Are you feeling suicidal, or thinking that life is not worth living?
Befrienders International has suicide hotlines around the world, with people who can talk to you directly right now. They have counselors who speak many different languages. See their website to find a hotline in your country right now.
If you are in the United States, there are two national suicide hotlines:
The National Suicide Prevention Helpline is available 24 hours a day at
1-800-273-TALK. They are connected with crisis centers around the United States. Your call will be free and confidential.
The National Hopeline provides help over the phone and online.
Call 1-800-442-HOPE or 1-800-SUICIDE. Your call will be free and confidential.
Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning Youth can call The Trevor Project at 866-4-U-TREVOR (866-488-7386)
You can also find treatment centers near you in the United States by using the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Association treatment finder.
If you're not ready to make a call, but you are thinking about suicide, please read this first. And then check out the Reasons to Go on Living Project for some stories that might give you hope.
Things to do right now if you are feeling suicidal:
The best thing to do in this situation is to go to a hospital. If you feel that you can avoid suicide without the hospital, here are some other tactics for survival:
- take your phone and call a friend, if you have a friend you can talk to honestly without holding stuff back; ask them if they can spend time with you because you might not be safe alone
- take your phone and call your therapist if you have one, your psychiatrist, if you have one, or any other health professional you might have such as a case manager
- tell whoever you live with, if it is safe to confide in them about your illness, that you are feeling suicidal and that you need company to be safe
- do not go anywhere alone if you can avoid it, unless you are going to a hospital or a medical professional's office
- take a pen and piece of paper, and write out reasons you would want to live, things that might actually happen that you would want to be alive for, and things you think won't ever happen but which you would like to live to see
- do not write down reasons you want to die; those are already the things you are thinking about and there is no need to write them
- put on soothing music that calms you, or watch TV to distract yourself
- pray if you pray; meditate if you meditate, plant a flower if that suits your fancy; find some way to be mindful; practicing mindfulness helps calm emotions
- take any medication that you have been prescribed as a PRN, or "as-needed" medication which might help you
- take a shower and sing, if that helps you; take a bubble bath and relax, if that helps you
- take a walk, or run; exercise releases endorphins which can combat depression
- if you are tired, sleep
- if you are sleeping too much, don't worry about that until the crisis period has ended
- if you are hungry, eat; if you are not hungry, eat anyway at least three times a day
- drink water and stay hydrated
- do some artwork to release your emotions; this can be as simple as taking markers to a piece of paper, or making a collage of words and pictures cut from magazines that express your mindset
- if you are thinking about slitting your wrists, put a rubberband on your wrist and snap it whenever you have that thought, to get rid of that thought
- view stories of hope and recovery at the Lifeline Gallery
Check out Love Is Louder and It Gets Better and The Trevor Project
According to the World Health Organization, one million people around the globe commit suicide each year. Many others make suicide attempts. In the United States, over 33,300 people commit suicide each year.
Suicide is the 11th leading cause of death in Americans.
Suicide is the second leading cause of death in college students.
Suicide is the third leading cause of death among high school students.
Do not add your name to one of these lists of statistics. Don't downgrade your life to a number on some researcher's charts.
Do you know someone who is suicidal?
If someone you care about may be thinking about suicide, this page from the Stop a Suicide site may be useful: Signs of Suicide as well as this page from the Suicide Prevention Resource Center on Risk and Protective Factors for Suicide. Also the American Association of Suicidology has an easy-to-remember phrase for signs of suicide.
According to the American Medical Association, 90% of suicides occur when someone is in a depressive episode. Major Depression, Bipolar Disorder, Schizoaffective Disorder, and other forms of depression frequently lead people to believe life is not worth living. Here are some warning signs of Major Depression from SAVE: Suicide Prevention Awareness Voices of Education.
When people are experiencing delusions, hallucinations, and other forms of psychosis, as in, for example, Schizophrenia, or Schizoaffective Disorder, they need not be suffering from depression to think of suicide or be at risk for suicide. When you hear voices telling you to kill yourself, or harm yourself in some other way, you may end up doing so regardless of whether or not you truly feel that you want to die. You may be told that you are meant to die, that you have to die, that you are going to die, repeatedly by the voices you hear, therefore, it is important to note here that not all people who commit suicide are suffering from depression. Some are psychotic, and not necessarily depressed.
ReThink lists some early warning signs of psychosis on its website. By nature, most people who become psychotic do not know that they are psychotic. They may need outside intervention to prevent them from suicide. Here is some information that family members need to know about Schizophrenia from the National Institutes of Health at the Psych Central website.
Have you lived through a suicide attempt?
If you have attempted suicide, and don't know where to go from here, this "Guide for Taking Care of Yourself After Treatment in the Emergency Department" from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services may be helpful, and this page from the Suicide Prevention Action Network for attempt survivors may be as well. The American Association of Suicidology has some excellent resources for people who have attempted suicide, as well as their families. If you need a place to vent, there is a website called The Suicide Project: Writings from Survivors. If you want to share some hope with others, visit the Reasons to Go On Living Project which collects writings from suicide attempt survivors.
If you would like to help prevent suicide, here are some ways to do so:
- Join the Champions for Suicide Prevention program and promote their Signs of Suicide prevention program in schools in the United States.
- Join the Suicide Prevention Action Network in the U.S. (SPAN USA)
- Check out the American Association of Suicidology's guide for Understanding and Helping the Suicidal Individual
- Check out more information on psychosis, Schizophrenia, and Schizoaffective Disorder on this blog's Frequently Asked Questions page, which has information on how to help a friend or family member who has a mental illness.
- If, for some reason, anywhere you are or anywhere on the internet, you see a person asking for suicide tips and specific methods that might work, please take this seriously, and do not give them that kind of information. Give them one of the hotlines listed on this page, or offer to listen to them talk about what is going on. For some people, it goes without saying that you would never give suicide tips to someone who is suicidal. But that's not how all people think. I received specific tips on the kind of gun to buy, the kind of bullets to buy, and more from suicide usenet group and website members. And I listened, and I bought the gun and the bullets, and I almost died. So, please do not help someone kill herself, for crying out loud.
- Get involved in advocacy for people who live with mental illnesses, such as with a national organization like the National Alliance on Mental Illness or Mental Health America, in the U.S. There are many such organizations around the world. When people are getting proper mental health treatment they generally are less likely to commit suicide.
- Let a depressed person know you care, and listen to them when they need someone to talk to.
- Help a friend or family member with a mental illness find treatment.
- Share your story, if you lost someone to suicide, or if you survived a suicide attempt. Share it one websites like this one, or this one, or this one where you can share a video, blogs, YouTube videos, public speeches, and just talking to people you meet, to raise awareness about suicide.
The National Strategy for Suicide Prevention has several fact sheets and helpful information on its website.
American Foundation for Suicide Prevention/ (SPAN) has some fact sheets about suicide in people of certain demographic groups, including teens, the elderly, veterans and specific ethnic groups.
The American Association of Suicidology has a number of fact sheets on it's website.
The National Institute of Mental Health published this fact sheet with information and statistics on suicide and prevention.