What are suicidal thoughts?
Suicidal thoughts are a symptom leading to ideas or ruminations about the possibility of ending one’s own life.
If you feel that you want to die or that you are unable to keep yourself safe, it is important to tell someone. There are people that understand how you are feeling and are trained to help:
If you feel scared, confused or overwhelmed by feelings that you want to end your own life, you are not alone. Triggers which might cause feelings of wanting to take your own life might include:
- Unresolved traumas (Bullying, abuse) leading to mental health disorders such as depression, Low Self-Esteem, PTSD etc.
- Challenging life circumstances (family difficulties, break-ups, grief, career problems, loneliness, financial issues)
It is important to remember that although these thoughts can be extremely frightening, things can improve. Many people who have felt suicidal have gone on to live happy and fulfilled lives. Reaching out to get support is not always easy but there are ways such as writing a letter or sending a text message to someone you trust is easier than voicing your feelings.
We can all do our bit.
By being aware and checking in with family and friends, we might be able to avoid devastating outcomes. Here are some signs that might indicate someone may be experiencing suicidal thoughts.
- Withdrawal and isolation from things they previously participated in.
- Not showing an interest in things they have been passionate about.
- Giving away possessions.
- Using terminology relating to self harm or using terms such as “no way out” being trapped and talking about instances where something may happen to them or if they were no longer here.
- Abrupt changes in mood.
- Self-medication with drugs or alcohol.
- Family history of suicide.
- Calling people they may not have spoken to in many years.
- Cleaning their home impulsively or throwing things away.
- Appearing unexpectedly at ease and calm after a recent difficult period.
If you think someone you know is struggling, here are some helpful examples of things you might like to say to start a conversation:
- “I want you to know that whatever you are going through, I’m here with you every step of the way”.
- “I understand that you said you feel trapped, I just want you to know that there is always a solution no matter what it is you are facing”.
- “You are so loved and I’m so grateful to have you in my life”.
- “Your deserve to have an amazing life and even though this period is difficult right now, there is a better chapter ahead for you”.
- “Can I help you get the support you need?”
Avoid using terms like:
- “I understand exactly what you are going through”
- ”We would all be devastated if..”
- ”A lot of people are worse off than you”
- ”You have nothing to worry about”
Even though these things might be said with good intention, avoid terms that may invalidate feelings or awaken feelings of guilt or disappointment and don’t argue, threaten or raise your voice.
If you suspect someone in your life is having suicidal thoughts, it’s important to reach out and get the appropriate help and support. You may feel guilty for breaking their confidence but it may save their life and it’s important to protect your own mental health too.
Death by suicide affects many people of all ages and all walks of life. It is important to remember that suicidal thoughts are a symptom and just like any other symptom, they can be overcome and improved with time and with the right support. There is always hope. Reach out and get support now.
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