In Crisis? These 12 Actions Can Help

Sometimes our depression may lead us to struggle with suicidal thoughts and feelings.  Feeling suicidal is horrible. It can be incredibly hard to deal with and can lead us feeling very isolated. We don’t know how to carry on.

However dark things seem, we need to hang on in there. We are never alone. There are things we can do to help.

In Crisis These 12 Actions Can Help

1. Be Aware Of Triggers

Sometimes there are specific things which can trigger our suicidal thoughts. It’s helpful to be aware of these triggers. Being aware of them means that we can put things in place to keep ourselves safe when these triggers appear. We don’t necessarily need to avoid our triggers – we need to learn how to cope with them. But it is helpful to think of some coping strategies to manage our triggers before they occur.

2. Create A Crisis Plan

Before we reach the point where we are in crisis, it can be helpful to create a crisis plan. This can include signs that things are slipping, and a clear plan of what to do if we are suicidal. It might include things that help, things that make things worse, and a plan for getting more support if we need it.

3. Make A Safe Place

It’s unlikely that we will be able to remove every single item that we could hurt ourselves with from our house or flat. But we could make one room safe. We could take anything out of the room that we could harm ourselves with. We could then pop things into the room that we know can help us or soothe us. This could include blankets, certain lights, or things that we use as distractions – maybe in a distress tolerance box. If we don’t feel safe enough to do this alone, we could ask someone to give us a hand.

4. Delay It

If we keep ourselves safe for five minutes, it doesn’t remove the option of suicide. The option will always be there. We can delay it for five minutes, and do something different. Once those five minutes are up, we can decide to delay it for another five minutes. We can keep repeating that until we feel safe.

5. Focus On Our Breathing

Breathe in for a count of three and out for five. Always try to breathe out for longer than we breathe in. It can help to reduce anxiety levels, slow everything down, and make life feel a little calmer. If we are struggling to regulate our breathing ourselves, we could try using an app such as headspace.

6. Focus On Each Sense

It’s important to try and ground ourselves. Focusing on our senses can help us to get back in the moment. We can try and think of five things we can see, five we can hear, five we can touch, five we can taste, and five we can smell.

It might be that some senses work better for us than others. We can use this to our advantage. For example, if touch helps, us we could keep ice packs in the fridge or have a few differently textured blankets. If sight works particularly well for us we could try to find one thing we can see for each letter of the alphabet. If smell works well we could use essential oils or diffusers.

7. List 30 Reasons Why

List 30 reasons to live until tomorrow. Once we’ve done that, list 30 more. It doesn’t matter how silly or bizarre they are. Often the funnier, sillier, and odder, the better.

8. Distraction Techniques

There are lots of different ways we can distract ourselves. We could watch films, be creative, go on a walk, or something else. Different distractions will work for different people. At a time when we’re feeling okay, it can be helpful to write a list of distractions that help us. That way, it’s easily accessible at times when we’re struggling.


9. Start a new TV series

Pick a TV series on YouTube or Netflix. Preferably one with a couple of seasons. Once we’ve picked a new series, we have to stick around to see what happens.

10. Use Medication Appropriately

Sometimes, our GP or mental health team will prescribe us a medication that we can use at times of distress. At times we might struggle to take it. But using medication appropriately is the right thing to do in times of crisis. We are prescribed these medications for a reason.

11. Tell Someone

However dark the world seems, however isolated we feel, we are never alone. There are always people that we can talk to. We could speak to an understanding friend or family member. There are helplines we can ring. We can go to A&E or ring 999. There is always someone that we can speak to. We don’t need to face this alone.

12. Be Kind To Yourself

It’s so hard dealing with suicidal thoughts.  We’re distressed, exhausted, and completely wrung out. It seems easier to give in to depression’s lies.

As brutal as our feelings might be, they can and will pass. We need to hang on in there. We need to try and up our self care game, be kind to ourselves, and look after ourselves as best we can. Most of all, we need to get help. We don’t deserve these thoughts and feelings. We don’t deserve the pain.  Suffering alone is not the answer. We need and deserve help.


  • Sane Charity provide crisis support between 4.30pm and 10.30pm 365 days a year on 0300 304 7000.
  • The Samaritans provide 24 hour confidential emotional support. It is also free to call them and their number won’t appear on your telephone bill 116 123.
  • If you can’t talk, IMAlive offer an online crisis intervention service.
  • If don’t feel safe and are worried about an immediate risk of harm, please call 999 and ask for the police or ambulance service.

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