life
  • having increasing trouble sleeping and eating
  • feeling helpless or worthless
  • self-harming
  • feeling angry and that things can’t change

If you experience any of the symptoms above, please don’t suffer in silence. You deserve help, and you will find that life is worth living.

Getting help

If you are feeling suicidal right now, you are not alone and there is help out there. Below are some places that can help you.


Offers confidential advice and support for young people struggling with suicidal thoughts, as well as family and friends; and information about how to make a safety plan.

Its helpline service – HOPELINEUK – is available to anybody under the age of 35 experiencing suicidal thoughts, or anybody concerned that a young person could be thinking of suicide.

Opening times:

24/7 every day of the year

0800 068 4141



Whatever you’re going through, you can contact the Samaritans for support. N.B. This is a listening service and does not offer advice or intervention.

Opening times:




If you’re under 19 you can confidentially call, chat online or email about any problem big or small.

Opening times:


0800 11 11

Our Mental Health Training courses are designed to give you the knowledge to recognise a suspected Mental Health condition and the skills to start a conversation and be able to signpost a person towards professional help.

If you would like to talk to us about Mental Health training in the workplace across the UK, please call us on 01276 586943 or email us at