Content Warning: talk of suicide, suicidal ideation, death, mental illness


Despite the breaking down of stigma around mental illness, suicide is still seen as a taboo topic. Today is World Suicide Prevention Day, a day dedicated to preventing suicide through action, conversation and support.

A lesser-talked about issue within this conversation is suicidal ideation. Many people experience suicidal thoughts without actively planning for it, or even necessarily wanting to.

Something I’d learned in therapy this year was that intrusive thoughts, and thoughts about death and suicide, are actually a lot more common than we think. Many people experience intrusive thoughts about suicide and death, which can stem from anxiety, depression, trauma, or even simply being exposed to something emotionally shocking.

However, these thoughts can be really scary. It can also be scary to tell somebody that you are experiencing these thoughts as well. However, it is much easier to deal with them before you have reached crisis point. You can visit Enabling Services, Steps to Wellbeing, or call any national suicide hotline and you will be able to access help. Also, importantly, you are worthy of accessing help about these thoughts even if you aren’t at a crisis point.

How can you help?

Understanding and recognising potential signs in your friends, as well as knowing where to signpost to, is one important way you can help. Sometimes, it really is just the smallest encounter that could give somebody hope. If you’re worried about a friend, have a chat with them and ask how they’re doing; let them know you’re happy to listen if they want to talk.

If you would like to see how you could get involved in this years campaigns surrounding suicide prevention, please feel free to message me at welfare@soton.ac.uk (Laura Barr)

There is always a trained member of staff 24/7 at the University who can help, at any time of the day or night, and for other services you can use or signpost to, please see the list below:

Student Life (24/7 Service)
National Suicide Alliance
Project 84 (Male Suicide Specific)
LGBT+ Foundation
Student Minds
Mind Solent
The Samaritans (24/7)
Enabling Services (Building 37, Drop In)
First Support (24/7 Service)

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