Suicide prevention

If you need help now

I am an adult and I need help now.

I am a young person (or I am an adult seeking support for a young person) and I need help now.

The information on this page is for professionals who support other people with their mental health. 

Resources for anyone feeling low, distressed or suicidal

In Leeds, we have a range of resources for people who are feeling low, distressed or suicidal to help get support from local services.


MindWell is the ‘go to’ website for local mental health information.

It has an I need help now page as well as up-to-date information about support and services available in Leeds.


MindMate is a Leeds based website for young people, their families, and the professionals who support them.

It has an urgent help page as well as up-to-date information on support services available in Leeds.

Resources for professionals

Professionals can order suicide prevention resources, including the 'Feel like you've had enough?' crisis card (order code L155) and crisis poster (order code P655) and 'How are you feeling?' booklet (order code L172), for free from the Public Health Resource Centre.

Guidance for frontline workers and volunteers


We all have a role to play in preventing suicide.          

If you are supporting someone within your professional role, the advice in this guidance should be applied alongside organisational and professional guidelines. Different staff groups will have different levels of responsibility in terms of understanding and responding to risk. If in doubt, always seek advice from a manager or safeguarding lead.          

If you are a volunteer, you may feel unsure about your role in supporting someone who is talking about suicide. It is important to talk this through with your volunteer co-ordinator or support worker from the organisation you are working with.           

Supporting someone who is suicidal

Recognising the signs

It is not always easy to recognise the signs that someone might be having thoughts of suicide. However, evidence suggests someone may be feeling suicidal if they:          

  • express feelings of hopelessness
  • talk about wanting to ‘end it all’
  • talk about their death or wanting to die
  • talk about settling their affairs
  • talk about being a burden to their loved ones
  • talk about their self-harming

Self harm

People often self-harm to regain control of their situations, emotions or thoughts. Self-harm can involve cutting parts of the body, burning, scratching, picking skin or pulling hair. Some ways of selfharming are not always obvious: for example, older people may neglect their nutritional needs or wear ill-fitting slippers or shoes. It is often assumed that people who self-harm are suicidal, but for many people it is actually a way of coping or surviving. However, many people who take their own life do have a history of self-harm, so it is important to take this seriously as a risk factor for suicide.          

Talking about suicide

Questions to ask

If you recognise some of the signs above and feel concerned about the person you’re supporting, start a conversation about suicide to explore whether the person has a plan to harm themselves. It is a good idea to use direct questions to do this, so that there is no confusion and the person understands you are asking them about suicide and nothing else.          

It is completely understandable to feel anxious about asking someone about suicide. However, there is no evidence to suggest that bringing it up in conversation will encourage them to act on their thoughts.           

Use questions such as:          

  • are you having suicidal thoughts?
  • have you thought about how you would end your life?
  • how are you coping with what’s been happening in your life?

Exploring causes and things that could help

Many people who have attempted or died by suicide have talked to someone about feeling suicidal or hopeless before acting on these thoughts. If someone talks about killing themselves, always take it seriously. Although it’s understandable to want to immediately jump in with solutions, allow the person to express their feelings first:          

  • reassure them that they are not alone and that you can look for support together
  • avoid making promises and be realistic about what you can and can’t do
  • don’t worry too much about saying the ‘wrong’ thing; what’s most important is that you are listening and showing that you care

It is unlikely that you will be able to make their feelings go away, but you can help by encouraging them to see that there are some things worth living for. Talk to them about anything that might cause their suicidal feelings, and explore ideas of things that could help in these situations:           

  • what have they been doing that helps?
  • do they have a friend or family member they can talk to about how they feel?
  • what are they doing that stops the suicidal feelings from getting worse?
  • what doesn’t help?
  • what do they feel would help right now?

Listening skills

Active listening uses skills that help to build trust and connection with the person you are supporting. It will also help you to give them your full attention and help create the space to talk about how they feel. To listen actively:           

  • focus on the other person. Try not to talk about yourself and your own experiences
  • have patience. Give the other person time to talk about how they feel. Try to make sure they don’t feel rushed
  • ask open questions to explore the other person’s feelings. Open questions are questions that need more than a yes/ no answer, such as: “What happened next?” or “How did that make you feel?”
  • say it back to check you’ve understood what is being said. Try to use the words they have used
  • if you can, stay in touch with the person you’re supporting. Make a plan to check in with them the following week or in the next few days
  • don’t be put off by a negative response. The other person might not feel ready to talk about how they are feeling, and this is okay


Try to avoid using the phrase ‘committed suicide’ as this suggests suicide is a criminal offence. Likewise, avoid talking about people ‘threatening’ suicide as this assumes they are attentionseeking. People who are suicidal genuinely feel as though they have no other option and often just need space to talk about how they feel.          



Safeguarding adults refers to the plans for protecting adults at risk from abuse or neglect. If the person you are concerned about is over the age of 18, has care and support needs (for example, they need extra help to live independently, through having support at home or with educational or social needs), and you feel they are being abused or are at risk of abuse from another person, you can seek help.          

Wherever possible, involve the person at risk in decisions about reporting a safeguarding concern. If this is not possible, you may need to act in their ‘best interests’ because they do not have the mental capacity to decide this for themselves. There are also occasions when you may need to report the concern without their permission, for example, it is in their vital interests, other people are also at risk, or the person is unable to consent because of coercion or duress.          

To report abuse or seek advice, call Adult Social Care on 0113 222 4401. For further information, see the Leeds Safeguarding Adults Board website.          

Children and young people

For an explanation of safeguarding principles and procedures when working with young people under 18, please see Mindmate's ‘Supporting young people who self-harm or feel suicidal: A guide for professionals in Leeds working with young people aged 25 and under’.          

Looking after yourself

Supporting someone who is suicidal can be difficult and may affect how you feel and cope. Remember to look after yourself and your own mental health too.          

It is important to talk through any difficult conversations you’ve been having and check in regularly with your volunteer co-ordinator/ supervisor as well as the other people you volunteer or work with. Talk to your organisation about getting additional support, especially if you feel this is getting too much for you and affecting your own mental health.          

MindWell has information on mental health support, including self-help guidance and resources.          

Support and services

Help from the NHS

Suggest the person talk to their GP. GP practices are still open and offering appointments by phone or video call.          

If the person needs urgent care but their situation is not life threatening, they can ring NHS 111 (open 24 hours every day).          

If the person has seriously injured themselves or has already tried to end their life (for example they tell you they have recently taken an overdose), encourage them to call 999 and ask for an ambulance, or do this on their behalf.          

If the person you are supporting has a plan to attempt suicide or they tell you they have attempted suicide in the past, and they can’t or won’t call NHS 111 by themselves, tell your supervisor/ volunteer co-ordinator or clinical lead.           

Signposting to support

You can signpost to useful services that offer support:          

  • Connect Helpline offers emotional support to people in Leeds every night 6pm-2am, 0808 800 1212 (free phone)
  • Dial House is a place of sanctuary for people (16+) in crisis offering emotional and practical support. It is currently open for telephone and Skype/ Zoom crisis support only, Friday to Monday and Wednesdays, 6pm–2am, 0113 260 9328
  • Samaritans provides space to talk, 116 123 (free phone, open 24 hours every day)
  • The West Yorkshire support line is available for general support or advice about mental health, 0800 183 0558 (Freephone open 24 hours every day)
  • Leeds Suicide Bereavement Service provides support to anyone bereaved or affected by suicide, 0113 305 5800
  • Mindwell coronavirus mental health information hub

Key messages

In summary:

  • do not be afraid to talk about self-harm and suicide
  • respond in a non-judgemental way
  • listen to the person’s feelings about suicide to show that they are taken seriously
  • be clear about your own organisational policies and the boundaries of your role
  • look after yourself and your own mental health
  • find information about support on the MindWell and MindMate websites

Suicide prevention in Leeds

Three main sources of data inform local activity to reduce the risk of suicide in targeted populations:

  • Leeds Suicide Audits, which are undertaken every 3 years and contains detailed information about suicides in Leeds
  • National data (Office of National Statistics)
  • Real time surveillance for Leeds and the region

The Leeds Strategic Suicide Prevention Group is a citywide multi-agency partnership that oversees this agenda and the Leeds Suicide Prevention Action Plan. The group is chaired by Public Health (Leeds City Council) and includes third sector partners, blue light services, and healthcare partners.

The Suicide Prevention Action Plan for Leeds is currently being updated to capture the impact of COVID-19 on suicide risk.

Supporting communities at risk

Examples of the activity in the Leeds Suicide Prevention Plan include:

The Men’s Suicide Prevention Grants Programme

The Men’s Suicide Prevention Grants Programme is funded by Leeds City Council in partnership with Leeds Community Foundation. This fund supports local social activities for men in order to reduce social isolation.

The Adopt a Block project

The Adopt a Block project from West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service is an example of local innovative partnership working across the city to support men at risk of suicide.

A case study can be found on the National Suicide Prevention Alliance (NSPA) external link website.

The Leeds Suicide Bereavement Service

The Leeds Suicide Bereavement Service external link supports people who have been affected by the death of someone by suicide at any time in their lives. The service offers individual, group, and family support.

Suicide prevention training

Specialised and accredited suicide prevention training is widely available across the city and provided by different organisations. For a list of mental health and suicide prevention training courses currently available please visit our Public health priority based training page.

National media guidelines

National media guidelines have been co-produced by local journalists through the National Union of Journalists and Leeds City Council. These guidelines encourage local journalists to report suicide sensitively and help to reduce the stigma of suicide.

As a city, we are working hard to reduce suicides with significant areas of best practice. We are happy to share what we know with other councils and organisations, as well as learn from others, so we can play our part in reducing suicide risk in Leeds and elsewhere.

Additional support

General support

  • Switchboard LGBT+ helpline - 0330 330 0630 (10am to 10pm daily)
  • MindWell external link
  • Childline - 0800 1111 (freephone)
  • The Market Place (support and counselling for young people in Leeds aged 11 to 25) - 0113 246 1659
  • Forward Leeds (advice and support if you're concerned about your or someone else's alcohol or drug use) - 0113 887 2477 (Monday and Friday, 9am to 5pm, Tuesday to Thursday, 9am to 7pm)
  • Andy's Man Club (peer support group for men) -
  • MindMate
  • Samaritans - call 116 123 (freephone, 24 hours a day) or email
  • Leeds Survivor-Led Crisis Service
    • Dial House (a place of sanctuary and one-to-one support) - call 0113 260 9328 or text 07922 249 452 to make a referral (daily except Tuesdays and Thursdays, 6pm to 2am
    • Dial House @ Touchstone (support and sanctuary for people from Black and and Minority Ethnic backgrounds) - call 0113 249 4675 or text 07763 581 853 to make a referral (Tuesdays and Thursdays, 6pm to midnight)
    • Connect (non-judgemental emotional support) - 0808 800 1212 (freephone, 6pm to 2am daily)
    • Deaf Connect - Glide/text 07500 870 987 or Skype/Facetime
    • Teen Connect (support for 13 to 18 year olds in Leeds) - call 0808 800 1212 (freephone), go to the Teen Connect website, or text 07715 661 559 (Monday to Friday, 3:30pm to 2am, Saturday and Sunday, 6pm to 2am)
  • Well-bean ‘Hope in a Crisis’ Cafe (a safe place for people in crisis to go from 6pm to midnight) - professional referral contact: 07760 173 505, self-referral contact: 07760 173 476
    • Saturday, Sunday and Monday – Lincoln Green Community Centre, Cromwell Mount (LS9 7JB)
    • Tuesday and Wednesday – Touchstone House, 2-4 Middleton Crescent, Beeston (LS11 6JU)
    • Thursday and Friday – New Wortley Community Centre, 40 Tong Road (LS12 1LZ)


Help for domestic violence and abuse victims

  • Leeds Domestic Violence Service - 0113 246 0401 (24 hours daily)
  • Support After Rape & Sexual Violence Leeds (SARSVL) - call 0808 802 3344, text 07860 022 880 or email


Money and debt advice

  • Citizens Advice Leeds - 0113 223 4400
  • Money Buddies - 0113 235 0276
  • National Gambling Helpline - 0808 8020 133 (freephone, 24 hours a day)

Contact us

For further information or to request copies of documents such as the Leeds Suicide Audit or the Leeds Suicide Prevention Plan (in PDF format), please contact the Public Health Resource Centre.