What To Do If You Are Suicidal
If you are actively suicidal and you have considered a plan, have the means to kill yourself, or have thought through when and ow you would do it, you should immediately go to A&E or phone the emergency services for help. They will keep you safe and ensure you get the proper professional support that you need. If you are passively suicidal, then you should phone your GP as soon as possible. Your GP will be able to evaluate you and identify the most appropriate treatment plan.
If you have regular suicidal ideations or if you are currently feeling suicidal you can (and should) make a crisis plan, or a suicide safety plan. This will help not only you, but others deal with different levels of distress. Any plan should consider a scale of distress and detail tangible steps to take at each stage. For example, at one end of the scale, if you are feeling restless and/or agitated you may want to call a friend, listen to music, go for a walk, or play with a pet. At the other end, if you are considering killing yourself, your plan may be to phone a suicide hotline or get to A &E as soon as possible. A list of phone numbers will help you – suicide hotlines; a taxi to take you to A&E; the emergency services; a friend who is aware of your issues and knows what to do in an emergency.
Speak with your GP, therapist, psychologist or psychiatrist about making a suicide safety plan.
The Staying Safe website provides information on how to make a safety plan, including videos tutorials and online templates to guide you through the process.
The mental health charity Mind also provides information on making safety plans.
While knowing who and when to contact others is important, there are other tangible steps you can (and should) take to combat anxiety, depression, and suicidal thoughts. Alcohol and drug use is very common with survivors. This is nothing to be ashamed about, as they have helped you deal with emotional pain and get to this point in your life without resorting to suicide.
However, alcohol and drugs are negative coping mechanisms and overtime, tend to have a detrimental effect on both our lives and health. When suicidal, alcohol and drugs can affect judgement, impulsivity, and inhibitions.
This can quickly turn passive suicidal thoughts into active suicidal behaviour. With the right support, you can replace these negative coping mechanisms with positive ones that promote good physical and mental health.
You should also try to avoid thoughts and activities that may make you feel worse, though this isn’t always easy. Stay away from anything that brings up bad memories or makes you feel more sad, angry, guilty, ashamed, or anything else that will worsen your suicidality.
Try to avoid being alone if possible. Also consider confiding in a family member or friend who you can call when needed.
With the right support, we can learn to control our thoughts. While this takes time, you can start with simple breathing exercises and work up to more advanced techniques, like mindfulness and cognitive behavioural therapy.
If you have a history of suicidal thoughts and especially if you have considered a plan or means of suicide, you should ensure your home is a place of safety. A Safety at Home plan will help you remove or manage items at home that could potentially be used as a means of suicide. Your medical professional can help develop such a plan.
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