I’m Struggling with Thoughts of Suicide

If you are struggling with feelings and thoughts of suicide, there are things you can do that will help you get through. Some problems and experiences can leave you feeling hopeless and overwhelmed. These thoughts are not a sign of weakness, and it doesn’t mean that you are weak or crazy. Thinking of suicide occurs when pain exceeds the resources for coping with that pain. You may think that you have no options left and suicide would be a way to escape intense emotional pain. But while this pain may seem overwhelming and permanent, with time and support, you can overcome your problems, and the pain as well as thoughts of suicide, will pass.

Talk to Someone You Trust

If you’re having suicidal thoughts, talking about how you feel can be incredibly helpful.

Consider sharing your thoughts with someone you trust and feel comfortable with – this could be someone in your family, a friend, a teacher, doctor or other health professional.

  • Try and think about it as just another conversation. Describe what’s happened, how you feel and the help you need. It’s best to be direct so that they understand how you feel.
  • Be prepared for their reaction. People who learn that someone is suicidal can be quite shocked and emotional. Just keep talking and together you can find a way through it.
  • Ask your friend to help you find support; in person, online or over the phone.
  • It’s important to have support, but if you tell someone about your suicidal thoughts, you can’t expect them to keep it a secret. They’ll need to be able to help you stay safe and that usually means calling in extra help.

Keep Safe

Try to focus your thoughts on finding ways to stay safe. Once you’re safe you can work out how you’re going to get the help you need.

It can be hard to think clearly when you’re feeling suicidal, so having a plan in place means you can focus on following the steps until you feel safe again.

  • Remember that thoughts of suicide are just thoughts; you don’t have to act on them. Put distance between your thoughts and actions. Promise yourself not to do anything right now. These thoughts might only last a few minutes; you might feel differently in a few hours.
  • Delay any decisions to end your life. Give yourself time to get the support you need.
  • Remove anything in the house that you might use to impulsively harm yourself – maybe give it to a friend.
  • Store crisis line phone numbers or web links in your mobile phone for easy use. In Oregon, Get Help Now, call our Lifeline: 800-273-8255 OR TEXT ‘273TALK’ TO 839863
  • Avoid being alone. If you are worried that you may lose control or do something to hurt yourself, tell someone. Have someone near you until your thoughts of suicide decrease.
  • Do activities that have helped you cope in the past, reflect on your reasons to live, go to a safe place to distract yourself, or contact friends, family or a professional.
  • Avoid drugs and alcohol. They can intensify how you feel and make decision making more impulsive.

Create a Safety Plan

If you are not currently in crisis, consider creating a written Safety Plan. Having a plan in place that can help guide you through difficult moments can make a difference and keep you safe. Ideally, such a plan is developed with your counselor. It can also be developed with a crisis line counselor who can help you write down actions to take and people to contact in order to feel safe from suicide.

Essential elements to consider when developing and writing a safety plan, include:

  • Recognize warning signs: what sorts of thoughts, images, moods, situations and behaviors indicate to you that a crisis might be developing? Write these down in your own words
  • Use your own coping strategies. What are some things that you can do on your own to help you not act on thoughts and urges to harm yourself?
  • Remind yourself of your reasons for living: What things are most important to you?
  • Reach out. Add family members, friends, mental health professionals, local agencies, or anybody else who you can call for support or to help resolve a crisis.
  • Find a place with others who may offer support as well as distraction from the crisis: Make a list of healthy social settings that may help take your mind off things.