Health Mental health Suicidal thoughts First up, before you scroll down... If you are thinking about ending your life or acting on thoughts of suicide please call 999 (or 112 if you live outside of the UK) immediately and ask for an ambulance. There will be no judgement, only people who want to help you. If you don't need immediate attention head straight to any A&E department at your local hospital and tell them that you feel like you are close to harming yourself and need some assistance. Again, they will not judge you. You will get the support you are looking for. IMPORTANT HELPLINES Samaritans are there to listen, not judge, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, via telephone on 116 123 (UK) or 116 123 (ROI). Under 35s can also call Papyrus on 0800 068 41 41 (Mon-Fri: 10am-10pm, weekends: 2pm-10pm). If you want to speak to another LGBTQ+ person, then LGBT Switchboard have a support line you can reach on 0300 330 0630 (10am-10pm every day). The LGBT Foundation also runs a helpline which runs from 9am until 9pm Monday to Friday, and 10am until 6pm Saturday. Reach them on 0345 3 30 30 30. “Being LGBTQ+ I thought I couldn't be happy. But after talking with peers and getting some counselling I found that I can happy being me.“ Now let's talk about suicide. It sounds scary, but there's no need to be frightened by talking about suicidal thoughts. Many LGBTQ+ people think about taking their life at some point, even if they’ve never made any solid plans. It’s not uncommon, and if you're here reading this, or thinking about talking to someone, then well done! It's a great first step. But what are suicidal thoughts? Well, they can range from short-lived daydreams, to a stronger, more serious preoccupation with taking one’s own life. There isn't a set way to think about it, and these thoughts come in all shapes and sizes. Whatever the situation may be, it’s important to talk to someone else about how you’re feeling. The vast majority of people who consider suicide, or attempt suicide, find that in time their feelings fade and they no longer wish to take their own life. If you’re LGBTQ+, you’re at higher risk of experiencing suicidal thoughts, especially if you’re also trans, or BME. But help, and people who understand, are out there. Does this mean I want to kill myself? Having thoughts about suicide doesn’t necessarily mean that you intend to take your own life. It is, however, a definite sign that something is troubling you. What’s most important is to talk to someone about your feelings, so you can access the appropriate help, and begin to explore why you feel this way. Speaking of which, why do I feel this way? Suicidal thoughts can feel pretty overwhelming. They also sometimes come hand-in-hand with other mental distress like anxiety or depression, making it feel even scarier. Everyone is different, and it’s impossible to pinpoint a single reason why someone experiences suicidal thoughts. Most of the time, it’s lots of different factors combined, and the person in question is struggling to cope. Whatever the underlying causes, it’s possible to find help, and feel better again. The first step on this journey is talking to other people, and keeping yourself safe. Things you can do to help right now If you’re experiencing intense thoughts of suicide, there are some things you can do to keep yourself safe: Go to a safe space like a friend’s house, or that of a family member. Talk to a trusted person about how you’re feeling: that could be a teacher, a friend, a lecturer, or a colleague. Let them know you’re concerned for yourself, and talk about how they can assist you in recovering and staying safe. Try and focus on getting through the next moment rather than focusing on the future. Take each day step-by-step. Focus on getting out of bed, then maybe getting dressed, rather than trying to think your way out of your current state. If you can’t do something you enjoy, try and find something distracting to keep you occupied. Avoid drugs and alcohol as these can make your mental state worse, and heighten your suicidal thoughts. What Next? Support In addition to the telephone support above, there are a number of other places you can access support, many of which understand LGBTQ+ people and the issues we face. MindOut, the LGBTQ+ mental health charity operates online chat support service every day. You can find more details here. LGBT Helpline Scotland 0300 123 2523 operates on Tuesday and Wednesday between 12 - 9pm. You can also email them on [email protected] THT Direct, which focuses on sexual health and helping those living with HIV, is on 0808 802 1221 and open from 10am to 8pm Mermaids Helpline for transgender young people is on 0344 334 0550, Monday - Friday, 9am - 9pm. There may also be services local to you which offer face-to-face counselling, crisis support, or can point you in the right direction.