5-minute read

How Can I Cope with Suicidal Thoughts?

The pain that you are experiencing can be overwhelming. Some days, it may even seem like it will not ever go away. It can be a struggle to get out from underneath this weight of despair and meaninglessness. But it does not have to be this way. No matter what you are going through now, there is hope.

The following article contains information that may trigger strong emotions in some people. If you have suicidal thoughts or behaviours, please contact one of these organisations in your country here

Suicidal thoughts can be daunting, confusing and isolating. Very often, having these thoughts are the result of experiencing more pain than you can cope with. It does not mean that you are weak or flawed in any way. Don’t let fear, shame or embarrassment prevent you from getting help. Some of the most successful and gifted people have also experienced the same feelings and thoughts as you have. Emotions are not permanent, they are changing all the time. How you feel today may be different from how you will feel tomorrow. You can take steps to improve your mental health. 

Here are some techniques that you can use to deal with the feelings and thoughts of suicide and help you overcome the pain.

1.     Leave the place of danger

The first and most important thing to do is to move away from the place or situation where you can potentially act on the suicidal thoughts. Make your home safe by asking someone you trust to remove the dangerous items (knives, ropes, etc) that you can use to harm yourself. Give your medication to someone who will pass them to you at the right time.

Go to a safe location like your home, a friend’s house, hospital, or places of worship where you can be calm and call someone. 

2.     Shift your focus with a distraction

When the thoughts of suicide are really intense, it can be hard to focus on anything else. But the destructive thoughts in your head are not who you are. Those are negative thoughts. You are more than that. You have the ability to choose what your mind focuses on.

Try to do something that can distract you from the negative thoughts. It can be watching your favourite happy movie, going for a run, holding ice cubes in your mouth or simply meeting a friend for coffee. Remember that negative thoughts will not persist for long and can go away.  

3.     Breathe

When we are caught in a stressful situation, our anxiety level goes up. The thoughts of suicide can come about because we are looking for relief from the pain that we are experiencing. There are simple breathing exercises that you can do on your own to calm yourself down and bring about a healthy emotional state.

Try releasing your stress with a breathing exercise called “Inflating the Balloon”.

Step 1

Get into a comfortable position, close your eyes.

Step 2

Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth.

Step 3

As you breathe in, imagine that your abdomen is filling up with air like a balloon. As you exhale, imagine that the air is escaping the balloon slowly. With each release of breath, feel the tension leaving your body. Breathe at a pace that is comfortable for you. There is no need to force the air out; it simply escapes on its own, in its own time. With each deep, long breath, trying to imagine a balloon in your favourite colour rising higher and higher into the sky.

When we are stressed, our bodies tend to take quick, shallow breaths. Visualisation can help you to breathe deeply from your diaphragm and relax.

4.     Stay away from alcohol and drugs

Certain substances like alcohol and drugs can diminish your judgment and ability for self-control. Avoid them as they may cause you to act on suicidal thoughts.

While taking certain illegal drugs are seen by some people as a way to escape from stress, it is only temporary and can potentially cause more problems, like getting into trouble with the law. Once the effects of these illicit substances wear off, you may feel worse. They can also add to the negative thoughts by causing paranoia and hallucination. The best way to cope with stress and thoughts of suicide is to seek professional help from trained professionals like therapists and counsellors.

5.     Reach out to someone who cares

Sometimes when people are depressed or feeling overwhelmed, they may want to withdraw from others. Being alone when you have thoughts of suicide is not helpful. There are people who value and care about you. Call someone you trust and talk to them about what you are going through. It may feel awkward at first but it is important to reach out to keep yourself safe. This is an opportunity to bring in people who are concerned about you to be part of your journey of renewal and restoration. They may also have solutions that you may not have thought of. Therapists and counsellors can also help you to overcome self-defeating thoughts.

These organisations in your country want to support you during this challenging time.

This article has been prepared in collaboration with Samaritans of Singapore. For more information, please visit the following:

Samaritans of Singapore

Get Help

Institute of Mental Health (Singapore) 

Verywell Mind: What is Suicide Ideation?

Resources Directory

Suicide Prevention Resources





SOS (Samaritans of Singapore)

Samaritans of Singapore runs a confidential 24/7 hotline to support those in a crisis and who are thinking about or affected by suicide.

Call: 1800 2214444/1767 (24 hours)

Email: [email protected]

SOS Messenger: SOS Care Text

Institute of Mental Health

IMH has a 24/7 helpline for those experiencing a mental health crisis.

Call: 6389 2222 (24 hours)


Run by Touch Community Services, Touchline offers counselling support for youths.

Call: 1800 3772252 (Weekdays, 9am to 6pm)






Befrienders is a non-religious, multi-ethnic non-profit organisation that offers free emotional support for those in distress, in despair and having suicidal thoughts through its 24/7 helpline.


KL: 03-7956 8145 (24 hours)

Ipoh: 05-547 7933 (4pm to 11pm)

Penang: 04-281 5161 (3pm to midnight)

Email: [email protected] 

LifeLine Association Malaysia

Lifeline has Mandarin counselling services for those in crisis.

Call: 016-7201495/011-31571495 (Weekdays, 10am to 12pm, 2pm to 4pm, 6pm to 10pm; Saturdays 2pm to 5pm)

Call: 016-6131495 (Weekdays, 8pm – 10pm)

Social Media: Facebook, Instagram, Telegram, Wechat @lifeline7995.

Malaysian Mental Health Association (MMHA)

MMHA is a non-profit organisation with professional counselling services and support groups for caregivers.

Call: 03-2780 6803 (Weekdays, 9am to 5pm)

E-Mail: [email protected]





Hopeline PH by the Natasha Goulbourn Foundation

Hopeline provides a countrywide helpline for suicide prevention and crisis support.

Call: (24 hours)

PLDT: (02) 804-4673 

Globe: (0917) 558-4673

Toll-free for Globe/TM: 2919

In Touch Community Services

In Touch provides 24/7, free and confidential support for those in crisis.

Call (landline): 8937603

Call (mobile phone): 


(24 hours)

Tawag Paglaum – Centro Bisaya

Tawag Paglaum Centro Bisaya is a government-run service by the Department of Health and Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center to provide support for those with suicidal risks and those in need of emotional support.

Call: (0939) 937-5433/(0927) 654-1629 (24 hours)

Social Media: Facebook

Philippine Mental Health Association 

PMHA provides mental health support for this in need.

Call (Viber): 0995-093-2679/0918-402-9832 (Weekdays, 8am to 8pm)

Social Media: Facebook  

Email: [email protected]





Samaritans Mumbai 

Samaritans Mumbai has a helpline that provides emotional support for those who are distressed, depressed, or suicidal.

Call:: 8422984528/29/30 (Daily, 5pm to 8pm) 

Email: [email protected].

Roshini Trust

Roshini Trust provides free and confidential emotional support for those in need.

Counselling Center: 040 66661117 / 66661118

Helpline: +91 8142020044 / +91 8142020033

COOJ Mental Health Foundation

COOJ has a helpline and other intervention services for those with thoughts of suicide.

Call: 0832-2252525 (Weekdays, 1pm to 7pm


Aasra provides care and support for those who are feeling depressed and suicidal.

Call: 9820466726 (24-hour)

Email: [email protected]





Love Inside Suicide Awareness Helpline Bali

Run by trained volunteers, LISA is Bali’s first free helpline dedicated to suicide prevention.


Into the LightBeing an advocate for suicide awareness in Indonesia, Into the Light does not offer any counselling services. Its website does have useful information on suicide prevention and other resources in Bahasa Indonesia. 

Sehat Jiwa

Developed by the Ministry of Health, Sehat Jiwa is an app and online platform that offers information on mental health and the nearest places that people can go to for help.


Psychological Services for Mental Health (Sejiwa)

This is a helpline to serve those who are experiencing mental issues and stress due to Covid. It is run by volunteers from Indonesia Psychology Association.

Call: 119 (National Covid Helpline)

Illustrator: Xiao Yan




Ivan Tan

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