Coping with Suicidal Thoughts and Feelings
Coping with Suicidal Thoughts and Feelings
Many people have suicidal thoughts at some point in their lives. It can be scary when you feel that low. It can also be very isolating as you may not feel like you can talk to anyone about it.
Having suicidal thoughts and feelings can be linked to mental health problems such as depression, but this isn’t always the case. The important thing to remember is that you’re not alone. Talking to someone about how you feel can be scary but it will help to get some support.
If you find that you are having suicidal thoughts and feelings you need to reach out to someone. There are many ways of getting support when you feel like this. You could visit your doctor and tell them how you are feeling. They will be able to put you in contact with other local services who can help you.
You might feel more comfortable talking to a friend or member of your family. If you are reaching out to a friend remember that this will be difficult for them too. Think about how you want to approach the topic with them before you speak to them. Make sure you start talking somewhere you can have space and time.
If you don’t feel happy talking to anyone you know there are a number of helplines you can call. The Samaritans, Childline and HOPELine UK are just a few. The people who answer the phones will always have time to talk to you. They can listen to your problems and help you find ways of coping with how you are feeling.
Remember that lots of young people go through this. There are also online forums where people like you talk about their problems and what they are doing to deal with them. Posting on a message board can be a good way to access support too.
What will happen when I tell someone I feel suicidal?
It takes a lot of courage to talk to someone about feeling suicidal. Talking about your thoughts and feelings will help. You may not feel better straight away. But having support can help you start to feel better.
If you tell someone you trust about your suicidal feelings and thoughts usually they will be supportive. They might not know the best way to help you though. Listen to their suggestions. They might be able to come with you to see your doctor if you feel like you need more support.
Before you talk to them think about what you want to say. It might help to write some things down to help you explain how you are feeling.
If you are under 16 and you go to your doctor, they may tell your parents how you are feeling. Your doctor will have to decide what is best for your safety and health. This doesn’t mean they will definitely tell your parents. But they might think it’s best to involve your parents to help keep you safe.
What kind of help will I get from my doctor?
Your doctor will be able to recommend support services that could help you deal with your feelings. Counselling is one option. Talking to a trained professional can help you understand your thoughts and feelings. They will also be able to suggest techniques to help you cope.
Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is something else your doctor might recommend. This is a talking therapy that will help you change the way you think and how you deal with difficult situations.
Your doctor may also suggest medication. Talk to them about the kind of medication they are recommending. Ask as many questions as you need to. Being offered medication might sound scary. But your doctor will only suggest it if they believe it will help you.
Is there anything I can do to make myself feel better?
Talking about how you feel is one of the most important things you can do. But there are other things you can try that can help you cope with suicidal feelings.
You should make sure you keep yourself safe. Don’t drink any alcohol or take any drugs. Alcohol is a depressant and will only make you feel worse. Drugs and alcohol will stop you thinking clearly and may mean you make bad decisions.
Doing activities that you enjoy can help. If you have any hobbies or sports you like make time to do them.
Focus on your self-care. When you feel very low and start to feel suicidal it can be easy to stop doing the little things to take care of yourself. Try to make sure you are still eating properly, getting a good night’s sleep and taking care of your personal hygiene. If it feels like too much to manage try breaking things down into small tasks each day or week.
If you start small you can slowly build up what you are doing. Having goals and achieving them can also help build up your self esteem.
What about self-help strategies?
Trying some self-help strategies can also help when you are feeling suicidal. When you feel very stressed or anxious you could try some basic breathing exercises to help you relax. Taking long, slow breaths in and out can calm you down.
Practising mindfulness may also help. Take the time to pause each day and be present. Notice everything going on around you. What you can see, hear, smell and even taste. Try to accept any thoughts or feelings you have without judging yourself.
You may find you are able to distract yourself from negative thoughts and feelings by doing something you enjoy. It might be something as simple as playing your favourite video game or it could be spending time with friends.
Expressing yourself can also be helpful. This could be through art, music or creative writing. It might be through doing a physical activity, like going for a walk or working out at the gym. It might even be shouting into a pillow. Whatever helps you let some of the emotion out.
What are the signs that someone is suicidal?
Someone who is having suicidal thoughts and feelings may start behaving differently to normal. They might become more withdrawn and stop spending time with their friends. You may notice they are giving their belongings away. They could start drinking alcohol or taking drugs. They may also stop taking care of themselves.
You might also hear them saying things like “I’d be better off dead”, or “I don’t want to be here anymore”. If you are worried about them try to get them to talk to you. If you think they are likely to harm themselves, you should tell someone you trust and get help for them.
I’m worried one of my friends is suicidal, what should I do?
If you have noticed that one of your friends seems very low you should let them know you are there for them. Encourage them to talk to you. But understand that talking about how they are feeling can be very scary. They may not feel ready to open up. If you can get them to talk to you the best thing you can do is listen.
You can also make sure you spend time with them. Even if they won’t talk about how they’re feeling having someone else around can help. Go and do fun things together. Encourage them to try new things with you.
If you’re concerned for their safety you should talk to an adult you trust. Speak to your parents or their parents if you’re worried that they might try to harm themselves.
One of my friends has told me they’re suicidal. How can I help them?
If someone has opened up to you and talked about their suicidal thoughts and feelings you need to listen to them. It can be difficult for people to find the courage to talk about feeling like this. Don’t judge them when they are talking about how they feel. Reassure them that things can get better and that you are there to help them.
Show them that you care about them. That might just mean giving them a hug. It could be finding extra time to spend with them. Or it might be doing something nice for them.
You can also offer to support them if they go to their doctor. Or you might be able to find out about local support services and offer to go along with them. The important thing is to make sure they know they’re not alone.
Did you know?
-Suicide is the biggest killer of young people under the age of 35 in the UK
-26% of young people in the UK experience suicidal thoughts
-Childline experienced a 116% increase in the number of counselling sessions where children talked about suicide between 2010/11 and 2013/14
Please be aware that this is NOT for emergency help. CLICK HERE for information on emergency help.