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Finding Hope: How to stay safe when dealing with suicidal thoughts

Many of us will struggle with feelings of hopelessness and despair at some point in our lives. If you are struggling with emotional distress, thoughts of harming yourself, or feel that you would be better off dead, you are not alone. Suicidal thoughts are more common than you might think.

You are not a bad or weak person if you are experiencing these thoughts. It doesn’t even mean that you really want to die. Suicidal thoughts are often a way our brains tell us that we’re dealing with more distress than we feel able to cope with right now.

While these thoughts can be overwhelming, it’s crucial to remember that you can find help and support to keep safe in dark times.

Recognise the signs

It’s essential to recognise the times when you may become more vulnerable to thoughts of suicide or self-harm.

If you are experiencing any of the following, you may be at a higher risk of having suicidal thoughts:

  • Persistent feelings of sadness or hopelessness
  • Withdrawal from friends and family
  • Feeling trapped or like you are a burden
  • Persistent feelings of worthlessness or guilt
  • Increasing your use of alcohol or drugs to cope

Strategies for staying safe: how you can help Yourself

  1. Reach out for help: Speak to someone you trust. And don’t wait to do it. Whether it’s your partner, family member, close friend, or a mental health professional, it’s vital that you share how you are feeling. You don’t have to battle these thoughts alone.
  2. Don’t isolate yourself: Avoid spending long periods of time on your own. Make definite plans to talk to or meet a friend or family member.
  3. Keep yourself occupied: Try to plan your day with small, achievable tasks that can help you to maintain some routine as well as keep your mind occupied. Achieving even small things, like getting washed and dressed, can give you a real sense of accomplishment.
  4. Keep healthy: Try to eat as well as you can, stay hydrated, and get some exercise – even just a short walk outside can boost your mood. Avoid alcohol and non-prescription drugs.
  5. Be compassionate: Don’t be afraid of how you feel; be kind to yourself. This will pass.

When should i get help for suicidal thoughts?

Thoughts of suicide and self-harm should always be taken seriously. But if these thoughts become severe or persistent, or the strategies you are trying are not helping, you should seek professional help.

If your feelings of harming yourself are severe or you feel there is nothing preventing you from acting on them, reach out to someone or contact crisis support immediately. Details of helplines and emergency support can be found below. 

Getting more support: how a professional can help you

If you are struggling with suicidal thoughts, it’s essential to seek professional help. A qualified and experienced therapist can provide support, guidance, and treatment options specific to your needs and struggles.

A therapist will be able to work with you to create a tailored Safety Plan that will outline steps you can take when you start to feel overwhelmed. This will include coping strategies, emergency contacts, and other details to help you feel and stay safe.

Our therapists, Dr Sian Thrasher and Nicky Edmans, are both qualified and experienced with supporting people struggling with thoughts of suicide or self-harm. During assessment and treatment, our therapists will regularly check in with you about your safety. They have a duty of care to each of their clients, so your safety is their priority.

If they feel it would be beneficial, they may ask if you would like your GP to be involved in your care. Of course, this is entirely up to you, and they would never contact your GP without your permission.

Crisis Helplines for suicidal thoughts

If you feel you are in a crisis and need immediate help and support, you will find the following helplines, websites, and apps useful:

Samaritans

Call 116 123. This helpline is available any time of the day or night and you will be put through immediately to the nearest free line.

Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM)

Call 0800 58 58 58. This helpline is available from 5pm to midnight, 365 days a year.

Webchat available 5pm-midnight.

Papyrus

HOPELINEUK is a confidential support and advice people for under 35’s who are struggling with suicidal thoughts.

Call 0800 068 41 41.

Text 07860 039967.

 Email: pat@papyrus-uk.org.

Shout

Text SHOUT to 85258. For free, confidential help over text.

StayAlive app

A suicide prevention app, full of information and resources to help you stay safe.

Calm Harm app

An award-winning app that has been designed to help you combat urges to self-harm.


Remember, there is hope and you are not alone. With the right support and resources, you can keep yourself safe and find a path toward healing and recovery.

Would you like to know more about how to improve your mental health? Our consultant psychologist, Dr Sian Thrasher, offers a free 15-minute telephone consultation specifically for you to discuss CBT and treatment options.

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