Opening up about suicidal feelings
It's okay to talk to someone, and it's okay to be nervous about doing so. Here are some ways you can reach out for help.
Sonder Health avatar
Written by Sonder Health
Updated over a week ago

Some people experiencing depression will have thoughts to end their life, because the symptoms of depression can feel overwhelming at times. This article explains suicidal thoughts, and how to get help.

First steps

You might first want to open up to someone you know, trust and feel comfortable with. They can be considered your support person. That could be a family member, friend, colleague, doctor or another health professional.

Some tips on starting this initial conversation from Beyond Blue include:

  • Try and think about it as just another conversation. Describe what's happened, how you feel and the help you need. It's best to be direct so that they understand how you feel.

  • Be prepared for their reaction. People who learn that someone is suicidal can be quite shocked and emotional. Just keep talking and together you can find a way through it.

  • Ask your support person to help you find support; in person, online, or over the phone.

  • It's important to have support, but if you tell someone about your suicidal thoughts, you can't expect them to keep it a secret. They'll need to be able to help you stay safe and that usually means calling in extra help.

How to verbalise your feelings

It's OK to be nervous about talking to someone. But remember it will help you, not hinder you. Some examples of phrases you can use are:

"I've been pretending I'm OK but I'm actually feeling really low and not coping."

"I don't need solutions at the moment, I just need someone to listen while I come to terms with these feelings."

"I may get upset trying to talk about this, but I need to let you know that I have depression."

"This isn't an easy thing for me to talk about but I'll do my best to explain."

Stay safe

Try to focus your thoughts on finding ways to start safe. Once you are safe that's the best place to start working out how you're going to get the help you need, alongside those conversations you'll have with a trusted person.

It can be difficult to think rationally when you're feeling suicidal, so having a plan in place with steps you can follow to help you stay and feel safe is a crucial step.

Some coping tools you can use during this time include:

  • Recognising your warning signs

  • Making your surroundings safe

  • Reminders of reasons to live

  • Things that can make you feel strong

  • People and places to connect with

  • Family and friends you can talk or yarn with

  • Professional support

Although every individual's support needs are different, these tools can help anyone in the same way.

Some other factors to consider to help keep you safe are:

  • Remember that suicidal thoughts are just thoughts; you do not have to act on them. Your thoughts might also last just a few minutes; you might feel completely different in a few hours time.

  • Delay any decisions to end your life. Give yourself time to get the support you need.

  • Remove anything in your home that you might use to impulsively harm yourself.

  • Store crisis line phone numbers or web links in your mobile phone for easy use.

  • Avoid being alone. Try to have someone near you until your thoughts of suicide decrease.

  • Avoid drugs and alcohol. They can intensify how you feel and make decision making more impulsive.

if you have a plan to end your life, and you think you might follow through with it, please dial 000 or contact Sonder for immediate support.

Article originally published by: BEYOND BLUE

Image credit: Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash , Photo by KaLisa Veer on Unsplash

All content is created and published for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice. Always seek the guidance of a qualified health professional.

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