Why do I feel suicidal?
Suicidal feelings can affect anyone, of any age, gender or background, at any time.
If you are feeling suicidal it is likely that you have felt increasingly hopeless and worthless for some time. You may not know what has caused you to feel this way but it is often a combination of factors.
This page covers:
- Common causes of suicidal feelings
- Can medication cause suicidal feelings?
- Why are some groups more at risk of suicide?
If you feel unable to keep yourself safe, it’s a mental health emergency. You can contact The Samaritans Hong Kong (multilingual hotline: 2896 0000), The Samaritan Befrienders Hong Kong (Chinese hotline: 2389 2222), or Suicide Prevention Service (hotline: 2382 0000).
“The thoughts would completely consume you sometimes, feeling like you have no control over your own body.”
Common causes of suicidal feelings
Struggling to cope with certain difficulties in your life can cause you to feel suicidal. These difficulties may include:
- mental health problems
- bullying or discrimination
- different types of abuse, including domestic, sexual or physical abuse
- bereavement, including losing a loved one to suicide
- the end of a relationship
- long-term physical pain or illness
- adjusting to a big change, such as retirement or redundancy
- money problems
- housing problems, including homelessness
- isolation or loneliness
- being in prison
- feeling inadequate or a failure
- addiction or substance abuse
- pregnancy, childbirth or postnatal depression
- doubts about your sexual or gender identity
- cultural pressure, such as forced marriage
- other forms of trauma.
If you are unsure of why you feel suicidal, you may find it even harder to believe that there could be a solution. But whatever the reason, there is support available to help you cope and overcome these feelings.
Can medication cause suicidal feelings?
Some medications, such as antidepressants, can cause some people to experience suicidal feelings. This side effect is often associated with a type of antidepressant called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). But all antidepressants have this as a possible risk.
Some research shows that young people under the age of 25 are more likely to experience suicidal feelings when taking these medications.
Some antipsychotic medications and mood stabilisers also cause some people to experience suicidal feelings.
If you experience suicidal feelings while taking psychiatric medication, you should talk to your doctor as soon as possible about this.
“Whenever I feel suicidal thoughts starting to engulf me I keep reminding myself that feelings can change in an instant. Perhaps I’ll wake up tomorrow and will no longer feel like I want to die – because that has happened many times before.”
Why are some groups more at risk of suicide?
Research shows that men and people from LGBTIQ+ communities are more at risk of taking their own life.
It’s not clear why more men than women take their own lives. But if you are identify as a man, you may:
- feel pressured to ‘get on with things’ and keep your thoughts and feelings to yourself
- choose suicide methods that have a lower chance of survival
- believe you can cope without help, or feel you have to cope without help
- worry that you will appear weak if you talk about your feelings or seek support.
People from LGBTIQ+ communities
Studies show that people from LGBTIQ+ communities are more likely to experience suicidal feelings and take their own lives.
The reasons for this are complex, but mental health problems experienced by LGBTIQ+ people have been linked to:
- homophobia, biphobia and transphobia
- stigma and discrimination
- difficult experiences of coming out.
You might also experience rejection, negative reactions or hostility from people in your life. For example, this could be from family members, friends, employers, members of a religious community, or strangers. This can have a big impact on your self-esteem. You may also feel unable to be open about your sexual or gender identity at work, at home or in other areas of your life.
Organisations which offer support for people from LGBTIQ+ communities include:
- Rainbow of Hong Kong, which provides support and information to LGBTIQ+ people
See our pages on LGBTIQ+ mental health for more information and ways to find support.