Explains what suicidal feelings are, and what you can do if you feel suicidal. Also covers the causes, treatments and support options for suicidal feelings.
How can I cope right now?
You might be feeling so upset, angry and in pain that you believe these feelings will never end. But it's important to remember that they cannot and will not last. Like all feelings, these ones will pass.
There are steps you can take right now to stop yourself from acting on your suicidal thoughts. Everyone is different, so it's about finding what works best for you.
These are some practical tips that other people have found helpful when they've felt suicidal.
Get through the next five minutes
Taking things minute by minute can help make things more bearable. Reward yourself each time five minutes have passed.
Use our 'I need urgent help' tool for practical ideas to help you through the next few minutes.
Remove anything you could use to harm yourself
Remove any items or things you could use to harm yourself, or ask someone else to remove these for you. If you're in an unsafe location, move away to somewhere safer.
Follow your safety plan or crisis plan
These plans are a good way to save ideas for helping yourself when you feel unwell.
Tell someone how you're feeling
Whether it's a friend, family member or even a pet, telling someone else how you're feeling can help you feel less alone and more in control.
When it got really bad and the temptation to harm myself was really bad I would get my family to hide dangerous things away and go to bed.
Try self-harm coping techniques
If you're thinking of harming yourself, you could try using self-harm coping techniques.
For example, you could:
- hold an ice cube in your hand until it melts and focus on how cold it feels
- tear something up into hundreds of pieces
- take a very cold shower or bath.
See our page of tips for coping with self-harm for more ideas.
Focus on your senses
Taking time to think about what you can smell, taste, touch, hear and see can help to ground your thoughts.
Steady your breathing
Take long, deep breaths. Breathing out for longer than you breathe in can help you feel calmer.
Look after your needs
If you can, try doing the following:
- get a glass of water
- eat something if you're hungry
- sit somewhere comfortable
- write down how you're feeling.
Try to avoid drinking alcohol or taking recreational drugs, as this can make you feel worse.
If you're feeling numb, go outside and feel the rain, sun or wind against your skin. This can help you to feel more connected to your body.
Contact a helpline or listening service
If you can't talk to someone you know, call a helpline or listening service.
Use online peer support
You could try using online peer support to talk about how you're feeling. For example, you could try Side by Side, Mind's supportive online community.
Sometimes it's just about survival and focusing on something that's real until the feelings can become easier to deal with.
Make a deal with yourself that you won't act today
Plan to get support if you're not getting support already. See our page on treatment and support for information about different ways to find help.
Find your reasons to live
You may feel like the world will be better off without you or there's no point in living, but this is never the case. You could try the following:
- Write down what you're looking forward to. This could be eating your favourite meal, seeing a loved one or catching up on the next episode of a TV show.
- Make plans to do something you enjoy tomorrow or in the near future. Plans don't have to be big or expensive.
- Think about the people you love. No matter how bad you're feeling, it's important to remember that these people would miss you.
Be kind to yourself
Talk to yourself as if you were talking to a good friend. And try doing something nice for yourself.
This could be something small like having a bath, wrapping yourself in a blanket and watching your favourite film.
These ideas may seem silly but it can be easy to forget to do something nice for yourself.
Tell yourself you can get through this
At times, we can concentrate on the negative things we tell ourselves and lose hope.
Repeating to yourself that you can get past these feelings can help you regain hope and focus on getting through it.
Rather than focus on all the desperate negative thoughts about being a burden and of no use, bring your focus into trying to believe it will not last forever and working out how you can safely get through.
This information was published in April 2020. We will revise it in 2023.
References and bibliography available on request.
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