Suicide is a public health priority and suicidal thoughts, whether actioned, planned or attempted, can have lasting effects on an individual, their social circles and their communities.
The causes of suicide are complex and often link to other mental health problems, such as depression or self-harm, and suicidal thoughts come from feelings of desperation, hopelessness, low self-worth and isolation.
If you, or someone you know, is feeling suicidal, it’s important to get help and to know you’re not alone. Many people experience suicidal feelings, whether it’s making a plan for suicide or having a passing consideration of ending their life. When a person is experiencing a mental health struggle or they’ve reached a personal crisis, be it housing, money, family, relationships, bereavement, work or more, they’re more at risk of feeling suicidal.
If you’re suicidal, you don’t have to go through these difficult feelings alone. There is support to get you back to a place where you feel in control and positive about your future.
If you, or someone you know, is at risk of harming themselves or you’re worried you can’t keep yourself or someone else safe until you get support, seek immediate help: by calling 999 or going to A&E. If you’re experiencing suicidal thoughts:
Call 999 or go to A&E
Call your GP or out-of-hours GP for an emergency appointment.
Warning: it can be upsetting and triggering to read information about suicide. If you are feeling vulnerable at the moment, you might not want to consume the content on this page.
What is Suicide?
Suicide is the act of intentionally ending your own life, and right now, suicide is a public health priority affecting anyone at any age, of any gender or background. Close to 800,000 people around the world die by suicide every year.
In Northern Ireland, more people have died by suicide than were killed during 30 years of conflict between the years of 1998-2016. In 2016, more than 4,400 suicide deaths were recorded compared to 3,600 killed in nearly a decade of war. Research found about one in eight children and young people aged up to 19 years old have thought about or attempted suicide.
What causes suicidal feelings?
The causes of suicide are complex and often linked to other mental health problems, such as depression or self-harm. Suicidal thoughts tend to come from feelings of depression, desperation, hopelessness, low self-worth and isolation. Life’s hardships can instigate low or suicidal feelings because these problems may feel insurmountable.
Life experiences which trigger suicidal thoughts may include, but are not limited to:
- Financial stresses
- Relationship problems, divorce or a break-up
- Housing issues, including homelessness or risk of homelessness
- Chronic or long-term health issues or illnesses
- Substance abuse or addiction
- Mental health problems
- Being in prison
- Work difficulties, such as a job loss, stress or daily pressures
- Pregnancy or postnatal depression
- Sexual orientation and gender identity
- Trauma or abuse
What does it feel like to be suicidal?
Feeling suicidal means having suicidal thoughts or suicidal ideation. Thoughts of killing yourself can range from making a detailed plan to having a passing consideration and it can also mean thinking about suicide methods. Suicidal thoughts are an indication of a wider mental health issue which may cause a person to feel low, worthless, hopeless, or to feel isolated and unable to escape difficult emotions.
How long someone experiences feeling suicidal is different from person to person, but many feel as though they’ve lost hope or they’ll never feel like themselves again. . Suicidal thoughts can develop over time, particularly if someone feels like they can’t continue living life in this way. Every person’s experience of being suicidal is different and it’s common for someone to not understand why they feel this way or to struggle with stopping these feelings once they arrive.
For anyone feeling suicidal, you might:
- Feel worthless or like life isn’t worth living
- Think people would be better off without you
- Feel hopeless or despairing
- Feel overwhelmed by negative thoughts
- Feel isolated socially or cut off from friends and family
Your behaviour may change and you might experience:
- A change to your sleeping and eating patterns
- No desire to socialise
- Avoiding other people
- A breakdown in communication
- Less enjoyment in activities that brought you happiness
- Less interest in your appearance
- Neglecting self-care, like showering or brushing your teeth
- Self-loathing or a lack of self confidence
In moments of need, there’s always someone there for you. Before calling a helpline, check the opening times by clicking to their website. It can help to check if the call is free or if there’s a cost involved before calling.
Get Inspired, Get Informed
Improving our mental, emotional wellbeing begins with learning. When we understand mental health and how it can be impacted, it helps us to support ourselves and others through mental health problems. Knowing is the key to unlocking a happier, healthier life – not just for ourselves, but our loved ones, too.
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Get Inspired, Get Mindful
There are simple things we can do everyday to improve how we feel and this section is full of inspiration to help us look after ourselves. Everyday maintenance of our mental health is not just a necessary part of life, but it helps us to thrive and feel our best.
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Other Helpful Resources
Consider if you'd like to browse privately: These resources often link to external Websites like YouTube, or Amazon for example, which save certain information about your browsing history. If you'd like to check out these resources but you'd like to keep your browsing private or are concerned for your safety, please consider using incognito mode - this will allow you to view all content without the risk of exposing your browsing history.
- PAPYRUS - Suicide Safety Plan, Staying safe from acting on suicidal thoughts can be really hard and takes a huge amount of strength. A suicide safety plan can be a really useful practical tool for anyone working to stay safe right now, giving them the opportunity to keep that strength going and a chance to fight another day.
- PAPYRUS - When experiencing thoughts of suicide, it can be helpful to try and use distraction techniques as part of your plan to stay safe. Distractions can bring focus to something else which can help quieten those thoughts.
- PAPYRUS - Create a Hope Box, The idea behind this box is that it is filled with things that can help you to feel better. When you’re feeling upset, anxious, or experiencing thoughts of suicide then you can use the box as a way to feel better.
- PAPYRUS - Communicating with Young People. Is a child or young person you know having thoughts of suicide? A 4-step guide to helping them.
- More coming soon! Got any suggestions? If so, you can "Join The Conversation" at the bottom of this page.
- Coming Soon! Got any suggestions? If so, you can "Join The Conversation" at the bottom of this page!
- Suicide | Talking about mental health - Episode 8 - Alicia, Lee, Graham and Miriam talk about what it's like coping with suicidal feelings and how they've learned to manage.
- Feeling Suicidal | Mental Health Talk - Men are at particular risk of suicide. In this video Lee, Rohan and Graham talk about the specific difficulties around being a man and feeling suicidal.
- Nadine's story - "it didn't matter to them how much time it took" - Nadine discusses her experience calling Mind's infoline when she was feeling suicidal and alone.
- Black Tie | Suicide Awareness Short Film - Nervous about an upcoming ceremony, Patrice is mocked and comforted by his friend Josh up until a sudden emotional realisation.
- Suicide affects whole communities in Northern Ireland, says mental health champion - Prof Siobhán O'Neill speaks to BBC News NI after it was revealed that there were 237 deaths from suicide in Northern Ireland in 2021, and how the ripple effect of suicide touches whole communities.
- How to Help Someone Who is Suicidal - This animation explains the warning signs someone may be considering suicide and how to support the person.
- Stigmatized Into Silence: Experiencing Suicidal Ideation | Molly Bernhard | TEDxSofiaUniversity - In this talk, Molly Bernhard discusses her experience with suicidal ideation.
- How to Talk About Suicidal Thoughts: Simple Strategies for Parents and Friends - This video provides resources for suicide prevention, information on where you can get personalized support, and info about the risk factors for suicide and warning factors. And it provides parents with what to say and what not to say to a child who tells them that they are feeling suicidal.
- Anthony's Story - Small Talk Saves Lives - Samaritans - If you think somebody needs help, trust your instincts and start a conversation. A little small talk can be all it takes to start someone on a journey to recovery.
- Talking can change your life, it changed mine - Samaritans - Two in five men aged 20-59 in England, Scotland and Wales don't seek support when they need to, because they prefer to solve their own problems. If you’re feeling low or struggling to cope, it’s okay.
- The bravest thing you will ever do is talk - Samaritans - Michael shares his story of coping with the isolation and anxiety of rural life, and the importance of talking.
- Coping With Suicidal Feelings | Somewhere New | Childline - Coping with suicidal feelings is never easy, but there’s always a way to get through. This video discusses some methods to help.
- 8 Tips for Dealing with Suicidal Thoughts - This video gives short term coping ideas for those currently experiencing suicidal thoughts.
- What is Suicidal Ideation? - Psych Hub breaks down what suicidal ideation is, how it can manifest, and how you can help someone who is dealing with suicidal thoughts.
- From suicidal to hopeful, how I learnt to fight | Jazz Thornton | TEDxAuckland - It was one conversation that changed and ultimately saved Jazz Thornton's life. She learnt the vital difference between surviving and fighting and now shares the practical ways she fought through 9 years of suicidal tendencies.
- Coming Soon! Got any suggestions? If so, you can let us know by "Joining The Conversation" at the bottom of this page!
Find Help Near You - Suicide & Self Harm
There are many support agencies in Northern Ireland who specialise in providing support to people impacted by suicidal thoughts or suicide. Please remember that you are not alone and that there is help available.
We currently do not accept requests for ongoing support from us.
Instead, please browse or search our directory to find the most appropriate service for your needs to ensure you
get the best support possible.
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