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Suicide is when someone takes their own life.

Having suicidal thoughts can be different things to different people:

  • feeling like people would be better off without you
  • thoughts about ending your own life
  • making clear plans to take your own life

Having these thoughts can be scary, confusing and overwhelming.

How can I get help?

Click here if you need urgent help.

Suicidal thoughts can be a sign of other mental health challenges you may be facing, such as depression or anxiety.

If you are affected by suicidal thoughts, you should speak to a family member, teacher, youth worker or GP. Your school or GP will be able to refer you to Emotional Wellbeing & Mental Health

Ways to help yourself now

You may be feeling so overwhelmed and in pain that you can’t believe these feelings will ever end.

Many young people find that these feelings do not last, and they soon pass.

Here are steps you can act on right now to prevent yourself from acting on suicidal thoughts.

  • Get through the next five minutes – take things minute by minute
  • Remove anything that you could use to hurt yourself or move to a safer location
  • If you have a safety plan in place, follow it
  • Tell someone how you are feeling – this can make you feel more in control and less alone

  • Look after your needs – sit somewhere comfy, have something to eat, write down how you’re feeling
  • Go outside – feel more connected to your body and other people
  • Avoid drinking alcohol or taking drugs as this can make you feel worse.

  • Plan to get support if you’re not getting it already
  • Find your reasons to live
    • what are you looking forward to?
    • make plans to do something you enjoy tomorrow or next week
    • think about the people you love
  • Be kind to yourself
    • talk to yourself as you would your friend
    • do something nice for yourself
  • Tell yourself that you can get through this

Ways to help yourself in the long term

When you have the chance to think clearly, you may want to think about things you can do to look after yourself in the longer term.

A safety plan is your personal plan to support you at times when you may be having thoughts or feelings of suicide. It can include:

  • your warning signs and how to notice them
  • coping strategies that have helped you in the past and what you can do now
  • names and contact details of people who may be able to help you
  • name and contact details of professionals you can contact if you need help
  • helplines and listening services
  • steps you can take to make the place where you are safe
  • a safe place you can go to if you need to

Try to make your plan when you can think clearly about what would be helpful for you.

You may find it helpful to complete your plan with someone you trust. You could also give them a copy to keep.

Is there something that makes you feel this way?

Keeping a diary or tracking your mood can help you find patterns in your mood over time and think about what might cause you to feel suicidal.

Everyone has different ways of coping with overwhelming feelings. It’s important that you find some ways that work for you.
  • you could make a happy box filled with memories and items that lift your mood to look at when you’re feeling low
  • you could write down or paint a picture about how you’re feeling 
  • you could call a friend and talk about something you’re looking forward to
  • you could do something you find relaxing, such as reading a book, colouring or going outside
  • you could contact a helpline such as Meic to speak to a trained counsellor about how you’re feeling
Look at our pages about looking after your wellbeing for more ideas. If you’re accessing a specialist service, you can talk about different coping strategies with your practitioner who may have some ideas for you

If you have had suicidal thoughts or tried to take your life in the past, you might feel guilty for this – especially if the people you love are worried about you.

Just as we look back and accept that something made us feel sad, angry or worried, try to accept that was how you felt at the time. It wasn’t your fault. 

Try and focus your energy on looking after yourself.  

There are many ways you can do this:

  • ask for help
  • tell people how you are feeling and what you find helpful
  • ask people to be with you if you need them
  • volunteer
  • try peer support – talking to other people who have experienced similar feelings

  • get a good amount of sleep every night
  • avoid recreational drugs and alcohol as it may make you feel worse

Why do people have suicidal feelings?

Feeling unable to cope with past and current challenges in your life can make you feel suicidal.

These could include:

  • mental health challenges
  • bullying or discrimination
  • the death of someone important to you
  • breakdown of a relationship
  • money or housing problems
  • being addicted to drugs or alcohol
  • doubts or confusion about your sexual or gender identity
  • physical, mental, emotional or sexual abuse – whether now or in the past
  • long term pain or illness

Sometimes we don’t know why we are having these feelings. This can make it hard to believe there could be a solution.

No matter what the reason, there is support available to help you cope with these feelings.

How can it feel?

Everyone has a different experience with thoughts or feelings of suicide.

Some people feel like they can’t cope with the feelings. Some people feel like they can’t go on living the way they have.

Common feelings include:

  • hopelessness
  • useless
  • like people would be better off without you
  • tearful
  • desperate or with no other choice
  • overwhelmed by negative thoughts
  • unbearable pain
  • numb or separate to your body

You may also experience:

  • a change in appetite
  • poor sleep
  • feeling like you don’t want to look after yourself
  • wanting to avoid people
  • urges to hurt yourself
  • low self-esteem and self loathing
  • finding it difficult to communicate how you feel

Other resources

Other resources to help if you are having suicidal thoughts.