‘Start a conversation’ is the advice from Samaritans on World Suicide Prevention Day.
Held every year on September 10, World Suicide Prevention Day is an awareness-raising event organised by International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP) and the World Health Organisation (WHO).
According to Samaritans, more than 800,000 people take their lives each year across the world.
In the UK and the Republic of Ireland, more than 6,000 people die by suicide a year – an average of 18 a day.
The charity says reaching out to people who are going through a difficult time can be a game changer.
A spokesman for Samaritans said: “People who are feeling low or suicidal often feel worthless and think that no-one cares.
“Small things like hearing from friends or family, feeling listened to or just being told that ‘it’s ok to talk’ can make a huge difference.
“Start a conversation today if you think a friend, colleague or family member may be struggling.
“When a person reaches a point where they are focused on taking their life, they’ve often lost sight of trying to find a way through their problems.
“This period usually only lasts a short while and often it doesn’t take a huge amount to bring someone back from that decision – something as simple as saying, ‘it’s ok to talk’ can be enough to move someone out of suicidal crisis.”
How can people reach out?
The charity says it can be daunting to approach someone who is struggling to cope, you may not know what to say, how to start a difficult conversation or worry that you’ll make things worse.
But the spokesman added: “However, you don’t need to be an expert.
“Often, just asking if someone’s OK and letting them know you’re listening can give people the confidence to open up about how they’re feeling.
“Samaritans is here round the clock every single day for the year for anyone struggling to cope. If you’re worried about someone, or would like emotional support yourself, please get in touch.”
To contact Samaritans call 116 123 for free, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Or you can email email@example.com.
The spokesman added: “If you need a response immediately, it’s best to call us on the phone. This number is free to call. You don’t have to be suicidal to call us.”