Feeling suicidal can be terrifying but there are many ways to cope with suicidal thoughts to keep yourself safe.

If you’re thinking about suicide, you’re not alone. Many people have thoughts of suicide, for a number of reasons. Thoughts of suicide can be very scary. You probably feel hurt, confused, overwhelmed and hopeless about your future. You may feel sadness, grief, anger, guilt, shame, or emptiness. And you may think that nothing can be done to change your situation. Your feelings may seem like they are just too much to handle right now. It’s important to know that thinking about suicide does not mean that you will lose control or act on these thoughts. Having thoughts of suicide does not mean you are weak, or ‘crazy’.

Many people think about suicide because they are looking for a way to escape the pain they are feeling. Even though your situation seems hopeless and you wonder if you can stand another minute of feeling this bad, there are ways to get through this and feel better. You don’t have to face this situation alone. Help is available.

How to Cope with Suicidal Thoughts

If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts now and are possibly feeling unsafe, here are some things you can do right now.

  1. Connect with others. If you’re feeling unsafe and have strong urges to hurt yourself, tell someone. If you can’t reach anyone or don’t have anyone to talk to in your personal life, call 1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433). Don’t be alone. Ask someone you trust to come over. If you can’t have someone come to you, consider being in public, where there are other people.
  2. Make your environment safe. Get rid of things that could be used to hurt or kill yourself, such as pills, razor blades, or guns.
  3. Find a comforting distraction – a favourite show, music or a long bath for example. Do not use alcohol or drugs.
  4. If you still feel unsafe, consider going to your local emergency room or call 911.

Once you feel like you are out of immediate danger of harming yourself you can take the time to consider long term solutions to coping with suicidal thoughts.

Making a Safety Plan

Making a safety plan can be very helpful in getting you through those distressing times where you feel unsafe. Having a plan ahead of time ensures you know who you can call and have those people prepared to support you, as well as what activities and places can help you to get through the worst moments. We talk about making a safety plan in detail in our other blog.

One of the best people to make a safety plan with is a professional, as they are familiar with the process and can help you to brainstorm ideas for the plan when you’re feeling hopeless. If you’re not already connected with a registered psychologist or counsellor, we suggest you do so. With the help of professionals and the support of family and friends, you can learn about what is causing your suffering and how you can change or manage it.

Check out Dr. Joti Samra’s Coping with Suicidal Thoughts for more resources, information, support, and practical steps to help cope with suicidality. If you or someone you love is at immediate risk reach out to 1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433) for 24-hour support.