Suicide Awareness

When suicide crosses your mind: here’s what to do if you’re suicidal

When suicide crosses your mind: here’s what to do if you’re suicidal

  • Suicide is a global crisis, as it is a leading cause of death worldwide among all ages.
  • If you’re feeling suicidal, your first course of action should be to seek professional help right now; call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline or find a medical/mental health provider to talk to right away.
  • It will also help to open up to trusted loved ones: explain how you’re feeling, and continue to have these conversations with them as needed.
  • Additionally, acknowledge your suicidal thoughts, instead of negating them: it’s important to admit to these feelings, so you can address them properly.
  • Finally, it can help to put together a “grounding” box, which you can turn to for refuge when you start to experience suicidal or negative thoughts/feelings.

Every year, suicide finds a place among the top 20 leading causes of death worldwide and for people of all ages. And each day, mothers, brothers, sisters, daughters, friends are lost because of it. This is a difficult reality to face. For any member of society, but perhaps especially those suffering with their own suicidal thoughts or feelings. If suicide or any form of self-harm is on your mind, please take the following actions, starting with contacting a crisis hotline or medical professional:

1) Get professional help right now.

First and foremost, if you are suicidal, contact a crisis hotline and get professional help. “The most important thing to do if you are having thoughts of harming yourself is to get help,” Emily Mendez, M.S. Ed.S, explains. “The Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24/7. I would recommend contacting the Lifeline. They can connect you with local therapists, crisis centers, or hospitals. If a friend or loved one talks about harming themselves or others, reach out to the Lifeline for help. Never brush it off even if you think that they would not do it.”

2) Open up to your loved ones.

Now, consider opening up to a trusted friend or family member about how you feel. And continue to have these important conversations with them. “If you are suicidal, you should seek out someone to talk to about it. Spend more time with your friends or people that are meaningful to you,” says Katie Leikam, licensed clinical social worker. “Realize that you aren’t alone in feeling this way and there are other options than harming yourself. If you are feeling inclined to self-harm, know that although your pain feels unmanageable, it is possible to manage your pain, and it’s possible to experience emotions without hurting yourself.” Leikam goes on to emphasize the importance of getting professional help: “Reach out to a therapist, or a crisis helpline,” she concludes.

3) Acknowledge your suicidal thoughts.

It’s also helpful to acknowledge your suicidal thoughts as suicidal thoughts, as explained by Licensed Clinical Social Worker Miranda Dennis: “The best thing to do if you are experiencing thoughts of suicide is to acknowledge those things. Most people’s first reaction is to deny the thoughts and say to themselves, ‘I’m not crazy.’ Which only increases your own emotional suffering because along with the denial of the thought comes judgments. Once you have admitted the thoughts, just notice; a thought is a thought, not an action. The best action you can do is to tell someone you trust and then seek professional counseling from a licensed mental health professional. We have too many people suffering in silence all around us in spite of a licensed professional therapist being a call away.”

4) Keep a “grounding” box.

Additionally, consider creating a “grounding” box: a box of things that keep you anchored. “If you’re thinking of intentionally harming yourself, there are strategies that can help you surf the urge to self-harm. When you’re feeling grounded and safe, create a box to hold the things that help you feel safe and secure, that help you manage the distress,” Elizabeth Cush, licensed clinical professional counselor, suggests. “It might include a favorite list of songs that you can pull up on your phone, or maybe have a playlist already made up that you can access easily, a blanket or stuffed animal that provides comfort and warmth, a journal or paper and art supplies—anything that soothes you when you’re feeling down.”

*If you’re experiencing suicidal thoughts or feelings, get off this site and call the National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273-8255. Regardless of the time or day, someone will answer your call and get you the help that you need. You can find a list of other helpful resources here.*

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