for better mental health

Suicidal feelings

Explains what suicidal feelings are, and what you can do if you feel suicidal right now. Also covers the causes, treatments and support options for suicidal feelings, including ways to help yourself in the long term.

Why do I feel suicidal?

Suicidal feelings can affect anyone, of any age, gender or background, at any time.

If you are feeling suicidal it is likely that you have felt increasingly hopeless and worthless for some time. You may not know what has caused you to feel this way but it is often a combination of factors.

This page covers:

"The thoughts would completely consume you sometimes, feeling like you have no control over your own body."

Common causes of suicidal feelings

Struggling to cope with certain difficulties in your life can cause you to feel suicidal. These difficulties may include:

If you are unsure of why you feel suicidal, you may find it even harder to believe that there could be a solution. But whatever the reason, there is support available to help you cope and overcome these feelings.

Can medication cause suicidal feelings?

Some medications, such as antidepressants, can cause some people to experience suicidal feelings. This side effect is often associated with a type of antidepressant called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). But all antidepressants have this as a possible risk.

Some research shows that young people under the age of 25 are more likely to experience suicidal feelings when taking these medications. 

Some antipsychotic medications and mood stabilisers also cause some people to experience suicidal feelings.

If you experience suicidal feelings while taking psychiatric medication, you should talk to your GP as soon as possible about this.

If you don't feel you can keep yourself safe right now, go to any Accident & Emergency (A&E) department or call 999 for an ambulance.

"Whenever I feel suicidal thoughts starting to engulf me I keep reminding myself that feelings can change in an instant. Perhaps I'll wake up tomorrow and will no longer feel like I want to die – because that has happened many times before."

Why are some groups more at risk of suicide?

Research shows that men and people from LGBTIQ+ communities are more at risk of taking their own life. 

Men

It's not clear why more men than women take their own lives. But if you are identify as a man, you may:

  • feel pressured to 'get on with things' and keep your thoughts and feelings to yourself
  • choose suicide methods that have a lower chance of survival
  • believe you can cope without help, or feel you have to cope without help
  • worry that you will appear weak if you talk about your feelings or seek support.

The Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) works to prevent male suicide in the UK. CALM offers support to men in crisis via a helpline and webchat.

Being a man and feeling suicidal

In this video Lee, Rohan and Graham talk about the difficulties of being a man and feeling suicidal.

People from LGBTIQ+ communities

Studies show that people from LGBTIQ+ communities are more likely to experience suicidal feelings and take their own lives.

The reasons for this are complex, but mental health problems experienced by LGBTIQ+ people have been linked to:

You might also experience rejection, negative reactions or hostility from people in your life. For example, this could be from family members, friends, employers, members of a religious community, or strangers. This can have a big impact on your self-esteem. You may also feel unable to be open about your sexual or gender identity at work, at home or in other areas of your life.

Organisations which offer support for people from LGBTIQ+ communities include:

See our pages on LGBTIQ+ mental health for more information and ways to find support.

This information was published in April 2020. We will revise it in 2023.

References are available on request. If you would like to reproduce any of this information, see our page on permissions and licensing.

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