Coping with suicidal thoughts and feelings

Many people have suicidal feelings at some point. You could feel alone and it might be hard to know what to do. But we can help you find ways to cope. Things might not change straight away. But you can start to feel better.

This page is also available in Welsh.

Getting support

At night it can sometimes be harder to cope with suicidal feelings, especially when there  isn't anyone else around and there's more time to think.

You don't have to go through these feelings alone. Our Childline counsellors are here for you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Call 0800 1111 or start a 1-2-1 chat. If it's an emergency or you need help straight away, call 999.

Sometimes it can take longer to get through to a counsellor at night, take a look at some of the tips on this page while you're waiting to help you cope.

Keep yourself safe

Taking drugs or drinking alcohol makes it hard to think clearly and make good decisions. Alcohol is also a depressant which make suicidal feelings even worse.

If you have any drugs, flush them away. If you have anything that could harm you, get rid of it. It also helps to be with someone instead of being on your own.

6 ways to cope right now

  • get rid of anything you could use to hurt yourself
  • use our Art box to express your feelings through words or drawing
  • write a letter and give it to an adult you trust tomorrow
  • breathe in time with the calm cloud
  • listen to music that makes you feel happy or relaxed
  • look at a photo of someone who really cares about you.

Making a safety plan

A safety plan tells you what you should do when you’re struggling to cope. It can include:

  • ways you can keep yourself safe
  • a safe place you can go
  • things you can distract yourself with
  • ideas to help you calm down or relax
  • who you can talk to, like a Childline counsellor or adult you trust.

You can write a safety plan yourself, or use our mental health first aid kit to help you create one.

Tips that can help

Illustration of a person holding a balloon with a smiling face

Use your senses to cope

Your 5 senses are powerful tools. They can really lift your mood if you’re going through a difficult time or feeling suicidal. Here are some ideas.

Talking to someone

Talking to someone about how you feel is a really important part of getting help. It means you don’t have to deal with everything on your own. 

But it’s not always easy to do. Describing how you feel can feel really scary.

Try our tips to make it easier to talk:

  • plan and prepare what you want to say
  • write down what you want to say and practise saying it
  • think about the main things you want to get out of talking to someone
  • ask yourself if you want advice, or if you just want to say how you’re feeling
  • try talking when the person isn’t busy or about to rush off.

Keeping the conversation going

It’s good to talk about a problem. But what if you told someone and it didn’t help?

Talking about an issue is often a process. It’s not just something you do once.

Telling someone how you feel might make you feel bad at first. But after a few times of talking about it, you could start to feel differently.

And it doesn’t have to be new information either. Sometimes talking about the same things again and again can help you understand what you’re going through.

So remember, if you told someone how you feel but it didn’t help – keep trying. And think of other people you trust who might be able to help.

You can talk to us about anything

Whatever you say will be just between you and Childline. And you can feel safe talking to us, knowing that no one else will find out.

Read more about our confidentiality promise.

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