What is covered?

Suicidal feelings and thoughts

A small number of children experiencing low mood or depression will feel that life is no longer worth living. These feelings will usually have built up incrementally over time or in reaction to specific events.

Many things can prompt suicidal feelings and thoughts.  These can include children who:

  • are living with mental illness
  • are experiencing abuse
  • are being bullied and being a bully (with a personal history of victimisation)
  • are experiencing complex grief
  • have very low self-worth
  • live with complex family issues (such as parental disputes, neglect, hostile and chaotic home environments)

What schools can do

By helping children routinely develop social and emotional skills and resilience and through identifying children with low mood and getting them help early, schools can help prevent escalating suicidal thoughts.  

Suicidal thoughts and feelings should always be taken extremely seriously. 

  • All schools have a duty to safeguard children and should have safeguarding procedures in place to manage situations where children articulate such thoughts and feelings and are at extreme risk.
  • Schools also have a duty to ensure that staff are fully up-to-date with these procedures.
  • Responses to suicidal feelings should always involve a holistic approach. Whilst being highly sensitive to confidentiality, it should seek to engage key people in the child’s life (e.g. parents, carers, school staff and professionals). 

Concerned about a child?

If you are worried that a child is at risk involve your designated safeguarding lead as a matter of priority who will contact the parents/carers and other services as necessary. If the child is at immediate risk, ensure that they are taken to their GP or A&E as a matter of urgency, depending on the severity of the concern.

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Resources

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Overwhelming emotions and self-harm

Practical resources for children and young people to help them manage overwhelming emotions and...

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MindEd for families

MindEd for families

An online learning portal with advice on answering parents’ questions about their child’s mental...

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Family Lives helpline

Family Lives helpline

Confidential and free helpline offering advice, guidance and support on any aspect of parenting and...

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YoungMinds Parents' Helpline

YoungMinds Parents' Helpline

Free, confidential and expert advice for parents, carers and guardians.

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Starting an conversation about suicide for parents

A range of resources for parents who want to start up a conversation about suicidal feelings and...

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YoungMinds Parents' Survival Guide

YoungMinds Parents' Survival Guide

Webpage covering most concerns about child/youth mental health, with information on specific issues...

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MindEd: risky behaviour

MindEd is a free educational resource on children and young people's mental health for all adults.

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Childline helpline

Childline helpline

Free online messaging, counselling and helpline service for children.

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