A better Medway

Ask. Listen. Stop suicide

We're working to help prevent suicide by making it easier for people to talk about suicide.

We all can play a role in helping prevent suicide in Kent and Medway.

Asking a family member, friend or colleague how they are can make a big impact in the way someone feels. This can lead to people being able to receive the right support for their situation.

Two adults talking over coffee.

Our new online support hub has a range of support for mental health services. There is also training to help support someone who is feeling suicidal.

If someone does open up about their thoughts of suicide, it’s helpful to know how to support them. It can also help to know of the professional support services available to help them.

Let’s keep talking. Showing you care can help someone get the support they need. Asking directly about suicide can help save a life.

About this campaign

Find out more about the different areas in this campaign:

Suicidal thoughts are more common than you think

Suicidal thoughts are often the result of:

  • emotional pain
  • physical pain
  • stress
  • unhappiness.

These situations can affect anyone and everyone.

Talking about suicide with someone who is already having suicidal thoughts will not encourage them to go through with it.

Talking and listening can help prevent suicide.

How to help someone else

Someone may not show how they are really feeling, people could be struggling even if they appear:

  • happy
  • successful
  • strong
  • together.

There’s no easy way to ask someone if they're suicidal but avoiding the issue will not help.

Two people talk on a bench.

Knowing how to respond in the right way is really important. The best approach is to be sensitive but direct.

You can start by responding with the following types of questions:

  • "are you thinking about hurting yourself?"
  • "do you think about ending your life sometimes?"
  • "are you thinking about suicide?"

Asking questions can help someone stay in control while allowing them to talk about how they’re feeling. For example, "when did you start feeling like this?"

Give the person the opportunity to talk honestly and openly. Encourage them to keep on talking and make sure they know they can confide in you.

It’s really important to try to avoid statements that could end the conversation. For example, “I know how you feel” and “try not to worry about it”.

People who experience suicidal thoughts often don’t want to die, they just want their pain to stop.

We can play a part in helping someone who may be feeling isolated and disconnected from society. Follow our new campaign: Ask. Listen, Stop Suicide by using these 3 steps:

Step 1: Ask

If you see or know someone you think might need help, trust your instincts and start a conversation. You could help save a life.

You may not realise someone needs help. You will only know when you ask them how they are feeling.

Here are some simple conversation starters that could make a life changing difference.

Ask someone ‘how are you?’

It could be a friend, family member, colleague or someone you have not spoken to in a while. Simply asking someone how they are shows them that you care

Organise a simple activity

Do something simple like going for a walk or catching up over coffee. Meeting up with someone is a great way to create an opening for a meaningful conversation.

Do something they like

If you know someone well and are worried about them, organise a simple activity that you know they like. There’s plenty of things that can help you meet up with someone you care about and check they’re ok.


If you’re looking to see if someone is ok, make sure they feel comfortable confiding in you. Try and meet up in a private setting where it is just you and them. Do not ask questions in front of a big group of people, they might not feel comfortable to open up this way.

Step 2: Listen

Make sure you really listen to what they’re saying throughout your conversation. It’s important that the person who needs help does not feel judged.

For example, comments such as “don’t you think you might be drinking too much?” can sometimes make the situation worse.

Two men talk in the changing rooms.

Do not put pressure on them, it’s not their fault they feel this way.

Make sure you reassure them with positive responses. For example, "it's going to be ok, I'm here for you."

Someone may not want to get support after speaking to you.

They may feel better after speaking with you, but this may not last. They may need long term support to help them overcome their suicidal thoughts.

If there is an immediate danger, make sure they are not left on their own. To find out what to do in an emergency, visit our support services for mental health and suicide prevention in Medway page.

This advice is taken from Zero Suicide Alliance. Visit the Zero Suicide Alliance website to download their advice booklet and other resources.

Remember, mentioning suicide to someone who’s already thinking about it will not encourage them to go through with it.

One of the best things you can do for a person who may be feeling suicidal is to simply encourage them to talk about their feelings.

It’s then about signposting them to the right professional support that can help them improve the way they feel.

Step 3: Support services

If someone tells you they’re feeling suicidal, you can signpost them to our support services for mental health and suicide prevention in Medway page.

Online training

Suicide prevention training

Mid Kent Mind are offering free suicide prevention and awareness training sessions to anyone in Kent and Medway that wants to learn how to support others when they are in crisis.

The training lasts 3 hours and is an interactive session which will help people understand the mental health drivers that can cause suicidal thoughts and to recognise the signs that someone may be feeling suicidal early on.

There are a number of spaces currently available.

Sessions are available via Zoom and face-to-face (subject to change depending on latest restrictions).

Book your space on suicide prevention training

You can also watch this interactive online awareness session from the Zero Suicide Alliance.