People attempt to take their own life when they feel they've nothing to live for. Everyone has something to live for. Whether you are considering it yourself or are worried about someone you care about, read on.

There is an alternative. You have a future and a lot to offer in life

What is it?

Suicide means deliberately ending our own life, and it's the second biggest cause of death worldwide among 15-19 year olds. British men are three times more likely as British women to die by suicide.

Why do people commit suicide?

Often, they have been feeling stressed or down for some time. Things like family problems, work stress, exam pressure or bullying can make us unhappy. There are feelings of utter despair, like there seems no way out of the problems. Nobody seems to help.

Sometimes there is a 'final straw': getting dumped, failing an exam or feeling extreme pressures around work, or finances.

This becomes confusing and frightening - many people drink alcohol or take drugs to the point that it becomes self-destructive.

Depression is a common mental illness that can lead some people to thoughts of suicide.

Isn't it our own right to die?

Suicide is not illegal, but that doesn't mean there are no victims. The impact on our friends and families is devastating and lasts forever.

Helping someone else to end their life is illegal.

I wish I was dead

Many people have felt this way at some point. It is frightening and confusing when you see no way out, and it's easy to think that dying is the best option. It's absolutely not.

There is an alternative. You have a future and a lot to offer in life, but your circumstances have got in the way. Hopelessness never lasts forever, and you don't have to feel like this.

Ask for help loudly and clearly. You don't need to harm yourself to make people notice - there are many people who care about you and what happens to you. Some of them you haven't met yet.

Call The Samaritans or Childline and take the first step.

Now speak to your GP. I am a GP. And I wish more young people came to tell me how rubbish they're feeling so that we can get them some support, figure out what's gone wrong and help to put things right again.

Other organisations that may help you are Papyrus, Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM), Young Minds and Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide.

My friend wants to kill themselves

This is a very frightening time for both of you. You don't need to provide the answers - just listen to how they feel. Avoid joking them out of it, or dismissing this as attention-seeking, but instead try to persuade them to get some help. If in doubt, tell an adult. You may (temporarily) lose a mate. But this may stop you (and everyone else) losing them permanently.

BBC Advice factfiles are here to help young people with a broad range of issues. They're based on advice from medical professionals, government bodies, charities and other relevant groups. Follow the links for more advice from these organisations.


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