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How to cope with suicidal thoughts

There are ways to manage and overcome suicidal thoughts


Written by SpunOut | View this authors Twitter page and posted in health


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Having a tough time and need to talk? Text SPUNOUT to 086 1800 280 to chat anonymously with a trained volunteer. Standard text rates may apply.

Suicidal thoughts can happen when someone has feelings of hopelessness or despair. Sometimes they can last a while, but other times they could be momentary and pass quickly. If things feel overwhelming and you don’t know how to cope, you may be experiencing suicidal thoughts. Knowing how to identify these thoughts and finding ways to cope can help you to overcome suicidal thoughts and get the support you need.

Remember, there are people out there who want to support you through this. If you are having suicidal thoughts, you can call the 24/7 Pieta House helpline at 1800 247 247 to speak to someone now.

If you are suicidal with a specific plan to end your life, you need to call 999 or if you can, go to your nearest A&E or out of hours GP service.

How to handle suicidal thoughts

When suicidal thoughts come up, there are things you can do to handle and overcome them. You may need to try a few different things in order to find what works for you, but know that it is possible to overcome and recover from thoughts of suicide.

Talk to someone

One of the best things you can do in this situation is to talk to someone and let them know how you’re feeling. If you can, arrange for someone to sit with you or do something with you for a while. If you’re alone, call someone on the phone and ask them to stay on the line with you.

If no one is available or you’re not sure who to contact, call a helpline. Pieta House run a free, 24 hour helpline for people who are feeling suicidal and engaging in self harm. Call 1800 247 247 or text 'Help' to 51444 to get started (standard text messaging rates apply).

Make sure you’re not in a dangerous situation

If you’re feeling suicidal and you are in a situation where you might act on it, try to remove yourself. Leave the area, move away from any tools you could use to hurt yourself, or go to another room. If you are in a safe space, stay there and avoid putting yourself in a situation where you could hurt yourself.

Writing a plan

Finding ways to cope

The best way to deal with overwhelming thoughts can be different for everyone. Each person can have their own way of coping, and you just need to find the best approach for you. This could include breathing exercises, writing things down, going for a walk, listening to music, or spending time with other people. Find out what helps you to feel better and remember that each time you feel you are struggling to cope.

These lists of self harm distraction techniques and ways to deal with urges to self harm may give you some ideas when looking for new ways to cope.

Remember your reasons for living

Take time to remember your reasons for living. This can be a family member, a friend, a pet that you love, something you want to achieve in life, or something that inspires you. Remember that in order to experience these things, you need to be here. Some people find just taking the time to remember these things can be reassuring.

Avoid alcohol and drugs

Alcohol is a depressant and can cause a low mood, which can actually make us feel a lot worse, and taking drugs can have an unpredictable effect on our actions. This can enable people to experience suicidal thoughts, so it’s best to completely avoid alcohol and drugs if you can.

Develop a safety plan

A safety plan is a plan that lays out the steps you will take every time you experience suicidal thoughts or have an urge to hurt yourself. It can include calling a friend or a helpline, going somewhere safe, or visiting A&E. Your safety plan will always be there with the steps to follow each time you are feeling suicidal.

Learn about creating a safety plan here.

Get professional help

You don’t need to go through this alone. There is help out there, and there are a number of services around Ireland that are there to support you through this. A great place to start is to speak to your GP about how you’ve been feeling. You can also find out about suicide support services in your area.

In addition a 24 hour helpline, Pieta House offer in-person suicide and self harm support services in centres around Ireland. Call 1800 247 247 to talk to someone about what’s going on and get support.

If you need to talk to someone now you can call Pieta House at 1800 247 247 or Samaritans at 116 123.

Having a tough time and need to talk? Text SPUNOUT to 086 1800 280 to chat anonymously with a trained volunteer. Standard text rates may apply.

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Published August 30th2019
Last updated Novem­ber 22nd2019
Tags suicide suicide awareness suicide prevention
Can this be improved? Contact editor@spunout.ie if you have any suggestions for this article.

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