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.

Talk to someone

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.

Top 4 things you can do:

  1. something you enjoy (not something that could make things worse like drugs and alcohol)
  2. exercise or physical activity
  3. something social like talking to someone
  4. something that gives you a sense of achievement, like drawing or doing a puzzle.

Will I ever feel better?

Suicidal thoughts usually take some time to grow. And so they may also take some time to go away. But they can fade. Even if you can’t imagine things getting better, the way you're thinking and feeling will change.

Try some of the things on this page. Over time, they can start to help.

Somewhere new

Feeling depressed, sad or unhappy?

See, hear, smell, taste or touch

Your 5 senses are powerful tools. They can really lift your mood. Use your senses to help you if you’re going through emotional pain or feeling suicidal. Here are some ideas.

Create a space in your room or diary and fill it with pictures or things that you like - the things you feel good about. You could look at old pictures that bring up good memories. Or watch one of your favourite films. You can also use our Art box to create, save and print your own images.

Put on the music you love. It could be something soft and soothing. Or it could be loud and exciting. Whatever you’re into.

Everyone has a few favourite smells. So think about what smells you enjoy and try to enjoy them. It could be a certain perfume or shampoo. Or it might be the smell of freshly cut grass or a cake being baked.

Have your favourite meal. Or you could eat something you used to love, but haven’t had in a while. Try different flavours and textures.

Have a bath. Stroke your cat or dog. Give yourself a hand massage or take your time washing your hands with lots of soap. Feel a connection with the world around you. Exercise or lift weights. Go for a walk or run. Feel your heart pumping and your body getting fitter.

Other things to try

Fill in the Fabulous Four activity diary

Feeling low or depressed can make you less active. It can stop you from getting out and doing the things that make you feel good. This can be a negative cycle. The worse you feel, the less you want to do things you enjoy – which makes you feel even worse.

The Fabulous Four activity diary can help. It’s a great way of making sure you do little things that help you feel better.

Each day, try and do 1 of these things:

  1. something you enjoy
  2. something that gives you a sense of achievement
  3. physical activity 
  4. social activity.

These 4 things are the Fabulous Four – they’re little things that can make a big difference.

Print off the Fabulous Four activity diary. Use it to write down something you can do under each category, then cross them off as you do them. You may want to track your mood in your locker after each day to see what things are helpful and what things you can swap around.

For inspiration on activities to try, visit our hobbies and activities message board and get support from other young people.

finding what makes
feel better

Visit our message boards to find what works for you

Talking helps

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. It’s often good to release any bad feelings you might be carrying around.

But it’s not always easy to do. Opening up to someone and describing how you feel can feel really scary.

How 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 express yourself and say how you’re feeling
  • try to talk when the other 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?

Well, 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.

Think about seeing a doctor

If you feel suicidal, going to see a doctor can really help. Doctors shouldn’t judge you and they should keep what you've told them private, unless they think you're in serious danger. You might find that just having a safe space to be honest about how you're feeling helps lift the strain off you a little bit.

A doctor could help you think about what may be causing your suicidal thoughts. They might also be able to prescribe you treatment to help you get better or set you up with another type of professional help – like counselling or cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). 

If you feel things are getting worse or you're worried about any medication you're on, it's okay to see the doctor again.