Eighteen people will die in the UK and Republic of Ireland today as a result of taking their own life. With 25 times as many people feeling suicidal, but not acting on this. The scale of the problem, which makes suicide the leading cause of death for young people aged 20- to 34-years-old, has now become so serious that last month it prompted the government to announce the appointment of the UK’s first-ever Minister for Suicide Prevention. Although this might seem like a good idea, the reality is that by the time someone is prepared to end their own life several opportunities to support them have already been missed. Contrary to popular belief, people who are suicidal don’t want to die. But neither do they want to live because of the emotional pain that they’re currently experiencing. This is an important distinction, because if you can direct them towards appropriate support, before they act on their feelings of hopelessness, you can give them the opportunity to find another way out of their pain. Unfortunately, many people who are having suicidal thoughts don’t ask for help because suicide remains an incredibly taboo topic in our society. But there are several things you can do to help identify and support those at risk.