About Suicide

Help for Suicidal Thoughts (In Finland)

Crisis helpline of the SOS Crisis Center 010 195 202
Helpline open Mon–Fri 09:00–07:00, Sat–Sun 15:00–07:00
SOS Crisis Centre of the Finnish Association for Mental Health
Surunauha Association’s peer support services for family and friends (in Finnish and Swedish only)

If you need immediate emergency help, call the emergency number 112.


Suicide risk factors

  • Previous suicide attempts and inadequate support
  • Mental disorders – especially depression
  • Suicide or mental disorders in the family or among close friends
  • Alcohol or substance abuse
  • Long-term, especially pain-causing illnesses
  • Social exclusion
  • Indifference, hopelessness or impulsivity associated with life-changing crises

Recognizing the warning signs – the risk of suicide is high if someone

  • talks about his/her desire to die
  • is looking for a way to kill himself/herself
  • talks about feeling hopeless or insignificant
  • talks about having reached a dead end or being in unbearable pain
  • talks about being a burden to others
  • increases his/her alcohol or substance use
  • behaves in a distressed, agitated or uneasy manner
  • sleeps too little or too much
  • withdraws from social activities or feels alienated from others
  • shows rage or talks about seeking revenge
  • has extreme mood swings

The more signs the person displays, the higher the suicide risk.

How to help someone contemplating suicide? Who can I contact?

If you know someone at risk of suicide, take action:

  • Don’t leave the person alone.
  • Remove any weapons, alcohol, medication, drugs and sharp objects from around the person.
  • Call national crisis helpline 010 195 202 (Mon–Fri 09:00–07:00, Sat–Sun 15:00–07:00).
  • If you need immediate emergency help, call the emergency number 112.
  • Take the person to a hospital emergency room or seek the assistance of other medical professionals immediately.

More information about suicide prevention: National Institute for Health and Welfare

Suicidal thoughts

Suicidal thoughts are often caused by untreated depression. People contemplating suicide should be reminded that help is always available, not matter how agonizing the situation. The first step is to talk about one’s suicidal thoughts with someone, such as a crisis worker, a nurse or a friend.

You can find the phone number of the national crisis helpline and other support services at the eMental health site maintained by the Finnish Association for Mental Health.

Information and help for those who have lost a loved one to suicide (in Finnish): www.surunauha.net/itsjalah.html

Information about suicide in Finland (in Finnish): http://www.surunauha.net/itsuomes.html

Help for persons with suicidal thoughts: www.e-mielenterveys.fi/en/suicide


Suicide deeply affects our society. Every year around 10,000 Finns are left to grieve the loss of a loved one.

The Finnish suicide rate has been slightly declining in recent decades. Previously, it had steadily increased until it peaked in 1990 with 1,520 suicides. The trend was reversed by a suicide prevention campaign carried out in 1986–1995, and since then the Finnish suicide rate has remained level.

However, around 900 Finns still commit suicide each year. This stands for an average of almost three suicides per day. The falling suicide rate has been overshadowed by the fact that adolescents’ suicides and the proportional suicide rate of women have increased. Even some elderly people and children take their life, although less frequently. Suicide is most common among middle-aged men.

The Finnish suicide rate is still among the highest in the world. Compared to other EU countries, Finns take their own life almost twice as often as other Europeans in relation to the population. This is best illustrated by a statistical comparison to other causes of death: in 2011, 2,383 Finns died in accidents, of which 291 in road accidents, while 912 Finns died by suicide. In addition, some suicides are categorized as deaths from alcohol- or drug-related causes or road accidents. Most of Finns know someone who has committed suicide.

Sorrow remains

What do the 900 yearly suicides mean in practice? There is the pain experienced by those who end up committing suicide, but there is also the silent sorrow of those who are left behind and, in the worst case, lose their ability to function. Suicide is one of the greatest tragedies in human life.

In Finland, suicide is a socially significant phenomenon. People who commit suicide leave behind around 10 000 grieving family members and friends every year. Suicides directly affect the work of healthcare and social services professionals.

The death of a loved one usually brings on a traumatic crisis, and the mourning period is long and lonely. It can paralyze and isolate – and often leads to depression and suicidal thoughts. Conflicts with other grieving family members or friends are common.

People who have lost a loved one to suicide often suffer from sleeping disorders, concentration problems and various anxiety neuroses. These are exhausting conditions that affect the ability to work and maintain relationships. The situation is made worse by the difficulty of finding support: many people would like to help but don’t know what to say or how to act. People who have lost a loved one to suicide always need the help and support of family members, friends, peers and health professionals.

Could I have prevented it?

People who have lost someone to suicide often feel not only sorrow but also immense guilt for what has happened. It is important to understand that the person who committed suicide had to go through overwhelming fear, shame, disappointment or sadness. It is also important to come to terms with the fact that this person’s suicide was affected by biological, psychological, social and cultural factors. Suicide is typically preceded by one or more triggering factors, such as illness or a life-changing crisis that leads to a loss of self-esteem.

Suicidal thoughts are often caused by a need to escape unbearable emotions, not so much by a desire to die. This is why suicides can be prevented by offering the right kind of help, by talking about the self-destructive thoughts and giving treatment.

People who have lost someone to suicide go through a long and difficult grieving process, from the initial shock to a new beginning. Everyone mourns differently. Some people try to deal with it all by themselves while some want to talk to friends. Some benefit from concentrating on exercise or work while some need to rest in peace and quiet. Whatever your way of grieving, it is usually necessary to talk to a healthcare professional or get peer support. It helps to know that others have been through similar experiences and ultimately survived through the worst, even if the grieving process takes years.