Ask Sam letter


To Sam


if someone says they dont want to live anymore do you have to tell someone. and how would you get the infomation

Ask Sam


Hi there,

Childline has a confidentiality promise that is part of everything we do - whether that's talking to a counsellor, writing in your journal or sending a letter to me. We try to make our promise as clear as possible, but we know that there are always going to be questions about it - especially if there’s something you want to talk about but aren't sure what might happen if you do.

We will keep what you say between you and Childline in almost all cases. Out of everything you can tell us, there aren't many things we would want to tell someone else about - but there are a few things we can't keep confidential and it's important to us that you know what those are.

You can talk to us about feeling suicidal and we don't have to tell someone. We understand that there is a difference between having thoughts and feelings of suicide and actually trying to do it. Having "just thoughts" about suicide doesn't make them any less important or real, but we know that talking can often help to prevent those thoughts turning into actions.

If we did think you might try to end your life, or you've already taken steps to do so, then we would want to get you some help. We might try to call you an ambulance or have the police come and check everything is okay. We look at every situation on its own and decide what would be best for you in that circumstance.

We usually want to work with you to get help - so we'd normally ask you for where you are so we can get the right help to you as quickly as possible. We prefer  to work together to get you through a crisis, but we know that there might be times where you won't be able to make the right decision for yourself, so we will make that for you. This means we might have to work with the police to find out where you are calling or chatting from and get you help even if you haven’t asked for it at the time.

Remember that feeling suicidal is something we talk about with lots of young people and we will always try and let you know if we need to tell someone else, so that you can choose what happens next.

I hope this has answered your question, thanks for writing in.

Take care.


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