Suicidal thoughts

For parents and caregivers

There can be few things more upsetting as a parent than finding out that your child is having suicidal thoughts. Please know that you are not alone and that there is help for you and your child or young adult. Although many young people who experience such thoughts may not want to act on them, they are clearly a sign that they are feeling overwhelmed and need help urgently. For some, suicidal thoughts may take the form of imagining that everything would be easier if they weren’t here, but they would never actually carry out a plan. If a young person has made detailed plans, that is an even more serious concern.

You (or your child if they are an adult) should speak urgently to your GP who can make an emergency referral to mental health services. Here are some links to helplines and, further down the page, some other resources such as making a safety plan, grounding techniques for overwhelming feelings and making a ‘hope” or emergency box.



  Help for young people




Apps to help you

  • Stay Alive Keep a safety plan, read about strategies for staying safe, explore the tips on how to stay grounded when you are feeling overwhelmed, try the guided-breathing exercises and store photos and memories that are important to you. It links directly to national crisis numbers (UK) and you can also store your own numbers of people to contact when you’re in a crisis.
  • Calm Harm is an App designed mainly for people to help reduce the urge to self-harm but is generally useful for helping you cope with extreme emotions as it suggests soothing, distracting, breathing or other activities that you can choose from. Appealing graphics and lots and lots of ideas.

What is a hope box, emergency box or self-soothe box?


A hope box is a real (or sometimes virtual) box that you put together yourself, containing things that help you feel calm, distract you, give you joy or remind you of things or people you love. It can be a really helpful thing to have when you’re distressed or having thoughts of harming yourself. The Stay Alive App below has a similar option where you can upload photos, poems, words or music that might help you.

Read this blog How to make a self-soothe box

See some examples  Hope Boxes
or take a look here if you need some more ideas.