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Mental health matters

Suicide and suicidal thoughts

Suicide is a subject many are afraid to talk about or even acknowledge but ... type "suicide" into Google and we found 368 million results and 650 million video results.  Clearly some of us are talking about it and this is a good thing.

What is suicide?

Definitions vary but a common understanding of suicide is 'ending one's own life' or the 'intentional taking of one's own life'. People take their own lives for many reasons. It is a way to escape and/ or top stop pain or suffering - often the endpoint of a complicated story and chain of distressing events.

Mental health among LGBT+ people

Related to this, we cannot ignore the fact that poorer levels of mental health among LGBT+ people (than our straight counterparts) are linked to experiences of homophobic and transphobic discrimination and bullying, and rejection by families. Other factors include age, religion, where you live or ethnicity, which can complicate an already distressing situation.

There are also less obvious factors like family 'forgetting' to invite you to a wedding or Christmas, for example, or inviting you but then ignoring who you really are. These ongoing stresses can chip away at one's confidence, self-esteem and sense of worth, even after coming out. This may lead to darker negative thoughts and a sense of hopelessness.

We can't even scratch the surface here but we hope you will find the helplines and support, and information helpful.

Are you having suicidal thoughts or feeling suicidal?

Some people feel suicidal or have suicidal thoughts at some point in their lives. Most of the time, these complex and overwhelming feelings pass, and they will no longer wish to end their life. If you have suicidal thoughts, are planning your suicide, or are near to taking your life, there are people who can help. You may feel more comfortable talking to someone who is LGBT+ who may better understand what you’re going through, like LGBT+ Switchboard on 0300 330 0630.

If you're not in a good place or are in crisis:

  • Get through today as best you can, taking it one step at a time.
  • Focus on what you can do now, not tomorrow or next week.
  • Find a place where you feel safe and, if being by yourself worries you, go to a friend or family member or an HIV, sexual health, or LGBT+ organisation you may know.
  • Reach out and seek support; if you don't know where to turn, our list of helplines is a good place to start.
  • Stay away from drugs and/ or alcohol, as they can make you feel worse, particularly if you have an existing mental health condition.

Are you concerned about someone you know?

  • Be alert: Not everyone who thinks about suicide will tell someone, but there may be warning signs.
  • Be honest: Tell the person why you're worried about them, and ask about suicide. Tell them you want to know how they are and that it’s OK to talk about suicide.
  • Listen: Just listening is one of the most helpful things you can do. Try not to judge or give advice.
  • Get them some help: A range of help and helpful advice is available.
  • Take care of yourself: You may find it helpful to discuss your feelings with another friend or a confidential service.

Support on suicide and suicidal thoughts

Suicidal feelings | MIND
Suicide thoughts | Mental Health Foundation
Suicide | The Calm Zone
Help for suicidal thoughts | NHS
Mental health issues if you're gay, lesbian, bisexual or trans | NHS
Self-harm and suicide | wannatalkaboutit (Netflix)

LGBT+ Switchboard Helpline
0800 0119 100 | Switchboard LGBT+ Helpline

116 123 | Samaritans

The Listening Place
020 3906 7676 The Listening Place 
Provides free, face-to-face, ongoing support, by appointment, for those who feel that life is no longer worth living. Operates from multiple sites across central London. Your appointment location should always have been sent to you before your appointment. If you are unsure where your appointment is taking place, contact 020 3906 7676, and a member of its team can help.

LGBT Foundation
0300 330 0630 | LGBT Foundation

  0800 1111 | 24/7 | ChildLine

Hopeline UK | up to 35
0800 068 4141 | Hopeline UK

0300 5000 927 |   Rethink Mental Illness

ReThink: Support After Service
Support After Service for people who have been bereaved by suicide. London boroughs of Camden, Islington, Barnet, Enfield and Haringey only.
ReThink: support after service

The Calm Zone Helpline
Nationwide: 0800 58 58 58 | CALM Helpline
London: 0808 802 58 58 |  CALM Helpline

If you are feeling suicidal, we’re here to support you. Maytree’s house is open 365 days a year for people feeling suicidal. We offer a free 4-night, 5-day stay for adults, with the opportunity to be heard in complete confidence in a caring, safe environment.
  72 Moray Road, Finsbury Park, London N4 3LG
020 7263 7070

Helpful pointers from Prevening suicide in Sussex
Are you concerned about someone you know? | Preventing suicide in Sussex
If you don't live in Sussex please select one of the helplines listed above

Faces of attempted suicide | Men's Health UK | 16 May 2019 | 9m 51s
Olly Alexander: growing up gay in a straight world | BBC 3 | 6 Mar 2019 | 3m 34s
Suicide awareness | This Morning | 28 Mar 2018 | 2m 24s

Information and statistics
Suicide | Wikipedia
Suicide in the United Kingdom | Wikipedia
Samaritans facts and figures | Samaritans
Suicide among LGBT youth in the USA | Wikipedia
Suicide | World Health Organisation (WHO)
Preventing suicide: a resource series | WHO | 24 Jun 2019

Suicide helplines around the world
Suicide helplines around the world listed by country |
Suicide helplines in the USA listed by state |

News articles
Sexuality, suicide attempts and the strongman: McNaghten on winning his mental battle | BBC Sport | 3 Jul 2020
Lockdown: Suicide fears soar in LGBT community | BBC | 2 Jul 2020
Justin Fashanu: National Football Museum Hall of Fame induction 'deserved', says niece Amal | BBC Sport | 19 Feb 2020
Suicide rates fall after gay marriage legalised in Sweden and Denmark | The Guardian | 14 Nov 2019
Bullying: Fifth of young people in UK have been victims in past year - report | BBC News | 11 Nov 2019
What Alan Turing £50 notes mean to the LGBT community | BBC News | 16 Jul 2019
Lives are ruined by shame and stigma. LGBT lessons in schools are vital | The Guardian | 20 Mar 2019
LGB students at higher risk of self-harm | University of Manchester et al | 23 Nov 2018
Lesbian, gay, and bisexual people say they experience a lower quality of life | Office of National Statistics | 5 Jul 2017
Almost half of trans pupils in UK have attempted suicide, survey finds | The Guardian | 27 Jun 2017
'Higher suicide risk for young gay and lesbian people' | BBC Newsbeat | 13 Jan 2014

Reports, studies and reviews
Mental health statistics: LGBT people | Mental Health Foundation
Stonewall's LGBT in Britain Health Report | MIND
A review of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex (LGBTI) health and healthcare inequalities | PDF | University of Brighton | Laetitia Zeeman et al | 2016 (est).
LGBTI populations and mental health inequality | LGBT Health and Wellbeing, Scotland and others | PDF | 2018
Inequality among lesbian, gay bisexual and transgender groups in the UK: a review of evidence | National Institute of Economic and Social Research | N Hudson-Sharp, H Metcalf | PDF | June 2016
Suicidality among lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth | ILGA Europe | PDF | 2007

Depression | Students Against Depression
Bullying | Bullying UK
Depression | Depression Alliance

What is suicide? | Here to Help | Canada
Suicide Prevention | Helpguide | US

The Recovery Letters | US
Letters are all written with the intention to try and alleviate some of the pain of depression, to make the loneliness slightly more bearable and above all to give hope that you can recover.

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