Having suicidal thoughts or feelings can feel scary and isolating, but you are never alone. Lucas, 19, shares his experience and how he got through it.
This September 10th marks World Suicide Prevention Day - a day to show the worldwide commitment to suicide prevention and awareness. It’s important to talk about suicide, as it is one of the biggest causes of death for young people, especially young men.
It is common for people to feel down, sad or stressed at times. But sometimes these feelings can persist for a while and become very intense; people can feel overwhelmed, worthless or have very low self-esteem. This among other factors can make someone feel like the only solution is to end their life. These thoughts can feel frightening, and some people may feel ashamed or worry that people may not believe them. But there is support out there, and with the right support, you can work through these feelings - as I have experienced myself a couple of times.
There is support out there, and with the right support, you can work through these feelings - as I have experienced myself a couple of times.
I started experiencing suicidal thoughts at a young age. I remember feeling very frightened about what was going on in my head; I really struggled to articulate how I was feeling. I didn’t really talk to anyone and things slowly bottled up. I felt like a bottle of pop and every little thing shook that bottle until one day the lid flew off.
I ended up going to hospital and saw the CAMHS crisis team there. I had a good chat with them and we formulated a crisis plan. After that, I had regular support from them and slowly realised the importance of talking. I ended up having a stay in an inpatient unit, where I received a diagnosis and a treatment plan. I also learnt coping strategies and overall learnt a lot about myself.
I felt like a bottle of pop and every little thing shook that bottle until one day the lid flew off.
This was a few years ago, and since that time I have completed my GCSEs and A-level equivalent and got good grades. I hit a lot of goals and I’ve made some amazing lifelong friends along the way, mainly from my local inclusive rugby team who also showed me the importance of men talking about their mental health. The team massively helped with my confidence and still does. It can be so helpful to have people who support you and, even if you don’t feel like it sometimes, those people do exist for you.
It can be so helpful to have people who support you and, even if you don’t feel like it sometimes, those people do exist for you.
Tackling obstacles along the way
Things haven’t all been easy since then. I have still struggled with my mental health, particularly with self-harm. I received support from my local mental health team, crisis team, local A&E and emergency services when needed. But a few months ago I started having intrusive suicidal thoughts again. I felt like I was back to square one, I felt like a failure.
To begin with I didn’t talk to anyone about how I was feeling, but when things got seriously on top of me I reached out. I am so glad I did. The services were there once again and gave me the support I needed. They worked intensively with me, including services I didn’t expect like the emergency services. They came up with a great crisis plan and I felt very supported.
To begin with I didn’t talk to anyone about how I was feeling, but when things got seriously on top of me I reached out. I am so glad I did.
I also reached out to friends, which was a big step but something I’m really glad I did. They were great and I can’t thank them enough for the support they gave me. It showed me the importance of having a supportive network around you that is always there to listen.
To begin with I felt like it wasn’t going to get any better; I felt very alone and scared. But within a few weeks I was feeling more positive and came to see that things could get back on track. Right now, I am feeling amazing and am in one of the best places I have been in years. I work for the NHS as a student children’s nurse and senior healthcare assistant, and have a good social life. I generally have more periods where I’m happy with my life.
I felt like it wasn’t going to get any better; I felt very alone and scared. But within a few weeks I was feeling more positive and came to see that things could get back on track.
I think the main thing I want people to take away is that you are not alone – there is so much support out there. It’s okay to feel how you feel - it doesn’t make you a bad person. I still have bumps in the road like a lot of people. But I know where to go for support - this includes information online, local services and helplines, national ones like the shout 24hr text line, and even places like A&E if necessary.
I also want to stress the importance of helping friends and family. This can be as simple as even just saying you’re there for them. If you’re worried about someone – maybe you haven’t heard from them for a while or you’ve noticed they’re acting differently - the NHS and YoungMinds websites give great advice about how to support someone who is feeling suicidal. If someone expresses suicidal thoughts, it should never be ignored or taken lightly and they should receive appropriate help.
I also want to stress the importance of helping friends and family. This can be as simple as even just saying you’re there for them.
I’ll end with one of my favourite quotes: “Life is unpredictable. Not everything is in our control. But as long as you’re with the right people, you can handle anything.”
Sometimes it’s just a question of finding or identifying those people and reaching out.
More information and advice
We have tips and advice to help you find the support you need. Take a look at our guides.
Where to get help
However you're feeling, there are people who can help you if you are struggling. Here are some services that can support you.
Text YM to 85258.
Provides free, 24/7 text support for young people across the UK experiencing a mental health crisis.
All texts are answered by trained volunteers, with support from experienced clinical supervisors.
Texts are free from EE, O2, Vodafone, 3, Virgin Mobile, BT Mobile, GiffGaff, Tesco Mobile and Telecom Plus.
Texts can be anonymous, but if the volunteer believes you are at immediate risk of harm, they may share your details with people who can provide support.
- Opening times:
If you’re under 19 you can confidentially call, chat online or email about any problem big or small.
Can provide a BSL interpreter if you are deaf or hearing-impaired.
Hosts online message boards where you can share your experiences, have fun and get support from other young people in similar situations.
- Opening times: