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Suicide is a very complex issue. At the base of things it’s a feeling or want to end your life. These feelings come in different forms and everybody’s reasons for this differ. Many people suffer with feeling suicidal at some point in their life and there is a multitude of support available.

Causes of suicidal feelings are far ranging and will differ from person to person. Some may be obvious life changes such as bereavement, a job loss, financial worries, a traumatic event you either witnessed or were involved in, long term illness, abuse or relationship endings. Others may be less obvious to people who surround you such as feeling like people will be better off without you, trying to end the feelings associated with mental health problems and drug and alcohol addiction. Some people may not know why or what causes their suicidal feelings.

Symptoms of suicidal feelings include but are not limited to:

  • A feeling of being lost or hopeless
  • Feeling like others will be better off without you
  • Mood changes
  • Sleep problems
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Feeling like you want to end physical or emotional pain
  • Intrusive thoughts
  • Changes in appetite
  • Neglecting to take care of yourself
  • A low self esteem
  • Urges to hurt yourself

Treatment for suicidal feelings may include peer support, helplines, the support of family and friends, talking therapies, crisis services and medication. Medication is not specifically for treating suicidal feelings; rather, the underlying problem that is causing them. If somebody is suffering from anxiety or depression for example, it may help to start medication to treat these feelings.

There are often local support groups available through mental health charities. In addition, there are telephone lines such as the Samaritans for somebody to talk to. Talking therapies and crisis teams may be accessed through your local mental health services. You will need to either talk to your primary care doctor for a referral or sometimes you may self refer to these. Waiting lists can be long so it’s also important to talk to your family and friends and build a support network of people you can rely on if you aren’t feeling well or safe.

There may also be online peer support groups which can helpful to give you a place to express your feelings or distract yourself from the immediate overwhelming feelings. There is a myth that if somebody tells you about their suicidal feelings, they do not intend to act on it. This is not true in many cases. You should take it seriously if a friend or family member reaches out.

If you have concerns that you or anybody close to you is experiencing suicidal feelings it is important to seek support from your primary care doctor who can put you in touch with the correct services for you. If you feel like you are an immediate danger to yourself of others, please visit your local emergency centre for immediate intervention.