Suicide prevention starts with your feelings. But, it can be difficult to know what to do or how to cope with your thoughts and your feelings. Ask yourself, do I feel
Or you could just be feeling really bad but not know what those bad feelings are. If you’re dealing with suicidal thoughts and are concerned about your well-being and safety, you are not alone. Not only are there others who have had similar feelings and thoughts as you, but there are also many people who can and want to help you.
Call the national suicide hotline to talk to someone who will be able to get you immediate help. Calling the hotline is completely anonymous, and there are always people there who want to help. The phone lines are answered by trained professionals available 24/7; the call is free and confidential.
What can you do to help yourself feel better?
If you’re feeling emotional pain, it can be difficult to believe that you’ll ever feel better. Please know that along with support from family, friends, and others in your life, there are some coping mechanisms to help you get through each day. Take each moment one at a time, and keep in mind that your moods and feelings have changed before, so change can and will happen again.
Use coping statements. What is a coping statement? According to “Coping Statements for Suicidal Thoughts” written by Stacey Freedenthal, “ a coping statement is whatever you can tell yourself that will help you to pass safely through the minefield of suicidal thoughts.”1Here are some example coping statements:
“This will pass .”
“That is the depression talking, not me.”
“I will get through this.”
“I don’t really want to die. I just want the pain to end.”
“My suicidal thoughts are not rational.”
“Suicidal thoughts are a symptom, not a solution.”
The hopelessness that comes with feeling suicidal is only as powerful as the amount of energy you give those thoughts. There is an old Native American proverb about 2 wolves – one evil and one good – and whichever one you feed, wins. The ideology behind the proverb can be applied to thoughts of suicide and to thoughts of living. One wolf represents life and the other represents suicide; which one wins? The one you feed into. Coping statements can help you feed the right one. The main point behind coping statements is to not give up and to feed the right wolf.
If the example coping statements don’t feel right for you, ask yourself what you would really like for someone to tell you right now, or think about what you would tell someone who was feeling suicidal for the same reasons you do. Answering those questions can help you to create your own personalized coping statements.
Distract yourself with things that provide you comfort. You could even make yourself a distraction box that holds things that make you feel good. Put anything you’d like in that reminds you of the good things in your life. For example, you can put books, photos, music, childhood toys, your favorite shirt, or letters into your box. Take time to focus on these special things you put aside just for yourself and reflect on why they bring you joy or comfort.
Write down your feelings. If you write down your feelings in a journal or diary, it may become easier to understand what you’re feeling or thinking and why.
However, if you don’t want to write about your feelings, consider writing positive things in your life that you are looking forward to, no matter how small they may seem. Even if it’s just your favorite meal or catching up on your favorite TV show, write that down.
Write down something you think you may enjoy tomorrow or in the near future. Do you love the rain, and is it supposed to rain tomorrow? Write that down; it’s something to look forward to that you enjoy. Along with the possibility of keeping a journal to write down your feelings or things you’re looking forward to, consider keeping a gratitude journal.
A gratitude journal is a journal in which you write down things you’re grateful for. Think about the past few days – what has put a smile on your face or in your heart? Maybe it’s a friend who invited you out for lunch, or maybe it’s having opportunities to take your dog out for a walk on a beautiful day, or maybe you found a dollar in your jacket pocket that you didn’t know was there. Anything at all you’re grateful for, write it down. You may be surprised how that list of gratitude builds up quickly and highlights all the great things in your life you may not have fully noticed if you hadn’t written it down.
The positive effect that comes from simply writing something down can make a significant impact on.
Draw your feelings. Sometimes it’s hard to express yourself in words, so drawing can be a great alternative. Keep a sketch book and think of this as your safe space where there is absolutely no judgment. Draw what’s in your heart and definitely don’t censor yourself. Creativity through art can be very healing and powerful because it allows you to express yourself and to get in touch with your feelings. Drawing can help you recognize your emotions and reduce some of the stress they carry; it can be very therapeutic and calming.
If you’re not comfortable with drawing, consider creating a collage board, where you cut out pictures and words from magazines and post them to poster board or even just to a piece of paper. Find images and words that resonate with you, and you’ll create an amazing piece of art that is reflective of what you feel, which can have a positive, healing, and powerful impact on you.
Be kind to yourself. Think about what you can do for yourself that brings you joy.
Is it wrapping yourself up in a blanket, drinking hot chocolate and watching your favorite film? Do that.
Is it taking a hot bath filled with bath salts? Do that.
Maybe you enjoy going for a run or doing some other physical activity, which is good for your body and mind. If so, do that.
And talk to yourself as if you were talking to a friend. What nice things might you say to a friend? It might sound silly, but say those things to yourself.
Be kind to yourself, whether that’s in actions or in words. Doing this every day you’ll begin to see a change in your thoughts and feelings for the better.
If you’re reading this, we want you to know how happy we are that you are here. We believe each of us in this world has a unique purpose to fulfill and no one can fulfill someone else’s. You are a gift to this world and we want you to keep shining your light.
We believe we are all in this together – if one of us is hurting, it is up to each of us to be there for one another. We know how powerful and life changing it can be to have the support of even one person in your corner, and we want you to know our entire community supports you. We are here for you.
We invite you to take a moment to listen to some stories of others who have overcome adversity.
Their stories help to show that you are not alone. You have the inner strength to move through whatever struggle you may be experiencing. We believe in you!
Suicide is a difficult thing to talk about. It’s a very sensitive topic that often falls into a category of unspoken topics. People are under the impression that by talking about suicide, it may cause someone to think about suicide and ultimately end up acting on the thought. However, what people don’t realize is that if someone is at the point where they are already having suicidal thoughts, they won’t be giving them the idea because it’s already there. So how can you help prevent suicide?
First, know the facts; suicide is the second overall leading cause of death for youth between the ages of 12 and 24. It can be a difficult thing to talk about as topics related to mental health are often stigmatized. However, talking about suicide can lead to a decreased number of suicide attempts.
Secondly, it’s important to keep in mind that just because a person has mentioned suicide, it doesn’t mean they are thinking of ending their life. Talk of suicide can just be a person struggling to find another solution to their current situation.
There are several difficult life circumstances that can increase suicidal thoughts, which include the following:
Teens and youth that are dealing with suicidal thoughts are, on average, not likely to talk about it with others. However, there could be clear warning signs you should be aware of.
If you know someone who has or is displaying the above behaviors or if you are concerned that someone may be heading in that direction, there are ways you can help them.
Providing effective support is often overlooked, and when asked if people support their loved ones or friends, the answer is generally “of course we do.”
But in many cases, we think we are supporting people just by being around them and that if they need to talk, we are there. Often times, though, people who are in dire need of help don’t talk about it with anyone. They start to feel like they aren’t worth someone’s time, so they simply stay quiet. You need to show and tell them that they are worth your time. It’s okay if you feel uncomfortable talking to them about their feelings.
The point is that you really are there for them and they know you care.
Doing so can make a huge difference in a world where they think nobody cares.
Suicide Hotline – If you or someone you care about is in crisis and needs immediate help, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
The phone lines are answered by trained professionals available 24/7; the call is free and confidential. If emergency medical care is needed, call 9-1-1 or go to the emergency room of the nearest hospital.