How to cope with suicidal thoughts

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Health Assured team

16 August 2022

Suicidal thoughts can affect anyone, regardless of their gender, ethnicity or social status. For many, these thoughts arise from intense feelings of hopelessness and worthlessness. You may be dealing with these thoughts yourself or know someone who is.

For those dealing with suicidal thoughts, it may feel like suicide is the only way to end the pain. But there are ways to cope with and deal with these feelings. In this article, we will provide you with some ways you can manage these negative thoughts – and start enjoying your life again.

 

Identifying the warning signs 

There may not always be a clear sign you are dealing with an issue. The warning signs of suicidal tendencies aren't always easy to spot. However, you need to know, what they are, so you can deal with them. Here are some of the warning signs associated with suicidal thoughts:

  • Extreme mood swings
  • Feelings of hopelessness and despair
  • Feeling sad, anxious, or agitated
  • Lack of interest in daily activities and appearance
  • Substance abuse

Many people often feel embarrassed or uncomfortable talking about mental health, in particular when these problems are related to issues such as suicidal thoughts. It's important to remember that if you are dealing with any of the above signs (or having suicidal thoughts), you are not alone – many people are dealing with similar emotions. The bravest thing you can do is tackle these issues before they become a bigger problem. 

 

How to cope with suicidal thoughts

 

Be around other people

Thoughts of suicide can hit the hardest when you are alone. When you're alone, you can place a lot of emphasis on your internal feelings and become fixated on negative thoughts. To ensure your safety, you must remove yourself from these potentially dangerous situations. If you have any intense negative thoughts or have ever contemplated suicide, you should try to surround yourself with people you can talk to and feel comfortable around. These people can protect your mental health and help you foster a sense of belonging and purpose, which is essential for counteracting suicidal thoughts.

 

Make a safety plan 

Being prepared is crucial. According to the Samaritans, a safety plan is a tool for helping someone navigate suicidal feelings and urges. Like a mental health crisis plan, a suicide safety plan works to assist someone when their mental health is at a breaking point. 

A safety plan can include a range of things. They may include 1) a list of trusted contacts, so if your feelings become overwhelming, you can reach out to one of these contacts for support. 2) Professional resources, a contact number for a crisis helpline or your therapist (if you have one). These people can help guide you through your emotions and send for additional support if needed. 3) Ways to comfort yourself; this will include a list of activities that help you feel calm and relaxed. Overall, a safety plan includes a range of resources that can help you access the support you need whenever you need it. 

 

Try grounding techniques 

Like mindfulness, grounding techniques are exercises that you do to anchor yourself in the present moment. They can help you gain perspective and ease your mind. There are many grounding techniques and what works varies from person to person. Here are some examples of grounding techniques. 

Breathing exercises: these exercises can help you reduce stress levels and feel calm in anxiety-inducing situations. They are simple and can be completed anytime, anywhere. Taking the time to concentrate on your breathing can help you relax and realise that the destructive thoughts you are having – are not who you are. 

Go outside: Nature offers us a chance to escape our familiar environment. It provides us with peace, calm, health, and happiness. Research shows that spending time in nature can also reduce negative emotions. Additionally, getting out of the house encourages social interaction with others. These interactions can go a long way in helping improve your mental health.

These are just a few examples of how you can ground yourself in the present moment. There are many other techniques. It is important to find something that works for you, so that next time you become overwhelmed can take a step back, relax and clear your mind on any negative thoughts. 

 

Do something that helps you relax

If you're having suicidal thoughts, it can be helpful to distract yourself from these thoughts and concentrate on something you enjoy. Think about the activities you enjoy doing, then go out and do those things. Whether that be meeting up with your friends, going to the gym, reading a book or watching a film. Taking the time to do the things that help you relax could be the key to lowering your stress level and dismantling those disruptive thoughts.

 

Reach out and seek support

Dealing with suicidal thoughts can be extremely overwhelming. If you feel like the above methods are not working for you (and you feel ready to do so), you should consider talking to a mental health professional. Therapists can help you recognise where these negative thoughts come from and help you implement strategies to get past them. They can also help you understand the commonality of mental health problems. Remember, 1-in-5 people are affected by suicidal thoughts. You are not alone.

If you or someone you know is struggling, support is available in the UK via the Samaritans helpline on 116 123.

 

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