- Feeling suicidal
- How to help someone who is feeling suicidal
- Dealing with the loss of a loved one/friend to suicide.
I am extremely passionate about the topic of suicide, primarily because it can be totally avoided.
If you are currently feeling suicidal or contemplating suicide, you don’t need me to explain the signs and symptoms you are feeling but what I will urge you to do is to please seek help, right now you are probably feeling isolated and alone and are feeling that your problems are insurmountable, that there is no way out, no escape.
Please know that is this not the case, there are always people who care, I care and there are many other people who also care. Reach out to these people and keep reaching out. Help is here for you.
Who you can reach out to
Friends and family
Your therapist if you have one or a new therapist
Mental Health crisis team
Samaritans – telephone 116 123
If you are having suicidal thoughts but are not actively suicidal, please reach out and let’s give you the help you need, you are not alone, no person is truly alone.
Why might someone think about suicide?
Sometimes our minds struggle to cope, we may be suffering from mental health issues, basically anything where your mind is not at ease so for example; depression, low mood, sadness, anxiety, feeling overwhelmed, panic attacks, stress, anger, feeling nervous, feeling like something will go wrong, overload, fear, crying a lot, unable to cope, abuse from childhood, domestic abuse, bullying, workplace stress, relationship issues and many, many more.
Mental health issues cannot be seen, it makes us feel weak and vulnerable if we are suffering mentally, people around us can seem to have a limited amount of sympathy and depending on your audience may even say “Get a grip, you ought to have my issues then you would know what mentally ill feels like” – it doesn’t help to encourage you to talk.
Feeling suicidal can also be in response to a sudden trauma, getting divorced, death, illness, redundancy, financial issues, relationship issues, work issues, it could be due to past issues that are unresolved, it could be due to a perfect storm of one thing after another, it could be down to how you normally resolve issues, if you bury issues and keep yourself busy then one day it may all catch up with you. It could be down to whether you have someone to share your problems with and who can help you in a healthy way.
It’s a big problem.
In the UK – over 8 million people are experiencing an anxiety disorder at any time.
1 in 6 are experiencing depression right now with women twice as likely to experience depression then men (ONS and Streb et al).
1 in 14 UK adults feel stressed every day (CIPHR) with 74% feeling so stressed that they are unable to cope.
Worldwide over 700,000 people take their own life each year – that’s one person every 40 seconds (World Health Organization)
115 people die by suicide in the UK every week – with 75% of those deaths being male (ONS)
1 in 5 people have suicidal thoughts (NHS Digital)
Males aged 45-49 have the highest suicide rate (Samaritans)
Helping someone with suicidal feelings.
Firstly, you need to encourage them to access professional help but on a general basis, we all have a role to play in supporting those around us so suicide doesn’t seem an option, remember to keep an eye out for the strong one’s, the ones you would never think would struggle. A lot of people hide their true feelings, convincing everyone they are ok, and smiling through their pain, bluffing, acting with bravado.
Make the question, “how are you doing?” a good one, don’t ask it and then switch to the next question, does their body language match to their voice and tone? If they indicate that things aren’t great, say “sorry to hear you’re feeling that way, want to grab a coffee and chat, how can I help you? “
If something doesn’t feel quite right, it often isn’t.
It may be that the person is more distracted in conversation, preoccupied with their thoughts or acting a bit out of character.
Maybe they’re turning down social invitations or turning up a bit late to work. Perhaps they seem a bit flatter in mood than usual. No matter how small or subtle the difference, it’s definitely worth checking in and seeing how they’re doing.
So start the connection, if someone doesn’t want to talk, try again the next day, keep connecting, make sure you listen, be open, have relaxed body language, don’t make it about you, don’t judge, we all have our own individual pain limits, for some people it’s big and for others it is small, pain is pain at the end of the day, so don’t judge – listen.
People may need to talk more than once, don’t lose patience, people have to hit their rock bottom before they seek help.
Asking someone if they are feeling suicidal does not put ideas in their head.
I’ve lost someone to Suicide.
Oh boy this is the toughie, I have dealt with so many families who are devastated by the loss of their loved one to suicide.
They didn’t ask for this pain, they didn’t ask for the mess that they now find themselves in, but they have it and for them there is no escape.
Families with young children, parents who only wanted to outlive their children, friends losing their friends at any age, it is a heart-breaking scene of devastation.
And the truly difficult difference between regular grief and suicidal grief is the knowledge that the person in question chose to end their lives, that makes it so much harder to bear.
There is light at the end of the tunnel, I promise you. Please seek the correct help, you will definitely benefit from having someone unravel the tumultuous thoughts that are running around your mind and help you on the road to recovery.