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How to talk about thoughts of self-harm and maybe death

Community Member

Hey, first I am safe right now. I am not thinking of things right now, and whenever I have thought about it I haven't gotten close to doing things, I'm able to take a step back and stuff. I could be in a better spot but that's the idea.

So, I have a GP appointment coming up and I know what things I need to say. Namely that I am thinking the things I am, and it's affecting my ability to look after myself, paticularly taking far too much effort to eat food. But the conversation scares me, I had to talk myself out of cancelling yesterday. Doesn't help that I'm so low energy and my GP isn't exactly local. She's a great GP though, I couldn't have imagined telling any of my prior GPs I was feeling this way, and I have seen more than a few gps in these 20ish years. So I shouldn't go to a new one just to not have to deal with a long commute. But yes, I have no idea how to talk to such a supportive GP about this. How do I say things, how am I framing them?

Most google results are how to talk to someone you think is suicidal, not what to do as the suicidal person so I guess I was just hoping for some perspective. Ultimately, if I don't know what I'm doing I can go to my GP and say "hey I don't know how to say this but I'm struggling to eat or see a future". I'm framing this as a question but ig im just hoping someone's able to share their perspective and that might help with nerves.

Also I tried to talk to a friend about this and, well I did everything I could without saying it to check they could have that conversation. But once they knew what it was about they weren't able to be there for me. And, I can accept that I'm just worried about them. I can imagine they don't feel great about having to say "sorry I can't do this" and.. yeah. If anyone has any thoughts on that too. If I can do anything for them.

31 Replies 31

Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor
I'm hoping you realise that the GP won't be able to 'treat' you or necessarily have any answers in support. However you put it is fine, but you simply just need to request a referral to a psychologist and it should be done.

Yeah I am aware of the difference between a GP and a psychologist. I already have a mental care plan even.


Hi CaramelCrisp

Thanks for confirming your safety, this is really important to us. We acknowledge that it can take a lot of strength to manage thoughts around self-harm/suicide. We hope the community can support you in moving into a better headspace. It sounds like your GP is super supportive which is great and we think you shared some helpful insights here as to how you’re currently feeling.

Community members have previously shared that they’ve printed out their forum post and brought it to their session with their GP to help get the conversation started. Maybe this would be an option for you?

 In the meantime, you may wish to access the following resources that can support you with preparing for a session with your health professional:

I know I need support, but how do I ask for it?
Questions to ask your health professional

Your GP may also talk about creating a safety plan. To prepare for this, you may wish to have a look at the Beyond Now suicide safety planning app.

We hope the above resources provide some different perspectives on how to start often what are challenging conversations. Keep checking in to let us know how you’re going.

Community Champion
Community Champion

Hello Dear CaramelCrisp,

I can relate to how it is to talk to your GP about your thoughts and how that makes it hard for your own self care...I struggled when I was first referred to my GP about how to disclose my unhealthy thoughts....

It really is hard...I am wondering if you would be comfortable with showing your GO..the post you have just written on here...you could if you had means to print out your post and hand it to her, explaining that you needed to reach out for help because you are unsure of how to open up to her....another way, would be to write her a letter on a piece of paper and hand it to her, saying this is how I’ve been feeling, but it’s too hard for me to voice them to you...

Most GP have some experience in mental health and are very understanding about how hard it is to reach out for the help you need...and they do really want to help us....

Not sure if I have helped you...Please try hard to care for yourself...My Dr once said to me..that unless I’m totally honest about my thoughts and how I’m feeling...that she cannot help me to the best of her abilities because she cannot read my mind....I do hope so much..that you can open up to your GP.

Here if you want to talk ...

My kindest thoughts and care Dear CaramelCrisp..


Community Member

Thank you both, I truly appreciate it. I think I might have some words written that are worth bringing, that's a good idea. Could show this post too like you say Grandy. Reminds me of this one time, I can't remember why but I ended up crying so much I couldn't talk, and then I did have people with me. Literally in the room with me in that case. And eventually I would write down what I wanted to say on my phone for them to see.Its a really nice memory actually.

You have helped me Grandy. I'll try my best to be open with them, those words you share are quite true. As scary as it is to be that open, as scary as that is.

Quite emotional reading through your words actually, and that "I know I need help page" which is resonating with me, but I'll come back to this later and hopefully start to figure out more stuff. Just let the tears and emotions exist for now. And I'll be sure to keep checking in with you,

Thank you both again, CaramelCrisp

Hello CaramelCrisp, doctors do wonder why people they may know keep cancelling an appointment, they have been trained to cope in any situation and can read faces, especially when they have seen you before, that's an experience they have learnt over many years, and once you start talking to them and hesitate, then they gather numerous questions in their mind they want to ask you, until bingo they hit the jackpot without you needing to say much at all.

Your reaction will clarify what they're after and remember they are always our backstop, someone we can always fall back to, and reaccess our situation.


Community Member

Thanks Geoff

As long as I manage to keep this one I haven't actually cancelled any appointments, but it helps to be reminded they have experience in this kind of thing. Less a thing I'm doing on my own I suppose


Feeling really lonely today. I guess I just want to write that out, I don't think there's anymore I can do in trying to see people and being understanding that they have their lives too. Just, while I'm writing here anyway. I wish plans worked out, and I miss all those people I used to see all the time and can't now. Wish I could feel more comfortable in potential new friendships, as oppose to entering an extremely confused panic just before we met up last week

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hi CaramelCrisp,

I'm sorry you are feeling this way I understand its difficult.

I understand that when we have these types of thoughts they can really knock us around.

I also experienced horrible intrusive thoughts when I was going through severe anxiety they really scared me.

I found it hard at first to speak to the health professionals about the type of thoughts I was having, but once I could disclose to them the type of thoughts I was having they were able to help me.

I've now recovered from what I was going through and the thoughts have lifted.

When I was in the heights of my condition I couldn't eat properly and do the day to day things I could usually do..... at the time i had too much going on inside my mind to think about doing daily tasks.

I know its scary thinking about the conversation you are going to have but once you have this conversation the professsionals will be able to help you.

Your GP sounds great just be open with your GP so your GP can help you.

Thanks for the supportive words, Petal. I'm glad you were eventually able to speak to health professionals who helped you be where you are now

Your mention of not eating properly and day-to-day being off resonates where I am right now. Its so much, and I'm tired. But yeah, once I have this conversation professionals can help me

Thanks again