Sometimes, when you are facing difficult times, it can seem as if everything is hopeless. And when your parents are splitting up, it may feel like this is one of those times.

But it is really important to remember that everybody has things in their life that don’t go as planned.

That doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt or that it isn’t a very difficult situation. It’s just that highs and lows are a natural part of everyone’s lives. Read our article on Sadness and depression for more information.

When things are really bad, you might feel that you will never be happy again. With support, though, most young people who experience these feelings overcome them to lead happy lives.

For some people, though, thoughts can become very dark and suicidal.

What does it feel like?

A person who’s having suicidal thoughts may have one or more of the following feelings:

  • Everything is desperate and they feel they are left with no other choice
  • Everyone would be better off without them around
  • It’s all hopeless and they can’t go on
  • They are overwhelmed by negative thought patterns
  • They are unwanted and alone.

They may also show one or more of the following signs:

  • Regular expressions of worthlessness, helplessness, sadness or loneliness
  • Drastic changes in habits, friends, or appearance. That could be new friends, skipping school, dropping out of favourite activities, or no longer caring about appearance or cleanliness
  • Changes in weight, sleeping habits, and physical activity
  • Withdrawing from friends, family, or activities that once made them happy
  • Talking about being dead or wishing they were dead
  • Talking about how others would be happier if they were dead or how much better off others will be when they are gone
  • Repeatedly engaging in very risky or dangerous thrill-seeking behaviour
  • “Getting their house in order” – that is, making plans for the care of loved siblings, parents, relatives or pets and giving away cherished belongings to close friends
  • Extreme mood swings – for example, very depressed episodes followed by happy episodes with no clear reason for the change
  • A previous suicide attempt, even if it seemed staged or designed to get attention, or mention of past or secret suicide attempts.

What can I do?

If this sounds like you or someone you know, it is important to get professional help as soon as possible. Talking to someone is the first step. That could be your doctor (GP) or the local mental health services.

You can also contact HOPELineUK. This is a confidential support service that deals especially with young people who are having thoughts of suicide. You can call them on 0800 068 4141 or text on 07786 209 697. HOPELineUK is open 10am-10pm weekdays, 2pm-10pm weekends and bank holidays.

Alternatively, you could pick up a phone or go online and talk to a counsellor at Childline.  Childline is not just for young children and it is always open. Calls to Childline (0800 1111) are free and confidential and a trained counsellor will talk with you about your feelings.

Or you can call The Samaritans on 116 123. This 24-hour service is free and confidential. However upset you feel, the person at the other end will be ready to listen and help.

You may also find it helpful to:

  • Try not to think about the future – just focus on getting through today
  • Stay away from drugs and alcohol
  • Get yourself to a safe place, like a friend’s house
  • Be around other people
  • Do something you usually enjoy, such as spending time with a pet.