you have been thinking about taking your own life or
have already tried to do it, please read on ...
Help for specific problems may be found by looking at
information on sites listed on our useful
Why do you feel like this?
Lots of young people feel suicidal at some point in
their lives. Thousands go into hospital each year having
tried to harm themselves. Many more than this try to
take their own lives - and nobody ever gets to
know about it.
Most of them recover and never try again. A small number,
however, do succeed in killing themselves.
This is why feeling suicidal
can be dangerous and needs to be talked about.
Suicidal thoughts can come into your head…
…for no reason at all.
This is very frightening and sometimes happens because
some of the chemicals in your brain are not working
properly. You may have an illness called depression
which you will need to talk to your doctor about.
…because something has happened
to you which has upset you a great deal.
Like for example:
• splitting up with a boyfriend or girlfriend
• being bullied
• feeling ashamed of something you've done
• feeling ashamed of something that was not your
• someone close to you has died
• not getting the exam results you wanted
• feeling confused about your sexuality
• feeling you can't live up to other people's
• problems at home
…because you have been using
drugs or drinking heavily.
…when someone close to you has attempted or actually
…or because of a combination of any of these things
What kind of person feels like
It can happen to anybody.
It's very hard to generalise about this, but many young
people who think about taking their own lives
• are very sensitive to failure or criticism
• set themselves targets which are difficult to
• cannot cope well with disappointment
• find it difficult to admit to having problems
and don't know how to solve them
• find it hard to tell others how they are feeling
They often feel worthless, feel hopeless about the future,
or believe that no one cares about them, even that the
world would be a better place without them.
Friends and family may be seeing someone who on the
• is very angry and hostile
• has become very quiet and withdrawn
• is the life and soul of the party
• seems no different from usual,
...but they have no idea how you are feeling inside.
Many young people don't actually want to die,
looking for an answer to their problems, an end to their
pain and despair - and suicide can seem to be the
only way out.
When this state of mind has been reached, it is impossible
to think straight (although you will believe that you're
thinking clearly) and things can get totally out of
How do you know if you've got
Just like physical illness, mental health problems can
vary from mild to serious. Most people who suffer a
bout of psychological illness will go on to make a complete
Anxiety and depression are very common and both can
be successfully treated. Depression, however, can kill -
if suicidal thoughts get the better of you.
You may be feeling:
• tired all the time
• sad and miserable
• can't be bothered to do things
• scared people will laugh at you
• that you're going mad
• like shit !
• lost interest in food
• found it difficult to concentrate
• lost your confidence
• lost interest in other things too - hobbies,
sport, your appearance
• stopped going out with friends
You must go to see your doctor who will be able to tell
you if you are depressed, and will know what to do to
help you to get back to normal.
What happens if you go ahead?
Sometimes the person who attempts suicide does not die
but damages their body so badly that full recovery is
If you take your own life, there is no turning back,
no second chance. Death is final.
It can be extremely traumatic for the person who finds
your body. Something they will never forget.
The effect of suicide on family and friends can be overwhelming.
Of all the different ways of dying, suicide is the most
difficult for those who are left behind to cope with -
whether they are parents, children, partners, friends
or even acquaintances.
You won't be around to help other people who may be
feeling just as bad as you have done.
You have prevented other people from helping you - for
So what can you do about it?
Tell someone you trust how you are feeling. This
could be someone in your family, your doctor, a teacher,
the school nurse, college counsellor, or someone from your church ….. If the
person you are telling doesn't seem to understand, don't
be put off - tell someone else. You could phone a help
line. Check our links pages for their phone number.
If you reach a suicidal crisis where the desire
to kill yourself is overwhelming, you must tell someone.
Ask them to keep you company until the feelings pass.
Thinking bad thoughts about yourself all the time (especially
about killing yourself) makes you feel worse. You
might be thinking that you're a failure or nobody likes
you or that nothing will get better. There might be
some thoughts that are very private to you.
Try to recognise when your bad thoughts are likely to
and prepare for them. Try to find something
that will get rid of them or will make you think about
them less often. You could try being active, being with
people or doing something you enjoy (even though you
might not feel like it)
Talk to someone you trust
about your bad thoughts. Saying
them out loud for the first time is scary but then starts
to make them feel less frightening.
Tell yourself about the good things you've done today
instead of the bad things. Some people find that it
helps to imagine having a great time with their favourite
band or football team or movie star. Or it could be
eating your favourite meal or lying on a beach in the
Just thinking about your bad thoughts a bit less often
can be a great achievement. It can help you realise
that you are starting to win the battle.
If you find it difficult to talk, write it down and
send a letter, an e-mail or a text.
Use the internet wisely by only accessing sites which
give positive help and hope for the future.
Don't be afraid of going to see a specialist like a
counsellor or psychiatrist. There are some very good
'talking treatments' which work really well, especially
if you go in the early days of feeling unwell. If you
are not able to relate to the person you are seeing
- ask to see someone else.
Listen to the advice you are being given and act on
Try to get help with the problems which may be causing
If you have been given medication (tablets) to help
with your suicidal feelings, make sure you understand
how long it takes before they start having an effect.
If they don't seem to be working, tell your doctor so
that he / she can try something else. Don't stop taking
them because you feel better or because you are having
side effects. Get advice from your doctor first. You
can also talk to your pharmacist about your medication.
Avoid alcohol and drugs.
Although at first they give
you a lift, they are known to make depressed people
feel even worse in the long run. Under their influence
you may do things or make decisions you would not normally
make. Using alcohol and other drugs can actually make
some people suicidal. Even cannabis can have this effect
Stop any risk taking behaviour
- where you want the
decision as to whether you live or die to be left to
chance. Like driving the car in a way that could kill
you (or someone else) Don't be pressured into doing
risky things by other people.
Be very careful of making an impulsive decision to kill
Don’t listen to sad music when you’re really
Start looking after yourself with regular meals and
plenty of exercise. Get out into the daylight and try
to stay out of bed until night time. Find something
to do which gives some structure to your day.
Make a list, with phone numbers,
of people and / or organisations you can turn to for
help in a crisis.
Don’t expect to feel OK all at once.
that life is slowly getting better means that there
is light at the end of the tunnel.