Life during the pandemic
Read about the challenges, hopes and coping strategies of people who've felt suicidal or self-harmed since the Covid-19 pandemic began.
Through this research project, we spoke to 15 people in interviews and written responses.
Everyone who took part had experienced suicidal thoughts, had self-harmed or attempted suicide in the year since pandemic restrictions began.
The findings show what life has been like for people with suicidal thoughts or self-harm, including people's coping strategies and hopes for the future.
Mental health support was felt to be inaccessible which led to an increased reliance on medication, self-care and reaching out to others. Some who had previously experienced mental health problems or feeling suicidal felt they had more resilience as they could rely on their pre-existing ‘toolkit’ of coping mechanisms to support themselves.
People spoke about finding no enjoyment in life, feeling hopeless and trapped physically and emotionally. Some people experienced an increase in frequency and intensity of suicidal thoughts during the pandemic. However, as well as finding new ways of coping and building resilience, people spoke of how the pandemic had been a prompt to re-evaluate their life in a positive way.
People spoke to us about their physical health being deprioritised and deteroriating due to lack of exercise. Some people experienced an intense fear of catching coronavirus, and others spoke to us about the isolation of shielding due to physical health conditions.
Family, friends and relationships
Restrictions caused intense loneliness for many we spoke to, with some speaking of the challenges of losing support from key friends or family who usually boost their mental health or help them manage their suicidal thoughts. There was an increased appreciation for the importance of relationships, and positives in spending more time with family within the household.
Work and finances
Many struggled with a heavy workload and poor work-life balance, leading to feelings of guilt and being overwhelmed, and challenges making time for self-care. Others spoke about the impact on their self-worth of being furloughed or searching for a job, which was amplified by money worries.