It is common for people experiencing emotional distress to have thoughts of harming themselves or that they would be better off dead. If you are feeling concerned about your safety, it’s important that you tell someone – you don’t need to struggle alone. Please do speak with your VitaMinds practitioner, course facilitator or make an appointment with your GP.

During your assessment and treatment with our service you will be asked regularly about your safety and also be asked to complete a questionnaire (PHQ9) prior to each appointment. If you have scored 1 or more on question 9 of the questionnaire, this may indicate that you need more support.

We have a duty of care to keep people safe. This is a duty we share with patients and GPs. To share this duty, it is important that we keep GPs updated. Therefore, we inform GPs where we have concerns about a patient’s safety.

You are not a bad person, weak, or flawed because you feel suicidal, experience suicidal thoughts or thoughts of being better off dead. It doesn’t even mean that you really want to die – it only means that you have more pain than you can cope with right now.

 

Are feelings of suicide common?

Most people at some point in their lives will have a suicidal thought but for the majority this will be a fleeting or at least short-lived experience.

When do suicidal thoughts become problematic?

Thoughts of suicide should always be taken seriously but if these thoughts are persistent, occur frequently, are strong and for the individual there appears to be no alternative, then immediate action should be taken to get support and help.

You have made the first step by telling your doctor or a health professional. They will have discussed treatments and options with you. If you have been given antidepressants, remember that they take two or three weeks to start working, and then work gradually.

Please use any self-help information your practitioner has provided you with

Try and tell your friends and family, who will support you by spending time with you. Talking to a family member or a friend or a colleague can bring huge relief

Try to avoid long periods of time on your own, especially if you just sit and dwell on things

Plan your day and set small, easy to achieve tasks. This will keep you occupied and give a sense of achievement

You must try and eat, at best little and often, and try to drink up to two litres of water each day

Avoid alcohol and non-prescription drugs

Get someone to help you clear out old medicines and anything harmful when you find yourself dwelling on this

Try to distract yourself by phoning a friend, going out, reading a magazine, etc

Exercise can make you feel better, at least 30 mins a day

Just try and be kind to yourself. It will pass, don’t be afraid of how you feel, try and be brave and keep safe

Samaritans: To speak to a Samaritan volunteer any time of day or night, call 116 123. Calls on this number are automatically sent to the nearest free line, which could be your local branch or another. www.samaritans.org

Mental Heath 24/7 Response Line (NHS): Telephone: 0800 953 1919 (open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year). A dedicated telephone line for anyone who may be worried about their own or someone else’s mental health. The telephone line offers support for adults and children in crisis. If you or your loved one feel unsafe, at risk, or unable to cope without professional advice, our dedicated staff will ensure that you are directed to the team best able to meet your needs. This helpline is run by Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust.

Vita Health Group 24/7 helpline: For immediate emotional and practical support, call 0800 0126549. A 24/7 confidential helpline staffed by experienced counsellors, who you can talk to and they will listen. They will offer emotional support and can connect you to organisations in your local area. If English isn’t your first language they can arrange for a translator to support your call.

Childline: For children and young people under 19. Call 0800 1111 – the number will not show up on your phone bill.

Out of hours GP services: available across Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire by calling 111 and are open 6:30pm to 8am Monday to Friday and 24 hours a day at weekends and Bank Holidays.

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