Helping yourself now

What can I do to cope right now?

Please note: this page offers practical tips on what you can do right now to help yourself cope with suicidal feelings. If you don’t feel able to keep yourself safe right now, call 999 or go to A&E.

Alternatively, scroll to the top of this page and click the white ‘find help nowicon.

You might be feeling so upset, angry and in pain that you believe that these feelings will never end. But it’s important to remember that they cannot and will not last. Like all feelings, these will pass.

There are steps you can take right now to stop yourself from acting on your suicidal thoughts. Everyone is different, so it’s about finding what works best for you. Here are some practical tips that other people have found helpful when they’ve felt suicidal:

Get safe right now

  • Get through the next 5 minutes. Taking things minute by minute can help make things more bearable. Reward yourself for each 5 minutes that pass. Go to our ‘I need urgent help’ pages for practical ideas on things you could try.
  • Remove anything you could use to harm yourself or ask someone else to remove these for you. If you’re in an unsafe location, move away.
  • If you have a safety plan or crisis plan, follow it.
  • Tell someone how you’re feeling. Whether it’s a friend, family member or even a pet, telling someone else how you are feeling can help you to feel less alone and more in control.

Distract yourself

  • If you’re thinking of harming yourself, find self-harm coping techniques that work for you, such as:
    • holding an ice cube in your hand until it melts and focus on how cold it feels
    • tearing something up into hundreds of pieces
    • take a very cold shower or bath
  • Focus on your senses.Taking time to think about what you can smell, taste, touch, hear and see can help to ground your thoughts.
  • Steady your breathing.Take long deep breaths; breathing out for longer than you breathe in can help you to feel calmer.
  • Look after your needs. Avoid taking drugs or drinking alcohol as this can make you feel worse. If you can: get a glass of water, eat something if you’re hungry, sit somewhere comfortable and write down how you’re feeling.
  • Get outside.If you are feeling numb, feeling the rain, sun or wind against your skin can help you to feel more connected to your body.
  • Reach out.If you can’t talk to someone you know, contact a telephone support service or use online peer support such as

Challenge your thoughts

  • Make a deal with yourself that you won’t act today.Plan to get support if you’re not getting support already (see our pages on support for suicidal feelings).
  • Find your reasons to live. You may feel like the world will be better off without you or there’s no point in living, but this is never the case. You could:
    • write down what you’re looking forward to, whether it’s eating your favourite meal, seeing a loved one or catching up on the next episode of a TV show.
    • make plans to do something you enjoy tomorrow or in the near future. Plans don’t have to be big or expensive.
    • think about the people you love. No matter how bad you’re feeling, it’s important to remember that these people would miss you.
  • Be kind to yourself. Talk to yourself as if you were talking to a good friend. Do whatever you think might help you to get past these thoughts. It could be something small like having a bath, wrapping yourself in a blanket and watching your favourite film. These ideas may seem silly but it can be easy to forget to do something nice for yourself.
  • Tell yourself you can get through this. At times, we can concentrate on the negatives we tell ourselves and lose hope. Repeating to yourself that you can get past these feelings can help you regain hope and focus on getting through it.

What help is available?

Speaking to your GP

Going to your GP is a good starting point. It is common to feel worried about talking to your doctor about suicidal feelings, but they will be used to listening to people who are experiencing difficult feelings.

Your GP can:

  • refer you to talking treatments with a psychologist or counsellor
  • prescribe you medication
  • refer you to a psychiatrist

You might find it helpful to have a look at our pages on treatments for mental health problems for tips on how to prepare for your GP appointment.

Talking treatments

Talking treatments, including counselling and psychotherapy, can help you make sense of your feelings and explore ways to deal with what you are going through. The aim is to help you find your own solutions, rather than giving you advice or telling you what to do. Many people find that talking to a person who is trained to listen can help release tension, and also help them view their difficulties in a different way. This can make it easier to see new options and solutions.

Many voluntary organisations, including Samaritans, provide free emotional support 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Samaritans listen without judgment and with total confidence.

If you can afford it, you may choose to see a therapist privately. Private therapists should be appropriately trained and registered and/or accredited. Recommendations from a professional or a friend can also be helpful. Cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) looks at how you can change any negative patterns of thinking or behaviour that may be causing you difficulties, and can change the way you feel. CBT tends to be short, taking six weeks to six months. More long-term talking therapies include Psychodynamic Psychotherapy and Mindfulness- based psychotherapy.

Medication

Your doctor may offer you medication for depression, e.g. antidepressants, or medication that can help reduce anxiety, such as tranquilisers. Before you are prescribed any medication, your doctor should explain to you what the medication is for, and discuss any possible side effects and alternative treatments.

Hospital services

Your local hospital may be the best place to go in a crisis. Some may offer you medication and discuss with you what kind of help you want. If it is decided that your safety may be at risk, the doctors may suggest that you are admitted to hospital for inpatient treatment.

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