If you are feeling suicidal
If you are feeling suicidal now you may be feeling very alone, lost, frightened, confused. You may be feeling there is no other way out of your problem, difficulties, worries, feelings, or whatever reason you are contemplating taking your life.
It may be that at the moment you are so overcome with feelings, sadness, despair, that you are not able to think clearly about other possibilities, other solutions, other alternatives, other ways of coping.
Suicide is very final - if you succeed in taking your life - there are no second chances and nobody really knows what will happen when they die. It may be difficult to take in at this moment in time but the feelings you have at the moment may be temporary - you may not always feel like this. There are people who have been in the exactly the same position as you and have somehow found the strength to come out of it and have gone on to find happiness and fulfilment in life and to be able to cope with life more easily - they have found alternatives to suicide and were glad that they did not take their own life.
You may feel like this now because the pain you are feeling has become unbearable. Just talking to someone else about how you are feeling can take some of that weight off your shoulders. There may be other things you can do to help yourself cope, to change things, to survive. It is incredibly sad that you feel so bad that you want to die. You may be telling yourself that other people would be better off without you but other people would not want you to take your life.
You may feel that nobody cares about you anyway but there are people who will care if you allow them to care for you. I care deeply that you are thinking of ending your life, that you see no hope, no alternative, but something so final as death.
You may be trying to convince yourself that your loved ones would be better off without you but if you were able to see the devastation that it causes families and friends of people who commit suicide you would not think that.
If you cannot see for yourself a reason to carry on living try and give others the chance to explore with you whether they can help you to see if there are any reasons for you to carry on living - give someone a chance to do that for you. You have nothing to lose. If you are determined to kill yourself there is no hurry - there is no need to take immediate action. Give yourself the next few days to see whether there are any alternatives, talk to a friend, a relative, a helpline, a counsellor, look at some of the websites where other people have felt suicidal but found alternatives to killing themselves. There are alternatives to suicide so give yourself some time to find some support, some help with coping and talk to others about how you are really feeling. Allow others to care for you just as you would if your best friend came and told you he/she was suicidal - talk to yourself as you would a friend.
Agencies which provide support and information
How can I help someone who is suicidal?
If someone tells you they are suicidal do not dismiss their feelings but take what you are being told seriously. If someone puts enough trust in you to confide his/her innermost feelings you really need to listen to what is being said.
A person contemplating suicide is often in enormous turmoil inside - perhaps at one moment wanting to die and the next to live. He/she needs to know that someone has listened to and heard their pain, that someone can recognise that he/she is in pain and hurting so try and empathise with the person and repeat back, acknowledge the pain and hurt they are in so the person knows you are trying to understand what they are feeling.
If the suicidal person gives you a reason for feeling this way don't dismiss it that it isn't serious enough to kill himself/herself over. The fact that the person is feeling suicidal means that in his/her mind it is serious enough to not want to live anymore.
Allow the person to talk openly about how they are feeling, how long they have been feeling this way, have they made a plan as to how they will commit suicide, what do they think will happen to them when they die, etc.
Try to encourage the person to seek professional help in order that they are giving someone the chance to explore with them what is happening for them and to see whether they can help the person to see alternatives to suicide.
Show the person you genuinely care - this can often be enough in itself to prevent the person from taking their life at that moment in time.
Remember that you can give a person caring, support, time, patience, empathy but that person may at some stage still make the choice to end their life. If you try to help someone who is suicidal and they take their life it is their responsibility and choice to do that. If someone is that determined and set on killing themselves there is not a lot anyone could do to prevent that and you must never take the guilt or blame on your shoulders. All you can do is do your best for that person but some people can have all the counselling, medical intervention, support from family, friends etc. but still make a choice to end their life.
If you are providing support to someone who is suicidal do not forget to get support for yourself as well.
Help for those bereaved by suicide
If you have lost someone through suicide the pain is unbearable and the constant question of 'why' goes round and round in your head.
It is common for anyone bereaved by suicide to blame themselves - maybe I should have given the person more time, maybe I didn't listen enough, I should have picked up on the warning signs, I had a big row with him/her before he/she committed suicide, if only I had come back home earlier, if only I hadn't gone out, if only, if only if only.
There is also so much anger - how can he/she have done that and left me. There are people who think that suicide is a cowardly thing to do and an easy way out. However, if you were able to understand the intensity of the pain that the suicidal person feels and the immense struggle they have with what they are going to do - in no way is it an easy way out.
A person who is suicidal is so overwhelmed with feelings of despair and hopelessness that the intensity of their feelings takes over everything else. At that moment in time they honestly feel that their loved ones would be better off without them, they may feel a burden or that their problems are a burden to those around them and may not be able to think rationally about what their loss would really mean to others.
You cannot live your life thinking what if I had done this or that because at the end of the day if a person is determined to commit suicide it doesn't matter how much support and help they are given - they may still feel that the pain and hurt they are feeling is so intense and overwhelming that they at that moment in time cannot see any way out of - in some cases whatever you may have done or said or may not have done or said - it still may have not made any difference to the way the person was feeling inside and to their choice to take their life.
The person who has died would not want the loved ones left behind to live their lives feeling blame, guilt, bitterness but would want their loved ones to move on with their lives. The person did what they felt was best for them at that time. The people left behind can rationalise that it wasn't the best thing to do but the suicidal person was at a stage where they could not see that for themselves and may have felt that by ending their life they were saving others around them from hurt and pain. The last thing they would have wanted to do was to cause you more hurt and pain. A person has to find an alternative way out for themselves - if they cannot see that - nobody really has a right to judge them as nobody else is feeling what they felt, nobody else could see what they could see, even if they seemed happy and coping on the outside, nobody could see what they were feeling on the inside - nobody was living their life but them.
If you have been bereaved by suicide please ensure you get as much help and support for yourself as you can. There is still, unfortunately some stigma about suicide and it is so sad that families, friends, often feel they cannot talk about the person who has died in case other people will start asking questions and not be understanding. It is something that will always be with you so make sure you surround yourself with as much support, love, care that you can in order that you are not going through life with this on your own. There are resources on the internet, helplines, counsellors who will support you and work through your feelings with you.
Agencies which provide support and information
Useful book for those bereaved by suicide
A Special Scar – The Experiences of People Bereaved By Suicide by Alison Wertheimer - Publishers Routledge: ISBN 0415220270
Useful Websites for those bereaved by suicide