Suicide is the single biggest killer of men aged under 45 in the UK. In 2015, 75% of all UK suicides were male. It’s a shocking statistic, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Few people go through life without, at some point, having a suicidal thought or feeling. Whilst suicidal feelings are more common than we like to admit, it doesn’t mean that it’s the answer for you. There are always other options. What makes people suicidal? There’s never one reason, but usually a combination of things:

  • A major loss, trauma or setback in your life can make you feel life isn’t worth living, for example if you’ve lost a person or a relationship that meant everything to you, or you lose your job or encounter financial difficulties, all of which are problems that can be tackled and resolved.
  • When someone close to you has attempted or died by suicide.
  • You have been using drugs or drinking heavily.
  • You have experienced bullying or rejection, especially if it goes on for a long time, which can leave you feeling low and worthless.
  • You may be upset and angry for no reason at all, which can be very frightening. People become depressed not just because sad, traumatic or stressful things happen to them. The chemicals in the brain which control our mood can get messed up, become unbalanced and we can feel depressed.
  • A combination of any of these things.

Feeling suicidal is actually fairly common. It’s normal for people to get into situations that make them panic, and they briefly think about wanting to take their own life. It’s a passing feeling and normal, so long as those feelings don’t last for extensive lengths of time or become too intrusive or over whelming. When they start taking control of what you’re thinking, then it can be dangerous and you should talk to someone about how you’re feeling. Don’t let your mind run wild. Talk it through. It’s hard to generalise, but many people who think about taking their own lives:

  • Are very sensitive to failure or criticism.
  • Feel like they have no friends and are isolated.
  • Set themselves targets which are difficult to achieve.
  • Find it hard to cope with disappointment.
  • Find it difficult to admit to having problems they don’t know how to solve.
  • Find it hard to tell others how they are feeling.

Men and boys are often more vulnerable to taking their own lives because:

  • They feel a pressure to be a winner and can more easily feel like the opposite.
  • They feel a pressure to look strong and feel ashamed of showing any signs of weakness.
  • They feel a pressure to appear in control of themselves and their lives at all times.

Most suicidal people don’t actually want to die, they just want to remove themselves from an unbearable situation, and for the pain to stop. It’s a decision made when other decisions seem impossible. Sometimes, in the heat of the moment, the whole of life can feel hopeless. Often in this situation, you can feel that other people will be better off without you, but this is never the case. Suicide has a devastating effect on the people left behind, both family, friends and whole communities.

While suicide can seem like the only way to deal with the pain, there’s ALWAYS another option – it’s just finding that option that can sometimes be tricky. Don’t try and find it on your own. Two heads are better than one. Talk it over with someone. Tell them what you’re thinking and why. If you’re feeling worthless, hopeless about the future or believe that no one cares about you – or even that the world would be a better place without you – talk to The Links Foundation.

The Links Foundation helpline workers are there to listen, not to judge, have links with other helpful organisations and could offer you the support you need to stop feeling suicidal. Although The Links Foundation is targeted at men, we offer help, information and support to anyone calling within the UK, regardless of age, gender or geographic location; no one is turned away.

Are you worried about a family member, partner or friend who might be going through a tough time? Are you worried that someone you know may be feeling suicidal? It can be really hard to know what to say to them in this kind of situation. Check out our Worried About Someone? page which has guidelines on signs that someone may be experiencing suicidal thoughts, what to say, what not to say and where to find help. Another organisation that can help is called Papyrus who run the HOPElineUK helpline service. HOPElineUK is staffed by professionally qualified advisers who can give support, practical advice and information to anyone who is concerned that a young person they know may be suicidal. HOPEline UK aims to:

  • Support those who live or work with suicidal young people
  • Commission research and campaign for change
  • Share expertise and good practice
  • Produce resources for families and professionals

Their line is open Monday – Friday from 10am – 5pm and 7pm – 10pm, and 2pm – 5pm on weekends. Tel 0800 068 41 41 Who can call HOPEline UK?

  • Young people (35 and under)
  • Family and concerned friends
  • Medics and mental health professionals
  • Schools, Colleges and Universities
  • Others who work with young people


Samaritans 116 123, CALM 0800 585858, Papyrus 0800 068 4141,The Silver Line 0800 4 70 80 90, Anxiety UK 03444 775 774, SANE 0300 304 7000, Young Minds 0808 802 5544