Ask Sam letter


To Sam

What happens if you call 999?

hey, sam, i self harm, and i feel suicidal alot, i want to protect myself if things get really serious, such as when i actually run away to kill myself, i want to know what happens when you call 999 as people have said to me, that, sometimes its the safest option, i want to know if they will take me away to hospital, will they laugh at me and say that I'm to young (wich I'm not, when I feel suicidal its like something else takes controll), will they blame me, will they take me to prison? also wich emergency service do i call when i am about to kill myself? any help will do, thanks

Ask Sam


Hi there,

It's always okay to call 999 if you feel like you need to. You can call 999 free from any phone. You don't need to have a signal on your own network as your phone will use any mobile network available when dialling this number. You can  dial this number also from a locked phone, so you can still dial 999 even if it's not your phone you’re calling from.

You can also call 112 which goes through to the same number and  it works in lots of countries around the world. There is no age you have to be before calling 999 - anyone who needs the service can ring. The first thing you will hear is the operator who will say "Emergency. Which service?". You can then tell them whether you need the police, an ambulance, fire service or the coast guard. If you answer in Welsh you will be transferred to a Welsh-speaking operator. After you have told them which service you want,  they will transfer you to your local call handler for that service.

Talking to the emergency services might sound scary but the person on the other end of the phone just wants to help. They might ask questions in a very direct way which can feel like you’re being put under a lot of pressure, but they’re just making sure they get the right information as quickly as possible. Take your time and try to explain calmly what's happening . If the call handler decides you do need an ambulance or some other emergency service then they will explain what they’re going to do next - it's okay to ask them questions if you need.

If you’re feeling suicidal or feel unsafe for any reason then it's okay to call 999 for help. It's always better to tell someone when you feel that way - even if that feeling comes and goes. If you feel like a situation needs emergency help, you should be taken seriously, no matter what. You won't go to prison for calling 999.

I hope this has answered some questions - Childline isn't an emergency service but our Counsellors are here for you and we can offer different kinds of support.

Thanks for your letter, take care.


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