Every year organisations and communities around the world come together to raise awareness of how we can create a world where fewer people die by suicide.

It's often difficult to know how to help someone you think is suffering with depression or anxiety and what to do for the best.

If you know someone who is struggling, this advice from Mind and the Samaritans can help you, help them.

  • Support them to get help

While obviously you can't force anyone to get help if they don't want it, it's important to reassure people that it's okay to ask for help, and that there is help out there. People and organisations you can turn to include your GP, a trained therapist, friends, family, carers and neighbours, charity and third sector organisations, student services, community support services and workplace support.

  • Be open about depression

​Lots of people can find it hard to open up and speak about how they're feeling. Try to be open about depression and difficult emotions, so your friend or family member knows that it's OK to talk about what they're experiencing. The best thing you can do is listen. Sometimes you don't need to say anything. Isolation can often lessen when someone is willing to listen to your problems without judgement or intervention.

  • Keep in touch

Often people don't have the energy to keep up contact, so try to stay in touch with them. Just a text message or email to let them know you're thinking of them can make a big difference sometimes.

  • Don't be critical

If you've not experienced depression yourself, it can be hard to understand why your friend or family member can't just 'snap out of it'. Try not to blame them or put too much pressure on them to get better straight away – your loved one is probably being very critical and harsh towards themselves already.

  • Keep a balance

​If someone is struggling, you might feel like you should take care of everything for them. While it might be useful to offer to help them do things, like keep on top of the housework or cook healthy meals, it's also important to encourage them to do things for themselves. Everyone will need different support, so talk to your friend or family member about what they might find useful to have your help with, and identify things they can try to do themselves.

  • Take care of yourself

Supporting someone in distress can be distressing in itself. If you're helping someone who feels suicidal or depressed, make sure you take care of yourself as well.

  • Have courage

Don’t be put off by a negative response and, most importantly, don’t feel you have to fill a silence.

Sometimes it can feel intrusive and counter-intuitive to ask someone how they feel. You’ll soon be able to tell if someone is uncomfortable and doesn’t want to engage with you at that level.

You'll be surprised at how willing people are to listen and how, sometimes, it is exactly what somebody needs to be able to share what is going on their mind.

Who to call?

  • Samaritans for free on 116 123
  • NHS 111 for health advice in the UK
  • Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) - 0800 58 58 58 (5pm-midnight daily) Webchat (5pm-midnight daily)
  • Cruse Bereavement Care - 0808 808 1677
  • Papyrus HOPELineUK (Confidential support for under-35s at risk of suicide) - 0800 068 41 41
  • Mind - 0300 123 3393 - or you can see their website for services local to you.