Coping with suicidal thoughts and feelings

Having suicidal thoughts and feelings can be really scary. You might feel alone and like you don't know how to keep going.But even if things don't change straight away, you can start to feel better. And all of us here at Childline are here to help you find ways to cope.

This page is also available in Welsh.

Getting support

It’s really important to speak to someone if you feel suicidal or you’re worried you'll harm yourself.

You can call 0800 1111 to talk to a Childline counsellor at any time. They're there to help you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If it’s an emergency or you need help straight away, call 999.

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.

4 things you can try

  1. Talk to someone you can trust, or share your feelings with other young people on our message boards.
  2. Take a very cold shower, which can distract you from racing thoughts.
  3. Focus on getting through the next five minutes. Do this as many times as you can - maybe by listening to a song, going for a walk or doing a puzzle.
  4. Go outside. Feeling a breeze, the sun or even the rain on your skin can help you feel more present. .

Making a safety plan

It's a great idea to create a safety plan that you can use whenever you're struggling to cope. It can include:

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

You can write your own safety plan or use our mental health first aid kit to help you.

Tips that can help

Illustration of a person holding a balloon with a smiling face

finding what 
makes me feel

Get ideas on our message boards

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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