Coping with suicidal thoughts

Suicidal thoughts may come and go, but learning how to tackle them effectively is key to making positive decisions. Find out how to reach out for help when you need it the most.

What are Suicidal thoughts?

Suicidal thoughts mean a person is contemplating suicide to deal with emotional pain. These thoughts comprise:

                         Feeling trapped and alone

                    Thinking it's too much to go on living

                       Focus on death and violence

                      Feeling like that the people you care about would be better off without you

  • Feeling trapped and alone.
  • Thinking it's too much to go on living
  • Focus on death and violence
  • Feeling like that the people you care about would be better off without you.

Fortunately, there are ways to deal with these thoughts and feelings on a day-to-day basis. Knowing how to deal with suicidal thoughts makes it easier to get a better perspective on your life.

How to cope with suicidal thoughts?

Avoid trigger ​situations

Suicidal thoughts have certain triggers like alcohol and drugs. Potentially risky situations like standing near a train or balcony also trigger suicidal thoughts.

Therefore, you need to remove these objects from your home and avoid staying near trains and balconies. It's easier to deal with suicidal thoughts when you are away from triggers.

​Reach out to others

Reaching out to friends or a psychologist is one of the best ways to cope with suicidal thoughts. People who commit suicide believe that no one will miss them. Spending time with others is an excellent way to combat this notion. Call family members, friends, a GP and even a psychologist. It is difficult to deal with suicide without a strong support system.

Stay healthy

Maintaining a balanced diet and getting plenty of sleep are some ways to cope with suicidal thoughts. Sleep deprivation has a way of changing the way you think, making it harder to cope with suicidal thoughts.


Work to distance yourself from suicidal thoughts. Certain techniques to use include distracting yourself and muscle relaxation. To use your senses follow the steps:

  • When you feel the thoughts, close your eyes and open them again - Focus on the object in front of you and try to describe it in as much detail as possible. The more senses you use (taste, touch and sight), the better the distraction for you.
  • Muscle relaxation - When you feel overwhelmed, your muscles around the neck, jaw, shoulders and back tense. Focus on relaxing each muscle group starting from the head down to your lower body.
  • Visualisations - Focusing on your breathing is an excellent way to cope with your suicidal thoughts. Imagine your lungs filling up with air as you breathe in and breathe out. You can also picture yourself in a calm, safe space.

Create a safety plan

A suicide safety plan is a structured step-by-step plan on dealing with your suicidal thoughts. The plan will start with you can handle, such as thinking about your reasons to live and distracting yourself with enjoyable activities. The plan will then move on to coping strategies and people who can support you. A safety plan should be made with help from a psychologist or mental health worker.

If you feel like your suicidal thoughts are so intense that coping is proving to be a challenge, then contact a professional mental health care worker for help.

The warning signs

Know the thoughts and feelings of suicidal tendencies

​You are not alone

There are many ways to overcome your thoughts, find support here

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