Suicidal feelings

Explains what suicidal feelings are, including possible causes and how you can learn to cope.

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 been experiencing a growing sense of hopelessness and worthlessness for some time.

You may not know what has caused you to feel this way but it is often a combination of factors.

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

Struggling to cope with certain difficulties in your life can cause you to feel suicidal, such as:

  • mental health problems
  • bullying or discrimination
  • domestic abuse
  • bereavement
  • the end of a relationship
  • long-term physical pain or illness
  • adjusting to a big change, such as retirement or redundancy
  • money problems or homelessness
  • isolation or loneliness
  • being in prison
  • feeling inadequate or a failure
  • losing a loved one to suicide
  • addiction or substance abuse
  • pregnancy, childbirth or postnatal depression
  • cultural pressure, such as forced marriage
  • doubts about your sexual or gender identity
  • sexual or physical abuse

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 have been found to cause suicidal feelings. This side effect is mainly associated with a type of antidepressant called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) but all antidepressants carry this potential risk.

Young people under the age of 25 are particularly at risk. For further guidance please see our information on what you need to know before taking antidepressants.

If you find you are experiencing suicidal feelings while taking antidepressants:

  • contact your GP as soon as possible to discuss this
  • if you feel at immediate risk go to your local hospital's A&E department

"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 the following groups are more at risk of taking their own life:


It's not clear why more men than women complete suicide. However if you are male 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 or feel you have to cope without help
  • worry that you will appear weak if you talk about your feelings or seek support.

Organisations such as the Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) are working to prevent male suicide in the UK by challenging the culture that prevents men from seeking help when they need and by offering support to men in crisis via their helpline and webchat.

Feeling suicidal

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


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

The reasons for this are complex and not yet fully understood. However, mental health problems experienced by LGBTQ people have been linked to:

  • discrimination
  • bullying
  • homophobia, biphobia or transphobia

You might also experience rejection, negative reactions or hostility from family members, friends, strangers, employers or members of the religious community. This can have a big impact on your self-esteem and mean you might feel unable to be open about your sexual or gender identity at work, at home or in the world at large.

Organisations such as Switchboard provide support and information to gay, lesbian, bi-sexual and trans people via their confidential helpline, instant messaging and email service. The Gender Trust support anyone affected by gender identity issues, and has a list of local support groups, and therapists who specialise in supporting people with gender identity issues.

For further information, see our pages on LGBTQ mental health.

This information was published in June 2016. We will revise it in 2019.

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

Share this information

arrow_upwardBack to Top