HELP FROM YOURSELF
Having thoughts of suicide is not unusual or shameful. Most people who experience even intense suicidal moments recover and live fulfilling lives. Getting professional help is important, and connecting to support of various kinds makes a difference in getting through these difficult times.
Seeking help is a sign of strength; if you are concerned, go with your instincts and seek professional help. Reaching out to a friend you are concerned about is also a sign of strength.
What can I do for myself or someone else?
» Be Safe
Start by learning the symptoms of depression and the warning signs of suicide. Be honest with yourself as you evaluate your own thoughts and feelings. Do not be afraid to reach out even if you think your problems are too small. If something negatively affects you or is keeping you from living mentally well, it matters. It’s also helpful to be aware of local resources in your community.
If you have been taking suicidal actions, OR you have tried to hurt yourself today or made a recent suicide attempt, get help immediately by calling 911.
- If you are not hurt, have a friend help you get to a mental health urgent care setting or the emergency room
- If you are having intense suicidal thoughts or urges please connect with a crisis counselor
Immediate action is very important. Here are a few resources:
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255), confidential help 24-hours-a-day. You also can visit the Lifeline’s website at suicidepreventionlifeline.org
- Crisis Text Line: text START to 741741
- Veterans Crisis Line: 1-800-273-8255, press 1
- HealthReach, information available in multiple languages: healthreach.nlm.nih.gov/searchindex/Suicide
- Help for Mental Illnesses: National Institute of Mental Health web page nimh.nih.gov/findhelp
- Treatment Referral Routing Service: 1-800-662-HELP (4357), funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
» Learn what you can do if you belong to one of the groups at greater risk of suicide
- American Indians/Alaskan Natives(external link)
- Veterans(external link to information, crisis chat and phone services)
- Seniors(external link)
» Remove access to lethal means
If you are having suicidal thoughts, it’s important to remove items that could be potentially harmful like knives, firearms or medications. Ask a friend or family member to store your medications until you feel better. If you own a firearm, store it in a safe or lock box separate from ammunition and ask a friend or family member to hold onto the key for you.
» Learn more about what’s going on
- Keep in touch with National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at suicidepreventionlifeline.org and on Facebook.
Even if you don’t think you will act upon them, if you are having thoughts about killing or hurting yourself, you need to talk about it with someone. This is a vital first step in the process of getting better. Know that it is OK to have suicidal thoughts, but it’s not OK to keep your thoughts secret. Don’t be afraid to reach out or ask for help. Help is available and more options for getting help exist than ever before. Reach out to at least one or more of the following:
- Family member
- Crisis counselor (1-800-273-8255 in USA) or text HOME to 741741 (Crisistextline.org).
- Primary Care Doctor
- Mental Health Professional (Therapist)
- Teacher or educator you trust
- Church Leader
- Find a Support Group
- Online peer support
» Create a safety plan
Having a safety plan in place during a time of emotional vulnerability or in crisis is one way to help manage your thoughts and feelings and a quick way to refer yourself to help. Use the link below for a safety plan template. Share your safety plan with your doctor(s), family, friends, or anyone else in your support network.
» Take care of your physical health
Are you taking care of your physical health? In times of bad or negative stress or after a major life event, remember to pay attention to your body. Mental and physical health are deeply interconnected, and it’s important to deal with any health issues that may be holding you back. If health issues are part of the problem, consider seeing a therapist who may help you adjust to your new physical reality. If you are physically able, try a new exercise regimen. If you’re new to exercise, remember to consult with your doctor before beginning or start slow and gradually increase intensity and longevity.