Dealing with Suicidal Thoughts

Many of us have had suicidal thoughts at some point in our lives, so you’re not alone. Feeling suicidal doesn’t mean that you are crazy, or weak, or flawed. It only means that you have more pain than you can cope with right now. This pain seems overwhelming and permanent at the moment. But with time and support, you can overcome your problems and the pain and suicidal feelings will pass.

  1. How can I support myself now?

Don’t come to a conclusion today

You don’t need to act on your thoughts right now. The option of taking your own life isn’t going to go away. Take your own time. You can make this decision tomorrow, next week or next month if you still want to.

Try to focus on just getting through today and not worry about the rest of your life.

You may have had these thoughts before but you feel less able to cope today. You might find that you are more able to cope in a few days. Build yourself slowly and steadily.

Look at your crisis plan

Follow your crisis plan if you have one or make one with the help of a health professional or do it on your own.

You can start to think of some things which you will find helpful. Keep this plan safe and change it as you need to and customize them to suit you accordingly.

Be aware of your triggers

Triggers are things which might make you feel worse. Triggers are different for different people. Realize them. You may find that certain music, photos or films make you feel worse. Try to stay away from these.

Stay away from drugs and alcohol

Drinking alcohol might make you more likely to act on suicidal thoughts as it affects the parts of your brain that controls judgement, concentration, behaviour and emotions. .

Drugs affect the way you think and feel. Different drugs have different effects. For example cocaine can make you feel happy and more likely to take risks when you take it. But they are temporary and you may feel depressed after the effects stop. Other drugs can cause hallucinations, confusion and paranoia. You may be more likely to suicide if you take illegal drugs.

Go to your safe place

Go to a place where you feel safe. Below is a list of place you could try.

  • Your bedroom
  • Mental health or spiritual centre
  • Crisis centre
  • Friend’s house
  • Library

Stay away from things you could use to harm yourself or things you think can disturb you. If you have a lot of medication you can ask someone to keep it for you until you are back in control of your feelings.

Reach out to other people

It could be helpful for you to talk to someone about how you’re feeling. There are different people who can help like your friends and family or your GP.

Remember to be patient. Your friends and family may want to help but might not know how to straight away. If this happens, you should clearly tell them what you want from them. You may want to talk about how you’re feeling or you may want them to help you get professional help.

If you don’t want to talk to people you know, you could take help from an emotional support line or join a support group.

Be around other people

You may find it too difficult to speak to anyone at the moment and that’s ok. But try not to spend too much time alone. You could go to a shopping center, gym, coffee shop or park. Being around people can help to keep you safe, even if they don’t know how you’re feeling.

Divert yourself

You might feel it is impossible not to focus on your suicidal thoughts or why you feel that way and may try to solve it. But when you focus on your thoughts it might make them feel stronger and harder to cope with. Try doing things that distract you. Think about what you enjoy doing.

Below are some things you could do as a distraction.

  • Read a book or magazine
  • Watch a film or TV
  • Go to a museum
  • Walk in a green space like a park
  • Draw or paint
  • Listen to music
  • Sing
  • Listen to nature
  • Pay attention to nice smells such as coffee shops, your favorite food, a favorite perfume or soap
  • Treat yourself to a food you like and pay close attention to how it tastes, how it feels in your mouth and what you like about it
  • Wear something that you feel good in
  • Spend time with your pet
  • Set small goals to focus on. You could do the laundry, make a cake or tidy or organize something

Make a list

Make a list of all the positive things about yourself and your life. It might be difficult to think of such things right now, but try. Think about your strengths and positive things that other people have ever said about you. At the end of every day write down one thing you felt good about, something you did, or something someone did for you.


Exercise can have a great effect on your mood and thinking. Exercise is known to release dopamine and serotonin which are the ‘feel good’ hormones.


There are different things you could do to relax such as:

  • meditation or mindfulness
  • Breathing techniques or guided meditation. You can find these through a podcast or an online video website such as YouTube
  • having a bath or shower, or
  • looking at images that you like such as photographs
  1. How can I get emotional support?

Remember that however you feel there are people who will listen to you and who want to help. Let family or friends know what you are going through. They may be able to offer support and help keep you safe. They may not be able to make you feel better straight away. But tell them how you feel. They may help you change your perception or think of other options.

If you hesitate in talking to family or friends you may be able to get emotional support from other places. You could approach:

  • Someone from an emotional support line
  • Therapist or counsellor
  • Teacher, tutor or colleague
  • Religious or spiritual leader
  1. How can I get professional support?

 Helpline Services

Helpline service are meant to help people when they are in crisis. You can call them if you do not have a GP or you do not know who to call. Call Vandrevala Foundation 1860-266-2345 / 1800-233-3330, it is free. This line is open 24 hours a day 7 days a week.

General Physician (GP)

Your GP might be able to help you get support in a crisis. Your GP can discuss hospital treatment or refer you to the counsellor. They should do this if you suffer with depression and are a high risk of suicide, self-harm or neglect.

  1. How do I make a crisis plan?

A crisis plan is sometimes called a safety plan. Ideally you should make a plan before you are in crisis, but it is never too late to start. You may need someone to help you to make a crisis plan such as a friend or support worker.

The aim of a crisis plan is to think about what support would you need when you are in a crisis. You could make a list of things that you could do to help yourself. You can write down the names and numbers of people who would be able to help you. You may find it helpful to include the good things in your life or things that you are looking forward to as part of the plan and try concentrating on it. There is no set way for how a crisis plan should look.
You can find our list of Emotional Support Helpline in India here.


Written by Rimpa Sarkar

Add Comment