Don’t Panic - Plan
I wonder how your second week of online practice has been? NCS Registrant Suzie Mosson, a director of Online Training for Counsellors, has some expert advice for practitioners making this move. Whethe...
GETTING HELP FOR SUICIDAL FEELINGS
It is really, really important to find a counsellor to help with suicidal feelings. If you or anyone you know are going through this terrible thing, seek help immediately. Suicidal feelings are not something to be ignored. Even if you don’t think it’s worth talking to someone about this, it very definitely is.
There are many, many reasons why people might feel suicidal. A counsellor for suicidal feelings can provide help, support, advice and therapy to help people through the difficulties they’re facing.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU FEEL SUICIDAL
Is your life in immediate danger? If so, please call 999 and explain what has happened. It is vital that you get emergency medical help as quickly as possible. Nobody will judge you, and nobody will be angry with you. They will simply give you the help that you need.
COPING WITH SUICIDAL FEELINGS
• Do not self-medicate with drugs or alcohol. These will ultimately make you feel worse.
• In the moment, if you fear that you are a danger to yourself, go somewhere safe. Perhaps to the home of a friend or family member. If this is not an option, a hospital will provide safety. Suicidal ideation is treated as a medical emergency even if you have not taken any active steps, and NHS staff will care for you as a high-priority patient.
• Call a helpline, such as the Samaritans on 116 123.
• Talk to a friend or family member whom you trust.
• Get help from an accredited counsellor.
HOW TO HELP SOMEONE WHO FEELS SUICIDAL
• Establish that their lives are not in immediate danger. If they have harmed themselves, call the emergency services, and stay until help arrives.
• Prioritise their safety. If you are concerned that they are in immediate danger of harming themselves, do the best you can to keep them safe. If you do not feel able to do this, it may be worth seeking assistance from the emergency services.
• Ask questions, and take the answers seriously. Try to learn more about what the suffering person is going through, and do them the honour of believing what they’re telling you about how they’re feeling. You don’t have to agree with what they’re saying, or to justify their feelings – but it’s important not to deny or argue against the feelings they’re sharing with you.
• Don’t push for ‘reasons’. There may not be clear cut ‘reasons’ behind a person’s feelings. The important fact is that they are feeling suicidal – the ‘whys’ do not matter at this stage.
• Try, if you can, to avoid dispensing advice. It’s tempting to offer comfort or answers in this situation. However, phrases like ‘You are loved!’ and ‘You are important!’ – no matter how truly and deeply you may mean them - are not always as helpful as some people may think. To someone in distress, this kind of thing may be experienced as a denial of their very real experiences and feelings. These phrases may even act as a bitter reminder of everything the person feels that they are not.
• Encourage self-care. Offer what you can - water, nourishment, shelter, warmth, emotional support. Do not force any of these things, but do let the sufferer know that they are available.
• Remember that everyone deals with difficult times in different ways. Some people will want to be alone, while others will seek company. Do not try and alter someone’s behaviour unless you are seriously concerned that they are becoming a danger to themselves.
WHY DO PEOPLE FEEL SUICIDAL?
Everyone who has or has had suicidal feelings experiences them differently. Sometimes there are no real ‘reasons’ behind their feelings. Other times the feelings might be related to illness, or to life circumstances. While getting to the bottom of why someone is feeling suicidal can be useful for therapists and counsellors, the really important thing to remember is that all suicidal ideation is serious, everyone’s experience of it is unique, and no ‘reason’ for feeling suicidal is more ‘valid’ than any other.
HOW LONG DO SUICIDAL FEELINGS LAST FOR?
Everyone’s experience of suicidal feelings is unique. It is impossible to say exactly how long suicidal feelings will last. What we can say is that they go away a lot faster for those who seek help than for those who do not.
It is entirely possible to recover from suicidal feelings and to move forward into a happy, fulfilled, normal life. In the hopeless depths of despair, this may be hard to believe. But people really to get better. The key to recovery from suicidal feelings is getting help. Support from people that you can trust, and to whom you can talk is extremely beneficial. Professional help will also make a huge difference, and help you on the road towards the life you want.
Finding an accredited counsellor to help with suicidal feelings is a huge step forward. A counsellor will listen to your feelings without judgement or expectation. They’ll help you to gain a greater understanding of the things which have led you to this point, and a greater understanding of yourself. This can really help with your sense of perspective, your self-awareness, and your self-esteem – as well as giving you the resilience to withstand troubling times and feelings.
If someone you know is struggling with suicidal feelings, encourage them to seek help from a suicide counsellor. Help them to do so, if you can. They may not have the energy to look for help, or they may fear upsetting or embarrassing someone. They may even feel that they are not worthy of help. But everyone who feels suicidal deserves help, support, and non-judgemental compassion. Recovery is possible, with a little help. Many people have felt suicidal at one point or another, and most have gone on to live happy, fulfilling lives. There is hope for everyone.