Suicidal thoughts are thoughts about hurting yourself or taking your own life. Suicide is the act of taking your own life. Suicide can be linked to depression. Suicidal thoughts can happen to anyone—young and old, male and female—for a number of reasons. Usually, suicidal thoughts occur when a person is in intense emotional pain and doesn’t see a way out. The things that cause this type of pain are different for everyone. Suicide is often preventable.
There are multiple risk factors for suicide, including:
- Poor physical and mental health.
- A history of violence.
- A family history of suicide.
- Having weapons in your home.
- Having recently been released from a long stay in prison or jail.
- Hanging out with others who talk about suicide or encourage you to take your own life.
- Traumatic events.
Path to improved well being
Even though it feels like your pain will never end, suicidal thoughts often are caused by a treatable health problem. This includes physical medical conditions such as depression. Depression is a serious medical condition. It changes the chemicals in your brain. It affects your moods, thoughts, and emotions. It can make it hard or impossible for you to feel happy, remember good times, or see solutions to your problems. If you have been treated for depression in the past, you may need to try other treatments to find the one that works.
Some of the things you can do when you are feeling depressed include:
- Reach out for help. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-TALK). You are not alone. You may feel like your loved ones don’t care. But people want to help you. Tell someone what’s going on. Call a friend or family member, your family doctor, or your church.
- Avoid things that trigger suicidal thoughts. These things are different for everyone. Common triggers include being alone, drinking alcohol, and doing drugs. Spend time with family or friends every day. Make your home safe by getting rid of alcohol, drugs, and the things that you used or planned to use to hurt yourself.
- Give it time. You do not have to act on your suicidal thoughts. Make a promise to yourself that you will give yourself time to ask for help and seek treatment.
- Take care of your health and wellness. Follow your doctor’s eating and exercise advice. Get plenty of sleep. Learn how to deal with stress. Find and do things that you enjoy. If you’re taking medicine to treat depression, don’t skip your medicine. Take the right amount at the right time.
- Work with a professional. This could be a psychiatrist or a counselor. Don’t be afraid to open up to the professional. You should tell him or her what you are feeling and don’t hide anything.
When a patient is diagnosed with depression, I’m trained to provide care ranging from prescribing antidepressants to helping find other resources. Read More
Suicidal thoughts are relatively common. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 3.9% of Americans have thought — or will think — about suicide in any given year. And I would know. I have dealt with passive ideations for years. It is a symptom of my illness. I am one in 9 million. But there is help.
When you or a loved one is in the middle of a crisis, it can be hard to know what to do. We spoke with mental health experts who offered some guidance on how to support someone experiencing suicidal thoughts. There is hope, and there are several things you can do to combat suicidal thoughts.
Here are six suggestions, according to the experts.
1. Determine whether your thoughts are passive or active.
The first step is to evaluate where you are on the spectrum to determine if your suicidal thoughts are passive or active. Of course, understanding the difference may seem difficult; however, Dr. Gail Saltz — an associate professor of psychiatry at the New York Presbyterian Hospital Weill-Cornell School of Medicine and the host of the “Personology” podcast from iHeart Media — offered a simple explanation.
“If a person is passively suicidal they are thinking about suicide but not planning to act on it, i.e. they have thought like ‘I wish I wouldn’t wake up tomorrow.’ However, those with active thoughts have a desire and a plan, i.e. ‘I want to kill myself and I have an idea how I’d do that.’”
Still unsure? Check out this suicidality scale.
2. Seek outpatient therapy or medical intervention.
If your suicidal thoughts are passive, Dr. Saltz suggested speaking with a medical professional as soon as possible. “You should seek an outpatient evaluation and treatment from a mental health care provider who is experienced in treating major depression, anxiety disorders and other mood disorders.”
However, if your thoughts are active and you have considered a plan, have the means or thought through when you would die by suicide, your approach should be more aggressive.
“You should seek an urgent evaluation and treatment if you have an active thought, a plan and feel at risk of self-harm,” Saltz said. “You may also want to go to the emergency room to be evaluated.”
3. Make a safety plan.
If you have regular suicidal ideations or if you are currently feeling suicidal you can (and should) make a crisis plan, or a suicide safety plan.
“I suggest that folks have a safety plan. This is not just a ‘what-to-do-if-I’m-suicidal’ safety plan but one that helps people know what to do at different levels of distress,” Dr. Taslim Alani-Verjee, a licensed psychologist and the founder and director Silm Centre for Mental Health, explained.
“If, for example, you are feeling restless and/or agitated you may want to call a friend, listen to music, go for a walk, or play with a pet. Being open and active helps. This plan, however, should include varying levels and should have tangible steps to take if suicidal thoughts increase or intensity, including but not limited to holding an ice cube, eating a sour candy, calling a helpline, and/or going to the hospital.”
Not sure where to begin? Speak with your therapist, psychologist or psychiatrist about how you can make a suicide safety plan.
4. Avoid activities and substances that exacerbate distress.
While knowing who to contact and when is important, there are other tangible steps you can (and should) take to combat anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts. Dr. Lindsay Israel, a board-certified psychiatrist and the chief medical officer of Success TMS, told The Mighty avoiding certain substances is imperative.
“Avoid drinking alcohol or using illicit drugs, as this can worsen the suicidal thoughts as well as negatively impact judgment and the ability to inhibit yourself from acting impulsively.”
You should also try to avoid thoughts and activities that may make you feel worse, though this isn’t always easy.
“Stay away from anything that brings up bad memories too, as you may feel more sad, angry, guilty, ashamed, or anything else that will worsen the suicidality,” Dr. Patricia Celan, a postgraduate psychiatry resident at Dalhousie University in Canada, explained. And avoid being alone, if possible.
“Avoid keeping these thoughts and feelings to yourself,” Saltz said, “as sharing with others is relieving and helps you feel less alone and get help.”
5. Create safety at home.
If you have a history of suicidal thoughts, it’s helpful to make sure your home is a place of safety. Especially if you have considered a plan or means for suicide, remove any of the means from your home. Enlist help when you need it.
“Remove any items which can be used to carry out a suicide attempt,” Saltz explained. “If said items are in your house and if you have a plan, ask a loved one to help you remove them immediately.”
6. Contact a crisis intervention helpline or hotline.
While contacting a crisis helpline may sound scary, suicide prevention hotlines are designed to save lives — not criticize or judge them.
“It is always appropriate to contact a suicide prevention/crisis hotline if you are having suicidal thoughts,” Clarissa Harwell — a licensed clinical social worker — explained. “No thought is too silly, unimportant or small.”
If you or someone you know is in crisis, you should call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, The Trevor Project at 1-866-488-7386, or reach Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741741. You can also head to your nearest emergency room or call 911.
If you need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, the Trevor Project at 1-866-488-7386 or reach the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741741.
If you are assailed by suicidal thoughts, the first thing to remember is that most people who have attempted suicide and survived ultimately feel relieved that they did not end their life.
Some of the thoughts you may be having include:
- I want to escape my suffering.
- I have no other options.
- I am a horrible person and don’t deserve to live.
- I have betrayed my loved ones.
- My loved ones would be better off without me.
- I want my loved ones to know how bad I’m feeling.
- I want my loved ones to know how bad they’ve made me feel.
*Whatever thoughts you are having, and however bad you are feeling, remember that you have not always felt this way, and that you will not always feel this way.*
The risk of a person committing suicide is highest in the combined presence of:
- Suicidal thoughts.
- The means to commit suicide.
- The opportunity to commit suicide.
If you’re prone to suicidal thoughts, ensure that any means of committing suicide have been removed. For example, give tablets and sharp objects to a trusted person for safekeeping, or put them away in a locked cupboard or other hard-to-access place.
Also ensure that the opportunity to commit suicide is lacking. The surest way of doing this is by remaining in close contact with one or more people, for example, by inviting them to stay with you, or going to stay with them. Share your thoughts and feelings with these people, and, if you need it, don’t hesitate to ask for their support.
Failing that, there are a number of helplines that you can ring at any time of day or night. If needs must, you can even ring for an ambulance or take yourself to the Emergency Department.
Avoid alcohol and drugs, as these can cloud your thinking, leading to impulsive and dangerous behaviour. In particular, don’t drink or take drugs when alone, or when you’re going to end up alone.
Going to sleep can be a very good idea. Sleep is an escape from suicidal thoughts and associated feelings, and even a single night’s rest can completely shift one’s outlook.
If you’re having trouble sleeping, read my article on sleep.
When you’re feeling more stable, make a list of all the positive things about yourself, and make another list of all the positive things about your life, including those that have so far kept you going. Get some help with the lists, as your depression is very likely to be skewing your judgement. Keep the lists on you, and read them to yourself regularly and whenever you are assailed by suicidal thoughts.
On a separate sheet of paper, write a safety plan for the times when you feel like acting on your suicidal thoughts. Your safety plan could involve delaying any suicidal attempt by at least 48 hours, and then, as soon as possible, talking to someone about your thoughts and feelings. Discuss your safety plan with a health professional and commit yourself to following it.
Example of a safety plan
1. Read through the list of positive things about myself.
2. Read through the list of positive things about my life and remind myself of the things that have so far prevented me from committing suicide.
3. Distract myself from suicidal thoughts by reading a book, listening to classical music, or watching my favorite film or comedy.
4. Get a good night’s sleep. Take a sleeping tablet if necessary.
5. Delay any suicidal attempt by at least 48 hours.
6. Call Stan on (phone number). If he is unreachable, call Julia on (phone number). Alternatively, call my healthcare professional on (phone number), or the crisis line on (phone number).
7. Go to a place where I feel safe such as the community centre or the sports centre.
8. Go to the Emergency Room.
9. Call for an ambulance.
- Suicide Risk Factors and Signs
- Find a therapist near me
For the longer term, try to address the cause or causes of your suicidal thoughts in as far as possible. Discuss this with your doctor or another health professional, who will help you to identify and access the most appropriate forms of support.
Suicidal thoughts are a huge part of my life with borderline personality disorder. Even though I have them less frequently than I used to, they can still cause me a lot of distress. Here are my four tips for coping with suicidal thoughts.
How I Cope with Suicidal Thoughts
1. Understanding Why I Have to Cope with Suicidal Thoughts
Suicidal thoughts are my mind’s response to emotional pain. There were many times in my life when I felt so low that I wanted to die and I thought that I wouldn’t survive the pain I felt. Once I came to the understanding that suicidal thoughts are a response to painful experiences, I started to find ways of managing them. One of the main coping techniques I use is to remind myself that suicidal thoughts emerge from a place of pain. Acknowledging my distress helps me to be compassionate to myself, rather than being critical of myself for feeling suicidal.
2. Observing Suicidal Thoughts Rather than Getting Sucked into Them
I tell myself: “I notice I am having thoughts about death,” or, “I am observing the thought that I’m worthless.” Acknowledging my thoughts in this way separates what I think from who I am and what I do. I find that observing thoughts creates a mental space in which helpful choices can be made. When I recognize that I think I’m worthless, I identify that I don’t have to buy into this narrative. If my thoughts tell me to stay at home, I am learning that I can still choose to go out. Noticing my distressing thoughts won’t necessarily get rid of them, but it can stop me from being controlled by them. I discovered this technique in dialectical behavior therapy (DBT).
3. Using Distraction as a Way to Cope with Thoughts of Suicide
Distracting myself is often a very effective way of coping with suicidal thoughts. Distressing thoughts tend to get stuck on repeat and this only serves to amplify sadness or shame. Engaging with an activity I love, such as reading, writing or yoga can give my mind a few minutes of relief from the exhaustion of suicidal thoughts when it’s difficult to cope. There have been instances however when I’ve felt so suicidal that I can’t manage these activities. During these times, I’ve relied on books and films from childhood because they offer me a sense of simplicity. I have also turned to painting and drawing which give me a break from the pressures of the adult world.
4. Taking Care of Physical Needs to Cope with Suicidal Thoughts
It’s so important that I look after myself physically when I’m coping with a lot of suicidal thoughts. Often these thoughts are stronger for me at night which can make it difficult for me to sleep because I am crying and panicking so much. Therefore, it is vital that I do everything I can to feel as safe and calm as possible at bedtime, whether that’s taking a warm, soothing shower or listening to my favorite audiobooks. My suicidal thoughts also tend to get more intense when I’m hungry, so I carry healthy snacks with me whenever I can. I appreciate that it can be extremely difficult to look after myself when I feel suicidal, but my therapist has helped me to see that feeling worthless is not the same as being worthless.
Do you have other tips for coping with suicidal thoughts? Share them in the comments.
Thinking about suicide is the first step in the journey of taking your life. Whether you are making detailed plans or just entertaining the thought, you need to take steps to avert the possible worsening of the situation. Some people have no control of the process once the thoughts begin streaming. Others experience suicidal thoughts in waves.
Suicidal thoughts signal deeper mental issues that could include depression. You are probably facing a situation that you think is impossible to overcome. Which are the best steps to take when thinking about suicide?
Recognize the early signs of suicide
You do not wake up one day and you are thinking about suicide. The feeling grows over time because of the escalation of the underlying issues. Depression is the first cause of suicidal tendencies. If you can identify it early enough, it will be easier to reverse the causes of depression. Here are some of the early signs of depression that ultimately lead to suicidal thoughts.
- Feeling worthless, hopeless, helpless, and guilty. It may result because of something you have done or what other people think you did. Failure to achieve or deliver to the expectations of other people may also result in depression.
- Feeling sad and blue all day- nothing makes you happy. You could have missed your expectations or do not find excitement in whatever you have. Lack of people around you to celebrate the achievements is also one of the reasons people feel blue and sad for prolonged periods.
- Have you lost interest in the things that you were enthusiastic about? It could be an early sign of depression. Identify why your morale is low. Find people or situations that excite you to resume enjoying or partaking in these activities.
- Insomnia- you will lack sleep because thoughts are racing all over your mind. Some people fear sleeping because they feel like something wrong will happen. You end up lying on the bed for hours without any sleep.
- Life feels worthless- it happens at the final stages. You do not want to try anything to improve your life. When life feels worthless, you are not afraid of taking it through suicide.
Depression manifests in many ways. Some people talk to themselves or begin loitering in the neighborhood. Any abnormal change in behavior requires deeper scrutiny because it could be the early signs of depression that could eventually lead to suicide.
Thinking about suicide
Depression is an early sign that might not come with suicidal feelings or thoughts. What happens when you become suicidal?
Suicidal thoughts come in waves. It gets worse with time if no attempt is made to reverse the situation. Here are manifestations of suicidal thoughts in people.
- You think of taking your life too many times
- You plan how to take your life
- You may even attempt to take your life and stop at a certain degree
- Writing suicide notes and justification
- Feeling that death is the only way to solve your problems
- Giving away things
- Failing to turn up for work because you do not need it anymore
- Risky behaviors like unsafe sex and driving dangerously on the road
- Purchase of lethal weapons that you would not have bought previously
- Organizing your funeral
There is no point in the suicide spectrum that you cannot reverse. You are safe when you have recognized the early signs and are willing to take corrective measures. What should you do once you spot these signs or someone alerts you that you are headed the way of suicide?
Seek help immediately
Health authorities provide 24/7 suicide support. Do not wait until it is too late. Place a call to 911 and professional help will be at your door in minutes. You will receive canceling and awareness to help you resolve the issues pushing you to attempt suicide.
You may also reach out to a friend or relative you trust. Discuss your thoughts and raise any concerns that could be pushing you to attempt suicide. You might realize that the solution is readily available.
Other platforms allow anonymous help. For instance, social media platforms do not display your name when chatting with a counselor. The same anonymous treatment is available when you call. The person you approach may help or direct you to professionals who provide a long-term solution.
Change your environment
Leave the house and get to a public place. Staying in the same environment for too long or while you feel like depression is creeping in will only aggravate the situation. Leave the room.
Interacting with other people breathes new life into you. Your mind gets distracted from the suicidal thoughts. You also get to talk to other people about the issues that could be bothering you.
A gulp of fresh air, interacting with other people, and walking will give you hope. You stop seeing doom around you. Instead, you begin to believe that a positive life is possible. Move from the depressing surrounding into a place where you can feel safe and wanted.
Solve the underlying issues
Identify the issue causing depression to the point of contemplating suicide. Is it that your job is not paying you well enough? Do you have unaccomplished goals? Are you getting too much pressure from your boss or society? Until the underlying issue is resolved, any intervention will be futile.
Change your lifestyle
Lifestyle is a huge cause of depression that may culminate into suicide. Change your lifestyle to avoid slipping into depression again even after the interventions that have been made. You might think of leaving some friends or even changing your job. Another option is to acquire a new skill that will transform your life in the long run. Change of lifestyle ensures that you do not fall back into the same trap because it is a cycle.
The trouble with suicidal thoughts is that they come in waves. Recognize the early signs, seek help, and change your lifestyle to get you out of the danger zone. Decide to avoid depression and suicidal thoughts for the same of your health and life.
I have struggled with having suicidal thoughts throughout my young adult and teenage years. As someone living with cerebral palsy , the feeling of having to rely on others to complete my everyday tasks, needing to use a wheelchair and living inside a body I can’t physically control has sometimes taken a toll on my mental health . This sometimes causes me to feel like I’m a burden to everyone and everything, and the thought comes to mind that I’d be better off dead.
Luckily I’ve been able to come up with coping mechanisms th at help me deal with suicidal thoughts :
1. Write down your emotions.
Writing has always been my go-to when I felt suicidal in the past, and it still is now. Writing is a great way to cope with your emotions and it helps release all the negative thoughts you might have.
2. Listen to music.
Music has been another go-to whenever I felt suicidal in the past after coming back from a doctor’s appointment and not getting the best news. I grab my headphones, put the volume up and listen to MercyMe. Listening to music has helped me escape from the mindset I was in.
3. Find a hobby you enjoy doing.
When I have felt suicidal over my situation, painting allows me to be creative and not think about negative thoughts. Finding a hobby could help you overcome being suicidal.
4. Watch a comedy movie.
When I have felt suicidal in the past, I would go on Netflix and watch “Austin Powers.” It would make me laugh so hard I would forget about all the negative thoughts I had.
5. Change your surroundings.
When I was having a tough time dealing with suicidal thoughts last year, I decided to redecorate my room and change my surroundings so that I could be much better and have a fresh new start.
6. Go out with friends.
When I have felt suicidal, I would go out to the beach with friends, watch the waves on the ocean and be at peace with my mind.
7. Talk to your family.
Having a discussion with your family about how you’re feeling goes a long way, and maybe they could help you work through your emotions and get you the help you need.
8. Seek professional help.
Seeking professional help is one of the best things you can do for yourself and your mental health. You will have the chance to learn coping skills in order to handle your emotions and it will give you peace of mind.
Ultimately, dealing with cerebral palsy and suicidal thoughts can be tough, but I hope with these tips you will be able to cope with your thoughts and overcome the obstacles you’re facing.
If you need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, the Trevor Project at 1-866-488-7386 or reach the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741741.
Make 2020 the year you take better care of yourself.
Simple self-care strategies should be at the heart of everyone’s day. Take the first step with 52 Small Things, The Mighty’s weekly self-care challenge.
Suicidal thoughts are some of the most difficult thoughts to cope with, and we’re glad you’re here to learn more about how to cope with them.
Talk to Someone about Suicidal Thoughts Now
Like all thoughts, suicidal thoughts are fleeting and impermanent. Try these tips to get through a moment of crisis.
- Talk with others about their lives
- Exercise/go for a walk
- Watch movie or television show that evokes an emotion that is different from what you are feeling
- Color in a coloring book
- Hold ice in your hand for 10 seconds
- Get out of your thoughts and ground yourself to your physical reality by naming:
- five things you can see
- four things you can hear
- three things you can feel
- two things you can taste
- one thing you can smell
- Imagine your five senses: sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch
- Choose one or more of these senses and soothe that sense. For example:
- Sight: look at a beautiful nature scene
- Hearing: listen to calming music
- Smell: wear your favorite lotion
- Touch: change into comfortable clothes
- Taste: eat your favorite dessert
Improve the Moment
- Create a perfect place in your mind where you can go to relax
- Try to make meaning out of what you’re going through
- Give your pain to any higher power you may believe in
- Engage in progressive muscle relaxation
- Mindfully focus your entire attention on a single task (e.g., washing your hands, walking to class, planning your next meal)
- Take a mini vacation from your troubles (e.g., taking a nap, a bath, or a walk)
- Make a list of things worth living for, such as:
- Friends, family members, loved ones, and pets
- Exciting events yet to take place
- Memories yet to be made
- Favorite items, foods, experiences
- “I am the architect of my life; I build its foundation and choose its contents.”
- “I am doing my best.”
- “Though these times are difficult, they are only a short phase of life.”
- “I am indestructible.”
- Talk to someone. This could be:
- A friend or family member who serves as a good distraction
- A friend or family member you can open up and be honest with
- A professional, like a trusted UIC staff member, therapist, crisis hotline, or primary care doctor
- An office on campus that can help resolve your distress (see ideas here) (external link to Additional Resources)
Make a Plan
- Complete a Self-Reflection and Coping Plan. Write it by yourself or with a friend, and keep a copy with you so you can reference it any time you experience suicidal thoughts.
How to Make an Appointment at the Counseling Center
If you are having thoughts of suicide, please stop long enough to read this. We don’t know who you are or why you visited this page, but we know that you are reading this right now, and that is good. It means that even though you may want to die, at the same time, part of you wants to live. We have known a lot of people who have experienced thoughts of suicide, so we have a small idea of what you might be feeling.
Thoughts of suicide are not chosen by those who have them. Thoughts of suicide happen when pain exceeds an individual’s ability to cope with pain. These thoughts do not make you a bad person; they do not make you weak or flawed. Their presence, though, means that you’re likely experiencing more pain than you can cope with at this moment.
We are thankful that you are here, reading these words, because we want to help reduce your pain and find ways to increase your coping resources. The following resources lend support in many different ways, but they all have a shared purpose: to give you more ways to cope and give you back the control that thoughts of suicide are taking away from you.
Fact checked by experts and reviewed by young people.
Suicidal thoughts can happen when someone has feelings of hopelessness or despair. Sometimes they can last a while, but other times they could be momentary and pass quickly. If things feel overwhelming and you don’t know how to cope, you may be experiencing suicidal thoughts. Knowing how to identify these thoughts and finding ways to cope can help you to overcome suicidal thoughts and get the support you need.
Remember, there are people out there who want to support you through this. If you are having suicidal thoughts, you can call the 24/7 Pieta House helpline at 1800 247 247 to speak to someone now.
If you are suicidal with a specific plan to end your life, you need to call 999 or if you can, go to your nearest A&E or out of hours GP service.
How to handle suicidal thoughts
When suicidal thoughts come up, there are things you can do to handle and overcome them. You may need to try a few different things in order to find what works for you, but know that it is possible to overcome and recover from thoughts of suicide.
Talk to someone
One of the best things you can do in this situation is to talk to someone and let them know how you’re feeling. If you can, arrange for someone to sit with you or do something with you for a while. If you’re alone, call someone on the phone and ask them to stay on the line with you.
If no one is available or you’re not sure who to contact, call a helpline.
SpunOut.ie’s text message support service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We provide in-the-moment anonymous support and problem solving when you need it most. Free-text SPUNOUT to 50808 to chat anonymously with a trained volunteer.
Pieta House run a free, 24 hour helpline for people who are feeling suicidal and engaging in self harm. Call 1800 247 247 or text ‘Help’ to 51444 to get started (standard text messaging rates apply).
Traveller Counselling Service
If you are a young Traveller and would like to speak to a counsellor who directly works with the Travelling community, the Travelling Counselling Service can support you. The service works from a culturally inclusive framework which respects Traveller culture, identity, values and norms and works from a perspective of culture centred counselling and psychotherapy. They offer counselling both in person and online.
- Landline: 01 868 5761
- Mobile: 086 308 1476
- Email: [email protected]
Make sure you’re not in a dangerous situation
If you’re feeling suicidal and you are in a situation where you might act on it, try to remove yourself. Leave the area, move away from any tools you could use to hurt yourself, or go to another room. If you are in a safe space, stay there and avoid putting yourself in a situation where you could hurt yourself.
Finding ways to cope
The best way to deal with overwhelming thoughts can be different for everyone. Each person can have their own way of coping, and you just need to find the best approach for you. This could include breathing exercises, writing things down, going for a walk, listening to music, or spending time with other people. Find out what helps you to feel better and remember that each time you feel you are struggling to cope.
These lists of self harm distraction techniques and ways to deal with urges to self harm may give you some ideas when looking for new ways to cope.
Remember your reasons for living
Take time to remember your reasons for living. This can be a family member, a friend, a pet that you love, something you want to achieve in life, or something that inspires you. Remember that in order to experience these things, you need to be here. Some people find just taking the time to remember these things can be reassuring.
Avoid alcohol and drugs
Alcohol is a depressant and can cause a low mood, which can actually make us feel a lot worse, and taking drugs can have an unpredictable effect on our actions. This can enable people to experience suicidal thoughts, so it’s best to completely avoid alcohol and drugs if you can.
Develop a safety plan
A safety plan is a plan that lays out the steps you will take every time you experience suicidal thoughts or have an urge to hurt yourself. It can include calling a friend or a helpline, going somewhere safe, or visiting A&E. Your safety plan will always be there with the steps to follow each time you are feeling suicidal.
Get professional help
You don’t need to go through this alone. There is help out there, and there are a number of services around Ireland that are there to support you through this. A great place to start is to speak to your GP about how you’ve been feeling. You can also find out about suicide support services in your area.
In addition a 24 hour helpline, Pieta House offer in-person suicide and self harm support services in centres around Ireland. Call 1800 247 247 to talk to someone about what’s going on and get support.
If you need to talk to someone now you can call Pieta House at 1800 247 247 or Samaritans at 116 123.
Dealing with suicidal ideation isn’t uncommon, but because it’s so difficult to talk about, a lot of people have misconceptions about what it’s like, and what it is and isn’t.
Having persistent thoughts of suicide is known as suicidal ideation. People can have passive suicidal ideation – feeling like they want to die but not acting on it – or active suicidal ideation, which, like it sounds, includes making plans.
To help others better understand suicide and suicidal ideation, we asked the BuzzFeed Community what they wished other people understood about their experience. Hundreds of people reached out with their stories — heartbreaking and hopeful, personal and thoughtful — and here were some of the most common things they want more people to know:
1. Suicidal ideation isn’t always about wanting to die — it’s a lot more complicated than that.
It can be feeling like you don’t have another way to make the pain stop or hopelessness about the future. It can be indifference about life or the hope that an accident or disease takes the choice out of your hands. It can be about making reckless or self-sabotaging decisions. Everyone experiences it differently.
2. Not everyone who deals with suicidal thoughts is an active suicide risk.
When we talk about suicidal thoughts, a lot of people imagine it means someone is standing on a proverbial ledge. But suicidality exists on a spectrum, and passive suicidal ideation — meaning chronically not wanting to be alive, but not necessarily actively wanting to die — is a thing people often forget about.