Coping with Suicidal Feelings During Lockdown

Updated: Oct 27, 2020

Woman sitting on a sofa with her head in her hands

Sometimes it can feel that you are in such a dark and difficult place that the only possible escape is to take your own life. This may be due to distressing negative thoughts, overwhelming anxiety, or feeling that everyone would be better off without you. Whatever your experience, thoughts of suicide can be frightening and confusing, especially if your usual sources of support are inaccessible because of the lockdown.

If you are experiencing suicidal feelings, please know that you are not alone and that there is hope that things will get better. Many people think about suicide at some point in their life, but with support and self-help the majority of people who have felt suicidal go on to lead fulfilling lives.

Getting help during the lockdown may be more difficult than usual, but there are many sources of help available (please note that if you feel that your life is in immediate danger, or you have already taken steps to end your life, you should call 999 as a matter of urgency):

Speak Out

The earlier you speak to someone about how you are feeling, the quicker you will be able to get some support. It can be very difficult to open up to people about feeling suicidal, especially if you fear that you will upset them or that they will judge you. If you do not feel able to speak to the people around you, another option is to contact Samaritans who offer a free listening service 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. You can call Samaritans on 116 123 or find other ways of getting in touch here.

Create a Safety Plan

A safety plan can be really helpful tool for getting you through intense suicidal feelings. The Staying Safe website (developed by 4 Mental Health) provides all the support and guidance you need to create your own safety plan, including a video tutorial showing Jonny Benjamin (a mental health activist and survivor of suicidal thoughts) creating his own plan. There are also videos where other survivors share their experiences of how safety plans have helped them.

Your safety plan can include the things that you know to be helpful when you are feeling overwhelmed, such as photos of friends and family, your favourite music or videos that can help to distract you from suicidal thoughts. It can also include details of steps you can take to keep yourself safe, both physically and emotionally.

Help for Children and Young People

There are many resources available which are tailor-made for children and young people who are experiencing difficulties, including thoughts of self-harm or suicide. Perhaps the most well-known organisation offering this support is Childline.

Childline offers a free and confidential telephone counselling service for children and young people on 0800 1111. Support can also be accessed through online chat, email and message boards. Details of the different ways to contact Childline can be found here.

The Childline website also has lots of information and resources which children and young people can use to help themselves. Included in this “Toolbox” are: games and calming activities; advice on finding new ways of managing emotions; and ways to use art and creativity to express feelings.

Supporting Someone who feels Suicidal

  • Papyrus - As well as helping people under the age of 35, Papyrus also provides support to anyone who is worried about a young person they know. This includes lots of different apps to support wellbeing.

  • Mind - Help for supporting someone with suicidal feelings can also be found on the Mind website, which provides some practical suggestions for what you can do and where you can go for support.

  • Samaritans - Samaritans also provide advice for helping someone you are worried about to open up about their feelings, including tips on how to be a good listener.

The lockdown has been extremely distressing for many people, and it is possible that more of us will experience suicidal thoughts during this time. Just remember that you are not alone, and that help is available. There is hope.

Kathryn Perry

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