How to deal with suicidal thoughts when they come

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These thoughts don’t have to lead to action. Your life matters, and there is hope for a brighter future.

How to deal with suicidal thoughts when they come [Freepik]

Suicidal thoughts can be terrifying, but they are a signal that you need support, not a verdict on your life.

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With the right help and strategies, you can overcome these thoughts and find hope again. Remember, it’s okay to ask for help, and it’s possible to feel better. There are steps you can take to cope and find a path forward through the darkness.

Here’s how to deal with suicidal thoughts when they come:

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First and foremost, acknowledge what you’re feeling without judgment. Suicidal thoughts can arise from feelings of hopelessness, unbearable pain, or a belief that there’s no other way out. Recognising these thoughts for what they are—a sign that you need support—is a first step.

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If you’re in immediate danger of harming yourself, seek help right away. This can mean calling a suicide prevention hotline, contacting a trusted friend or family member, or going to the nearest emergency room.

You don’t have to go through this alone. Reach out to someone you trust—a friend, a family member, a teacher, or a coworker. If you’re not ready to talk to someone you know, consider speaking with a therapist or counsellor who can offer professional support and guidance.

A safety plan is a personalised plan to support you when you’re feeling suicidal. It can include recognising personal triggers, listing coping strategies, and identifying people and resources that can help. Work on this plan when you’re feeling calm so you can refer to it when needed.

Taking care of your physical and emotional needs can help reduce the intensity of suicidal thoughts. This means getting enough sleep, eating nutritious foods, staying active, and engaging in activities that bring you joy or relaxation. Even small acts of self-care can make a difference.

Substances can intensify feelings of depression and hopelessness and make it harder to manage suicidal thoughts. If you’re struggling, try to avoid alcohol and drugs, as they can lead to impulsive behaviours and make things feel even more overwhelming.

In the long term, the most effective way to deal with suicidal thoughts is to seek professional help. A mental health professional can work with you to understand the root causes of your feelings and develop coping strategies. This might include therapy, medication, or a combination of both.

If you’re worried you might act on your thoughts, take steps to make your environment safer. This could mean removing or securing items you could use to harm yourself and asking someone you trust to keep them for you temporarily.

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