Explains what suicidal thoughts are, includes practical tips to stay safe and how you can access treatment and support.
In a crisis?
If you or someone you know feels unable to keep safe, call 999 (and ask for ambulance or police) or go to A&E straight away.
If you need to talk to someone, call the Samaritans for emotional support FREE on 116 123 to talk.
What are suicidal feelings?
Suicide is the act of intentionally taking your own life. Suicidal feelings can mean having abstract thoughts of ending your life. You might think that people are better off without you – or think you just want to disappear.
It can also mean thinking about or researching methods of suicide and creating plans for how you would go through with this. These feelings may be constant or come and go moment to moment. It’s normal to not understand why you feel this way or to feel confused, scared or overwhelmed by these thoughts and feelings.
“I just wanted to escape, I wanted out. Any thought of feeling better were far away and obscure and required living with too much pain to get to. I didn’t want to die, I just didn’t want to exist as I was anymore.”
What is it like to have suicidal feelings?
Here are some of the feelings you might experience:
- Upset and overwhelmed with negative thoughts
- Unbearable pain you can see no way out of
- Useless, feelings you’re a burden or not needed
- Desperate, feeling like you have no choice
- Physically numb or feeling detached or cut off from your body
- Separate from people, like no one would understand
- Fascinated by death
You might develop the following behaviours:
- Poor sleep, including early waking
- Change in appetite
- No desire to take care of yourself, neglect physical needs
- Making a will/ giving away possessions
- Withdrawn or struggle to communicate
- Self- loathing and low self- esteem
- Urges to self- harm
“I thought I wouldn’t live this long, I thought suicidal thoughts would stay forever and I was so ill I in some sick way wanted them to so I would go through with it, but they don’t. You find the will to live again, to find joy again, to love and be loved. It will happen, I would not have believed the joy I have in my life now when just a year ago I was feeling suicidal.”
How can I help myself?
It can feel impossible to tell someone you are experiencing suicidal feelings; you may feel unable to tell someone or be unsure who to tell. You might feel that they would not understand, or that they will judge you or be upset by it.
It is important to remember that you deserve support and that you are not alone; support is out there. If you worried about talking to people, it might be helpful to show Mind’s pages on supporting someone else with suicidal feelings to someone you trust.
“It was so hard to tell those I loved how I was feeling, but it helped, it released something in me and that was when I started to get more help because I had admitted to people how bad it had got and they helped fight for me when I felt I didn’t have any fight left.”
Practical tips for staying safe when feeling suicidal
Try to stay safe in the moment:
- Take things minute by minute
- Remove anything that you could use to harm yourself or ask someone else to remove these.
- Move locations if you are somewhere unsafe
- Tell someone how you’re feeling
- Find a distraction – this could be spending time with pets, listening to music, exercise, take a cold shower, or wash your face with cold water.
Focus on your physical needs:
This could be getting a glass of water, eating if you are hungry, sitting somewhere comfortable, or cuddling something soft.
Try the following when you feel able to safely:
- Contact a helpline/ listening service
- Go outside, the sensations of this can help you feel more connect to your body.
- Make plans of something you enjoy
- Think about things you’re looking forward to or people that matter to you who would miss you.
Creating a safety plan to help when you feel a crisis approaching
If you have not reached crisis point it can be useful to create a safety plan for if/when your suicidal feelings become too much. It may also be useful to talk this through with someone you trust.
Remember, this plan is personal to you, and may include:
- how to recognise your warning signs
- details of your own coping strategies, include what has helped you cope in the past and what you can do to help yourself now
- the names and contact details of anyone you know who may be able to help
- the names and contact details of professionals or agencies you can contact if you are crisis
- helplines and listening services who can help you in a crisis
- steps you can take to make your immediate environment safe
- details of a safe place you can go to, if you need to.
“I tried to think about things that would help when the feelings got strong and created a self-care box with notes from people I love, and an art journal to write my feelings out, and some scents that calmed me.”
Useful contacts – who can help?
Going to your GP can be a good starting point for getting support. It is common to worry about talking to your doctor about suicidal feelings, but they will be used to listening to people who are experiencing difficult feelings.
Your GP can:
- refer you to talking therapies
- Prescribe medication
- Refer you to a specialist service such as CAMHS or CMHT
Dorset Mind Your Head doesn’t currently provide immediate support services for young people who are experiencing a severe mental health crisis or psychological distress.
If you need more urgent help or are waiting for support through other channels then here are points of contact if you need support:
The Samaritans offer emotional support and a listening ear, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. It’s a FREEPHONE number that can even be called from a mobile with no credit.
– Call them on 116 123 (24hr)
– Or email: email@example.com
A helpline for people of all ages in Dorset who are experiencing mental health issues & need support.
– Call 111 and select ‘mental health’
– Or dial 0300 1235440 to access support.
Papyrus provides confidential support and advice for young people struggling with thoughts of suicide and anyone worried about a young person.
– Call 0800 068 4141 or 07860 039967, 9am to 10pm weekdays, 2pm to 10pm weekends and bank holidays
– Or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Kooth provides FREE, safe, anonymous support for children and young people. You can live chat or message the team of counsellors, join discussion boards and use a daily journal to track your feelings.
– Visit kooth.com
Shout provides a 24/7 text service, FREE on all major mobile networks, for anyone in crisis. It’s a place to go if you’re struggling to cope and you need immediate help.
– Text SHOUT to 85258.
Provides information and support for under 25s. Get advice about sex, relationships, drugs, mental health, money and jobs. Provides a Crisis Messenger, helpline and 1-2-1 Chat online via themix.org.uk.
– Call 0808 808 4994
– Or text THEMIX to 85258.
Young Minds is a national charity that supports young people with mental ill health and campaigns about the issues. They provide a range of resources plus specialist help for parents whose children have mental health issues.
– Text YM to 85258,
– Or if you are a parent worried about your child, call 0808 802 5544.