Suicide FAQs

What to do if you're feeling shit.
I feel suicidal

If you are having very black thoughts or considering killing yourself, talk to someone.

If, for whatever reason, you cannot talk to family or friends, there are several organisations who can help:

  • The Samaritans have a 24 hour phone line - 08457 909090 - staffed by trained volunteers who will talk to you about anything. Or you can email them (jo@samaritans.org). Or visit a local branch and just walk in and talk to someone - there are over 200 branches in the UK and Ireland. There’s more information on the Samaritans website: www.samaritans.org.
  • CALM also have a helpline that is open 5pm-midnight 365 days a year on 0800 585858. CALM specifically exist to reduce male suicide and are used to talking to men about how they’re feeling. There’s more information about CALM on their website: www.thecalmzone.net. You’ll also find more information about some of the issues that make men feel suicidal.

Both organisations are excellent. If you’ve come to the MHF website looking for help, these two organisations are the people to talk to. They’re totally confidential and private - you can talk about anything.

If you feel you can see your GP, do that. Other things you can do if you’re feeling suicidal are:

  • walk into the local A&E department and tell them how you’re feeling
  • contact the NHS 111 phone line

Suicidal feelings are a response to extreme stress so you need to remove yourself from the stressful situation. Do anything that reduces your feelings of anxiety. Go for a walk. Run. Read. Listen to music. 

Do any of these.

But suicide seems like the only solution

If you’re are in pain and you want the pain to stop, killing yourself may feel like a way of ending it. You may feel it is the only solution you have or the only way you can take control of what feels like an impossible situation. But these are feelings. It important for us to recognise our feelings and these may be quite natural feelings in many cases - but they are only feelings. Try to separate feelings from facts. These are facts:

  • Many people have felt like this at some time or another - perhaps the majority of people - and nearly all of them did not kill themselves.
  • Our feelings change. You feel like this now but you have not always felt like this so you probably won’t always feel like this in the future.
  • If you feel so bad that you’re considering killing yourself, you are at rock bottom. You feel as bad as a human being can possibly feel so you have nothing to lose by talking to someone. And it might make things better.

Look at the numbers. In 2012, 5,981 people killed themselves yet The Samaritans spoke to over 600,000 people who said they wanted to kill themselves. In other words, a lot of people consider suicide but far fewer do it and these numbers prove that talking to an organisation such as The Samaritans can make a difference. You have nothing to lose.

On the MHF website you’ll find information for you to use as you wish. Nowhere on the MHF website will you be told what’s best. Except here. If you’re feeling suicidal, it’s best to tell someone.

Why do people feel suicidal?

We don’t really know. But all of these things may increase how likely we are to think about suicide:

  • life history - particularly traumatic events in childhood such as abuse or neglect
  • certain health conditions such as depression or schizophrenia
  • addictions to, for example, drugs or alcohol
  • having no job or a very insecure job
  • being lonely or bullied
  • being in debt or homeless
  • genes and family history
  • having a chronic illness and/or being in pain (more and more long-term problems can be relieved by the right medication so ask your GP)

One or more of these can combine with a trigger event to send someone ‘over the edge’.

But look at the list. Not a single one can honestly be said to be your fault. We have no control over the illnesses we get or our genes or what happened to us when we were kids. 

So, if you’re feeling like this, it’s not your fault. Tell someone.

The problem is that this reality is sometimes in conflict with our ideas of what a man should be. The traditional idea is that a man should be in control. But it’s impossible to be in control all the time. 

It is estimated that a single edition of the New York Times contains more information than the average person in the seventeenth-century was likely to come across in a lifetime. And that estimate was 30 years ago. The world is changing. Today, you simply can’t know everything. If we, as men in the 21st century, are not in control enough to understand that, we’re going to be in trouble. 

Most of us get it. If the toilet leaks, we don’t think it’s a sign of weakness or failure to call the plumber. But if you’re feeling like crap and you don’t know why, the same thing applies. There’s no shame in asking an expert. Your GP can point you in the right direction.

If you have financial problems or are in debt there is help available from, for example, Citizens Advice or the Money Advice Service.

Can drugs make me feel suicidal?

If you’re feeling black, drink and drugs will not help. They may mask the feelings in the very short term but we all know that drink and drugs can make us more likely to do something we regret. Alcohol is actually a depressant so is likely to make you feel even lower.

It’s not just illegal drugs. Prescription anti-depressants may increase suicidal feelings when you first start so make sure somebody knows you’re taking them (and tell your GP immediately if you have such feelings). 

What are the warning signs?

It’s not easy to spot when someone is seriously considering suicide but signs can include:

  • threatening self-harm or suicide
  • talking or writing about it
  • actively looking at ways to do it (such as stocking up on tablets)
  • signs of hopelessness - ‘what’s the point?’
  • signs of feeling trapped - ‘what can I do?’
  • sudden rages/anger
  • reckless or risky behaviour
  • changes in appetite - eating much more or less
  • changes in sleep patterns - sleeping a lot or very little
  • withdrawal - avoiding family and friends (online and off) and losing interest in anything including appearance
  • putting affairs in order - such as writing a will or sorting out/selling possessions

If you spot a number of these in yourself, talk to someone. if you notice them in others, try to talk to them. Don’t judge them or try to suggest solutions, just offer a listening ear and try to encourage them to seek professional help though their GP.

 

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Last published 09/07/14
Date of last review 09/07/14
Date of next review 09/07/17

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