Suicidal Thoughts

Young Lad

Having suicidal thoughts can be extremely frightening and difficult to talk about. If you feel suicidal you may not necessarily want to die; you may just be unable to see any other way of coping with life and want time-out from it. Find support.

What are Suicidal Thoughts?

Most young people think about death now and again but when emotional pain, feelings of hopelessness or not knowing how to cope, become too much, this may lead to suicidal thoughts.

It’s an important matter for young people as 20%-45% of older adolescents say they have had suicidal thoughts at some time (Hawton, 2005) and naturally, this will be very distressing.

Suicidal thoughts can be thoughts of being ‘better off dead’, of thinking how you might kill yourself or planning when and where to kill yourself.

Suicide is the act of a person consciously choosing to end their own life. People who feel this way don’t necessarily want to die, they may just be unable to see any other way of coping with life as it is and simply want to stop existing

"I’m not sure how much I wanted to die I just didn’t want things to carry on as they were so I thought it might be a better option"

Anton, 18 years


Help Steps

  1. Step 1: Talk to someone you trust.

    This could be your best mate, parents, boyfriend, girlfriend or tutor. It might feel difficult, especially if you are worried about how they’ll react, or if you feel upset and hopeless.

    You might think they won’t understand but hopefully they will be able to relate somewhat to how you are feeling. If you find it hard to start the conversation maybe print and take this booklet with you and discuss what difficulties you think you have. Talking it over is important for lots of reasons:

    • it can be a weight off your mind to say it out loud
    • you will need their support if you are struggling;
    • someone just being there can help you relax and feel less isolated;
    • they can offer reassurance that things will get better;
    • they can motivate you when you cannot motivate yourself;
    • they can help you find help or help you with practical things like booking appointments.

    We really recommend talking to someone but if you feel you can’t talk to someone you know then the Samaritans offer confidential advice and support and can be contacted on 08457 90 90 90.

  2. Step 2: Self-help

     Self-help therapies are a range of techniques you can apply yourself to help cope with stress and feel in control.

    Self-help is recommended as part of treatment for young people with depression but is only suitable if you have the energy and motivation to undertake it. If you are feeling suicidal you will need more support than self-help alone but it might be useful later in your recovery to help you stay well. Self-help could be completing exercises that you read, watch, listen to or complete online, it could be using relaxation training or it could be attending support groups.

    Have a look at our resources for depression.

  3. Step 3: Finding professional help and support.

    Suicidal feelings can be powerful, so if you feel this way don’t try and handle it alone. There’s lots of available support. You could contact your GP for a referral to an appropriate service. This may include a specialist team, counselling, psychological therapy or medication. There are also lots of support networks locally and nationally that your GP will be able to put you in touch with.

    Have a look at what works for helping suicidal thoughts and think about what would suit you. See our Interactive Map for local help.

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