Suicide awareness

For immediate support in an emergency please call 999. To access confidential emotional support for feelings of distress, despair or suicidal thoughts - Samaritans freephone 116 123 (24/7) or email

Download our Sources of Support PDF for a list of support available across the UK.

We’re calling on local authorities and the Government to take action to prevent more veteran suicides and to help us create more suicide-safer communities in the UK.  

has shown that veterans are less likely to ask for help if they are having suicidal thoughts, compared to the general public.   

As part of our efforts to help people and communities recognise signs that a veteran is struggling, we’re engaging with local authorities to help improve local data and to strengthen their links with veteran charities, such as Help for Heroes, to help further promote early action. Ultimately, we want to ensure that local services are all working as closely together as possible to ensure that each veteran in each community gets the right support.  

While local decision making and strategies are a vital part of reaching veterans at risk, we believe there is a bigger role for our national governments in ensuring veteran suicides are recorded and ensuring that each community has the right resources in place to make an impact. We recommend that the UK Government and devolved administrations make it a mandatory requirement for local authorities to: 

  • Identify veterans as a ‘high-risk’ group when developing local suicide prevention action plans, to ensure that tailored approaches are taken to support veterans with specific characteristics. 
  • Engage with veteran charities/representatives to help inform their overall action plan, including a commitment by each Armed Forces and Veterans Champion to take the Help for Heroes' online suicide awareness training course. 
  • Have clear signposting for local veteran-specific support services, such as mental health services and bereavement support.   

Alongside this, we are also calling for all suicides by veterans to be recorded in real-time by all UK Coroners to better inform local suicide surveillance systems, to improve our understanding of this group. 

Up until now, suicide data for UK veterans has not been captured by the Government, which has severely limited our understanding and the scale of the issue. We know that many veterans suffer from a range of mental health conditions and that many of the indicators associated with increased risk of suicide across the general population apply to the veterans we support. It is unclear whether this reflects factors related to service or military experience, but what is clear is that every veteran needs to feel that suicide is never their only option.