If you think you might harm yourself, seek help immediately.
- Life Line Office Line 031 303 1344
- Life Line Crisis Line 031 312 2323
- Get someone to take you to your local hospital emergency department
- Go to your GP
If you have suicidal thoughts, don’t try to manage on your own. If you feel like you are going to harm yourself, it is important to contact someone to talk about it now, or contact your local hospital emergency department. It is important to get some support for yourself as soon as possible.
Why do some people think about committing suicide?
Sometimes problems can seem overwhelming. Some people think about suicide, but do not plan or act on it. However, for others the thought of suicide might begin to seem like a real alternative to a problem or situation that appears hopeless or as if there is no solution. When people feel this bad it is hard to think about other choices or other ways to solve problems.
Sometimes, people have thoughts about suicide because they are going through some really stressful situations or because they are suffering from depression.
Situations that might contribute to feelings of hopelessness include:
- relationship break-ups
- family problems
- sexual, physical or mental abuse
- alcohol and other drugs problems
- major grief and loss such as a death
- school, university/college or work problems
- unemployment or being unemployed for a long time
- feeling like you don’t belong anywhere
- any problem that you can’t see a solution for and is ongoing
- mental illness, including schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and depression.
When people suffer from depression there are chemical changes in the brain and people’s thoughts, feelings and behaviour become affected. Depression can affect thinking so that it becomes hard to think of other ways out of a situation. The things that seem really hard to see when you’re feeling down are:
- that the problems that seem unsolvable will change
- that life is always changing
- that there are many other choices
What to do if you’re having suicidal thoughts
If you are feeling suicidal or want to end your life, it’s important that you keep yourself safe. Try to remember that thoughts about suicide are just thoughts. They do not mean you have to act on them, no matter how overwhelming they are or how often you have them. They won’t last forever, and often they pass quickly.
Everyone goes through tough times when things seem hopeless. It is possible to get through these times by creating your own ‘tool kit’ of coping strategies, which you can use when you’re feeling suicidal or when things feel hopeless.
Some suggestions include:
Postpone your decision to end to your life. Keep a list of things you can do to distract yourself, such as watching a DVD, going to the movies, ringing a friend, chatting on MSN, doing some exercise, reading a book, playing a game or listening to music.
Talk to someone. Tell a friend or family member or call a telephone counselling service. 24-hour telephone counselling lines allow you to talk anonymously to a trained counsellor.
Talk to a professional. GPs, psychologists, psychiatrists, counsellors and other health professionals are trained to deal with issues relating to suicide, mental illness and wellbeing.
Avoid using alcohol or drugs. Alcohol and many drugs are depressants, and can make you feel worse. They can also impair your decision-making skills and you might do something you normally wouldn’t do.
Exercise and eat well. Even though you might not feel like it, exercising and eating well can really help when you are feeling down. Exercise helps stimulate hormones, such as endorphins, which help you feel better about yourself and your life. If you haven’t done a lot of exercise before, it might be a good idea to start doing something small a couple of times each week. A 15-minute walk or 2 or 3 laps of a pool would be a good place to start.
Set small goals for yourself. Set yourself some small goals that are achievable for you, even if it’s on a day-by-day, or hour-by-hour, basis. And remember to reward yourself too.
Where to go for help
Contact REGENT’s Counselling Services to see a student counselor. Email us on firstname.lastname@example.org and provide us with your number. We will call you as soon as we get the email to contact you with a date and time to meet with you.
- See your GP, a psychologist, psychiatrist or counsellor
- Call Life Line’s Crisis Line 031 312 2323 (24 hours)
- Call Life Line’s National Counselling Line 0861 322 322 (24 hours/7 days a week)
Download a printable tip sheet on what to do if you’re feeling suicidal
If you are worried about a friend:
Lifeline Toolkit (PDF, 2 MB) Tip sheet if your friend is talking about suicide