How to Stop Suicidal Thoughts: Strategies and Tips

Suicidal thoughts are a serious concern for millions of people around the world. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), suicide is among the top 20 leading causes of death globally, with over 700,000 people dying by suicide each year. It’s not just the act of suicide that is alarming; it’s also the prevalence of suicidal thoughts and attempts. In fact, for every person who dies by suicide, there are many more who attempt it. Suicidal thoughts can be overwhelming, and they can affect anyone regardless of age, gender, or background. However, there are strategies and tips that can help individuals manage their thoughts, seek help, and support loved ones who may be struggling. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore effective approaches for stopping suicidal thoughts and offering support.

Understanding Suicidal Thoughts

The Severity of Suicidal Thoughts

Individuals who experience suicidal thoughts may not always recognize the severity of their emotions. This can make it difficult for them to seek help or express their feelings to others. However, understanding the risk factors and warning signs associated with suicidal thoughts is crucial in determining the level of severity and taking appropriate action.

Risk factors for suicidal thoughts include mental health disorders such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia. Substance abuse and chronic pain are also contributing factors. Additionally, individuals who have experienced trauma or abuse, have a family history of suicide, struggle with financial or legal problems, or have recently experienced a significant loss or life change may be at higher risk.

Recognizing warning signs is equally important. These may include talking about wanting to die or kill oneself, expressing feelings of hopelessness or worthlessness, withdrawing from social activities, experiencing extreme mood swings, and exhibiting reckless behavior.

It’s important to note that the presence of these risk factors and warning signs does not necessarily mean that an individual will attempt suicide. However, they do indicate a need for further evaluation and support. If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, it’s essential to seek professional help immediately.

In addition to seeking professional help, there are several other actions that can be taken to reduce the severity of suicidal thoughts. These include building a strong support system of trusted friends and family members, engaging in self-care practices such as exercise and meditation, and utilizing coping skills such as journaling or creative expression.

By recognizing the severity of suicidal thoughts and taking the appropriate steps to address them, individuals can improve their overall mental health and well-being.

Factors Contributing to Suicidal Thoughts

Factors Contributing to Suicidal Thoughts

While suicidal thoughts can be triggered by a variety of factors, certain experiences and conditions are known to increase the risk. Here are some of the main factors that contribute to suicidal thoughts:

  • Trauma: Traumatic events such as physical or sexual abuse, violence, war, or natural disasters can have a lasting impact on mental health. People who have experienced trauma may develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, anxiety, or other mental health disorders that increase their risk of suicide.

  • Abuse: Those who have experienced emotional, physical, or sexual abuse may feel hopeless, isolated, and helpless. Abuse can also damage one’s sense of self-worth, making it difficult to cope with stressors or setbacks. This can lead to feelings of despair and hopelessness that increase suicidal ideation.

  • Substance Abuse: Substance abuse is a leading cause of suicidal thoughts and behaviors. Drugs and alcohol can impair judgment and increase impulsivity, leading some to act on suicidal thoughts. Individuals struggling with addiction may also experience financial, legal, or relationship problems that worsen their mental health.

  • Genetics: Although no single gene has been linked to suicide, research suggests that genetics may play a role in suicidal behavior. Studies have found that individuals with a family history of suicide or mental illness are at higher risk for suicidal thoughts and behaviors.

It’s important to note that while these factors may increase an individual’s risk for suicidal thoughts and behaviors, they do not guarantee that someone will experience them. It’s always possible to seek help and find ways to manage negative thoughts and emotions.

Getting Help for Suicidal Thoughts

Therapeutic Approaches for Suicidal Thoughts

If you’re struggling with suicidal thoughts, it’s important to know that there are effective therapeutic approaches that can help you manage and overcome these feelings. One such approach is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), which has been shown to be helpful for individuals experiencing suicidal ideation.

CBT works by helping individuals identify and change negative thought patterns that contribute to their suicidal thoughts. Through this process, clients learn to challenge negative beliefs about themselves, others, and the world around them, and replace them with more balanced and realistic thinking.

Another therapeutic approach that may be helpful for those struggling with suicidal thoughts is Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT). DBT is a type of therapy that focuses on teaching individuals coping skills to manage intense emotions and improve relationships with others. One of the primary components of DBT is the use of mindfulness practices, which can help individuals become more aware of their thoughts and feelings without becoming overwhelmed by them.

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is another therapeutic approach that has shown promise in helping individuals who struggle with suicidal thoughts, particularly those who have experienced trauma. EMDR works by using rapid eye movements or other forms of bilateral stimulation to help individuals process traumatic memories and experiences in a safe and supportive environment.

While each of these therapeutic approaches offers unique benefits, it’s important to remember that not every approach works for everyone. It’s essential to work with a mental health professional to determine which approach is best suited for your individual needs and goals.

In addition to therapy, other strategies such as self-care and support from loved ones can also be helpful in managing suicidal thoughts. By taking a holistic approach to your mental health, you can develop the tools and resources needed to overcome suicidal thoughts and live a fulfilling life.

Support Resources for Those with Suicidal Thoughts

If you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts, it’s important to seek help as soon as possible. While therapy and counseling can be effective options, there are also a variety of support resources available for those in need.

One such resource is the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (NSPL), which provides free and confidential support 24/7. The NSPL can be reached at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) and offers services such as crisis intervention, emotional support, and referrals to local resources.

Another option is the Crisis Text Line, which allows individuals to connect with trained crisis counselors via text message. Text HOME to 741741 to begin a conversation with a Crisis Text Line counselor, who can provide support and help you develop a safety plan.

Finally, peer support can be a valuable resource for those dealing with suicidal thoughts. This can include support groups, online forums, or connecting with others who have gone through similar experiences. Peer support can provide a sense of community and understanding, and can also offer practical advice and coping strategies.

It’s important to remember that seeking help is a sign of strength, not weakness. Whether you reach out to a hotline, text line, or peer support group, know that there are people who care and want to help you through this difficult time.

Effective Strategies for Coping with Suicidal Thoughts

Self-Care Practices for Managing Suicidal Thoughts

Self-Care Practices for Managing Suicidal Thoughts

Managing suicidal thoughts can be a difficult and overwhelming experience. However, practicing self-care can help individuals cope better with these thoughts and improve their overall mental health. Here are some effective self-care practices for managing suicidal thoughts:


Exercise is an excellent way to manage stress and improve mental health. When you exercise, your body releases endorphins – feel-good chemicals that reduce pain and elevate mood. Regular exercise also helps to regulate sleep patterns and boost self-esteem, which can be especially helpful in managing suicidal thoughts. Even small amounts of physical activity, such as taking a walk or doing some yoga, can make a big difference.


Meditation is another powerful self-care practice that can help individuals manage suicidal thoughts. By focusing on the present moment and quieting the mind, meditation can reduce anxiety and promote feelings of calm and relaxation. Research suggests that regular meditation can also increase grey matter in the brain, leading to improved cognitive functioning and emotional regulation.


Proper nutrition is essential for good mental health. Eating a healthy, balanced diet provides the body with the nutrients it needs to function optimally, including supporting brain function. Some foods have been found to have specific benefits for mental health, such as omega-3 fatty acids found in fish and nuts, which have been linked to reduced depression and anxiety symptoms. Avoiding unhealthy foods, such as those high in sugar and processed ingredients, can also help individuals feel better both physically and mentally.

By incorporating these self-care practices into daily life, individuals can gain greater control over their thoughts and emotions, and reduce the risk of suicide.

Mindfulness Techniques for Suicidal Thoughts

Mindfulness techniques can be incredibly effective for managing suicidal thoughts. When you’re struggling with intense emotions, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and trapped by negative thoughts. Mindfulness helps you to stay present in the moment and focus on your immediate surroundings, rather than getting lost in your own head.

One of the simplest mindfulness techniques for suicidal thoughts is breathing exercises. Simply take a few deep breaths, focusing on the sensation of the air moving in and out of your lungs. As you inhale, imagine you’re filling your body with positive energy and hope. As you exhale, imagine you’re releasing negative energy and tension.

Visualization is another powerful technique for managing suicidal thoughts. Close your eyes and picture yourself in a calm, peaceful place – maybe a beach, a forest, or a quiet room. Imagine all the sounds, smells, and sensations of that place, and let yourself relax into the experience. Visualization can help to ground you in the present moment and give you a sense of control over your thoughts and emotions.

Grounding techniques are also useful for managing suicidal thoughts. These techniques involve using your senses to connect with your environment and bring you back to the present moment. For example, you might focus on the feeling of your feet on the ground, the sound of birds outside, or the taste of a piece of fruit. Grounding can help to reduce the intensity of overwhelming emotions and provide a sense of stability and safety.

Overall, mindfulness techniques can be a valuable tool for managing suicidal thoughts. By staying present and grounded in the moment, you can reduce the impact of negative thoughts and emotions and maintain a sense of hope and resilience.

Distraction Techniques for Suicidal Thoughts

Distraction techniques can be a valuable tool for managing and coping with suicidal thoughts. Engaging in hobbies, journaling, and spending time with loved ones are all effective ways to redirect your focus away from negative thoughts and emotions.

Hobbies offer a great way to distract yourself from suicidal thoughts and engage in something you enjoy. Whether it’s painting, playing an instrument, or working on a puzzle, engaging in a hobby can help you shift your focus and find some much-needed relief from distressing thoughts.

Journaling is another powerful tool for managing suicidal thoughts. Writing down your thoughts and feelings can help you process them in a healthy way, gaining insight and perspective into what’s troubling you. You might also find that journaling provides a sense of release and catharsis, reducing anxiety and depression.

Spending time with loved ones can also be a powerful distraction technique. Being around people who care about you can remind you of your value and worth, and can provide support and comfort during difficult times. Whether it’s going out to dinner, taking a walk, or simply talking on the phone, spending time with friends and family can help you feel connected and supported.

Overall, distraction techniques can be an effective way to manage suicidal thoughts. By engaging in hobbies, journaling, and spending time with loved ones, you can reduce distressing thoughts and emotions, and begin to move towards healing and recovery.

Helping Someone with Suicidal Thoughts

What to Say to Someone with Suicidal Thoughts

When you’re talking to someone with suicidal thoughts, it’s important to approach the conversation with care and sensitivity. One of the most crucial ways to do this is through active listening. This means giving your full attention to the person speaking, asking open-ended questions, and avoiding judgment or interruption.

Empathy is another key component of supporting someone with suicidal thoughts. It involves understanding and sharing their feelings, without necessarily agreeing or trying to fix the problem. Empathy can help the person feel heard and validated, which can be incredibly powerful in reducing their distress.

Validation is also critical when talking to someone with suicidal thoughts. It means acknowledging and accepting their feelings and experiences, even if you don’t personally relate to them. Validating someone’s emotions can help them feel understood and accepted, which can help them to feel less alone and more hopeful.

Here are some examples of validating statements you could make:

  • “It sounds like you’re going through a really tough time right now.”
  • “I can see why you might feel that way given everything you’ve been through.”
  • “Your feelings are valid and understandable, even if they feel overwhelming right now.”

Remember, talking to someone with suicidal thoughts can be challenging, but it’s vital to let them know that they’re not alone and that there is hope for healing. By practicing active listening, empathy, and validation, you can provide much-needed support and comfort to someone who may be struggling.

Encouraging Your Loved One to Seek Professional Help

Encouraging a loved one to seek professional help for their suicidal thoughts can be a challenging but necessary step in helping them get the support they need. It’s important to approach the topic with empathy and understanding, while also emphasizing the importance of seeking professional care.

One option for professional help is therapy. Therapists can provide a safe and supportive environment for your loved one to express their feelings, identify triggers for their suicidal thoughts, and learn coping strategies to manage them. Therapy can also address any underlying mental health conditions contributing to the suicidal thoughts.

In some cases, medication may also be recommended as part of a comprehensive treatment plan. Medications such as antidepressants or anti-anxiety medications can help alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety, which can reduce the intensity and frequency of suicidal thoughts.

Another important aspect of encouraging your loved one to seek professional help is creating a suicide prevention plan. This plan should include steps your loved one can take if they experience suicidal thoughts, such as contacting a crisis helpline or reaching out to a trusted friend or family member for support. It should also include information on how to access emergency services if needed.

It’s important to emphasize to your loved one that seeking professional help is not a sign of weakness, but rather a courageous step towards healing and recovery. Encourage them to be open and honest with their healthcare provider, and to actively participate in their treatment plan.

Remember, supporting a loved one through suicidal thoughts can be emotionally draining and challenging. Don’t hesitate to seek support for yourself as well, whether it be through therapy, support groups, or reaching out to friends and family members for help. Together, you can create a strong support system for your loved one and work towards a brighter future.
The journey to stop suicidal thoughts is a difficult one, but it is not one that you have to face alone. Understanding the risk factors and warning signs of suicide can help you or your loved ones get the support needed to manage these thoughts effectively. Seeking professional help from therapy, counseling, or support groups can also be invaluable in developing coping strategies. With a focus on self-care practices, mindfulness techniques, and distraction exercises, anyone struggling with suicidal thoughts can find ways to manage their symptoms and prevent self-harm. Remember, you are not your thoughts, and there is always hope for healing. By reaching out for help and support, you can take control of your mental health and live a life free of suicidal thoughts.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button