Supporting Someone Experiencing Suicidal Thoughts and Feelings – Bath Mind

World Mental Health Day 2019

*Warning – this resource discusses themes that some people may find distressing and triggering. If you’re in need of resources to help with suicidal thoughts, scroll to the bottom of this post for helplines and mental health crisis contact details. You are not alone.*

What are suicidal feelings?

Suicidal feelings vary from person to person in terms of their intensity and how long they last. These feelings can build up gradually or instantly become intense. They can be a fleeting thought or stay for prolonged periods of time – either way, they can be extremely difficult to cope with and even harder to rationalise during states of poor mental health. 

Experiencing suicidal feelings can be caused by a number of reasons; a relationship break-up, family issues, symptoms of a mental health problem, intrusive thoughts and many more can play a part in creating these feelings. These thoughts can be intensified through heightened feelings of carelessness caused by substances such as drink or drugs.

The stigma that surrounds suicide and suicidal feelings

Although we’ve come a long way with regards to destigmatising mental health, there remains to be a large stigma when it comes to discussing suicidal feelings. It often proves challenging to discuss, but as a society certain perceptions are still held that prevent us from talking about it. 

Suicide and/or thoughts of such are still perceived as a sign of weakness or an act of selfishness, unsurprisingly causing many to hide how they’re feeling for fear of being seen in a certain light and putting lives at risk. 

Who can experience suicidal thoughts?

Anybody of any age, gender, background at any time in their life can experience suicidal thoughts. It can often feel like the only way out when experiencing extreme feelings of hopelessness and worthlessness. Sometimes we can consider the option but not put in any plans or attempt to go through with it. The misconception here is that because we aren’t at the point of taking our own lives, we can’t reach out for help and be honest – this of course isn’t true. If the thought of suicide has crossed your mind or somebody you know, please reach out for help.

Suicidal thoughts can be caused by struggling to cause with difficulties including; bullying or discrimination, domestic abuse, bereavement, long-term physical or illness, adjusting to a big change, money troubles or homelessness, loneliness, addiction, pregnancy, childbirth, or postnatal depression, sexual or physical abuse.

How to identify if someone is experiencing suicidal thoughts?

Although there may be signs, it’s not always easy to identify suicidal thoughts that somebody close to you might be experiencing. Common tendencies can be but aren’t limited to:

  • Low moods, mood swings, unexpected rage 
  • Feeling hopeless about the future and thinking that circumstances will never change or improve. 
  • Sleep problems.
  • They suddenly become calm after a period of depression. This can be a sign that they’ve made the decision to end their life.
  • Choosing to be alone, isolating themselves, losing motivation and passion for hobbies and interests.
  • A change in personality or appearance. A person who’s considering suicide may speak or move with unusual speed or slowness. They may also become less concerned with their physical appearance.
  • A recent life trauma, crisis, or change.

What to do if you think somebody is suicidal?

Those that have a supportive network around them and access to mental health services are less likely to act on suicidal impulses than those that are socially isolated from the community. Bath Mind offer several services, including meet-up groups brought together within the community. Please read my blog posts on Open Opportunities and Friends In Need to find out more, or take a look at Bath Mind here. 

Although the topic can be tricky to address, don’t be afraid to approach the subject with someone you’re concerned about. Rather than get angry, or try and talk them out of how they’re feeling, give reassurance. Reassure them that whatever they’re going through or feeling right now won’t last forever. It’s temporary and they can get through it with yours and/or the help of a professional. 

If you believe somebody is in immediate danger of taking their own life, please do the following:

  • Stay with the person. Do not leave them alone, and ask for help from close friends or relatives of theirs.
  • Keep reassuring them, stay as calm as possible in order to help keep them calm. 
  • If the person you’re concerned about has the means to hurt themselves such as medication that they plan to overdose on, or anything else that is of risk to them, ask them to put this away. This can reassure them that you are present and here to help, and removes immediate danger. This works particularly well if you’re not yet with the person you’re concerned about – for example, if you’re on the phone to them whilst you travel to reach them.
  • If in doubt, call 999 or take them to a&e.

If you or somebody else is in need of urgent help, please contact:

Bath Samaritans –

116123 (free call, no area code needed) 

01225 460888 (local call charge)

If you text 07725 909090 when you are feeling really depressed, a crisis counsellor will text with you. 

Bath & North East Somerset – 

Intensive Team 01225 362814

SHOUT Crisis Text Line:

Text 85258 to be linked up with a trained volunteer Crisis Counsellor

To find out more about Bath Mind, please click here.

If you have any feedback or questions, please feel free to get in touch with me.

Ciao for now x

Posted by

Wellbeing writer, host for The Inspired Narrative podcast and mental health support worker.

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