If you or someone you know is experiencing a life-threatening emergency, call 911 or go to your local emergency room.
You're Worth Taking Care Of
Suicidal thoughts exist on a continuum, from thoughts about life and death to wondering about suicide. Sometimes those thoughts are fleeting and vague, but sometimes they can be pervasive, specific, and come with an intention to act.
If you're thinking about suicide or struggling with your mental health, there is hope, although it may not be easy to see. Experiencing suicidal thoughts can feel lonely. Know that you don’t need to figure out your whole future right now or get through this alone. Take it one moment at a time. Focus on what you need to get through the next few minutes, few hours, or few days. We’ve pulled some tools together to get you started. Try some of these strategies yourself and reach out for support. You’re worth it.
Ways To Help Yourself When You're Thinking of Suicide
Create A Safe Environment
When you’re feeling hopeless, experiencing intense emotional pain, or thinking about suicide, it can seem impossible that you won’t always feel this way. These strong feelings can make it hard to believe there’s a way through. Promise yourself that you’ll put off any plans of suicide for 24 to 48 hours. In that time, take these steps:
- create a safe environment for yourself using the strategies below
- use crisis tools and resources
- reach out to someone you trust for support
- use coping strategies like the ones on this page to find relief
Even if they don’t go away completely, strong thoughts and emotions do change. They build, peak, and subside (even just a little bit). Waiting before taking action can give you the time you need to find options besides suicide.
How To Create A Safe Environment
Create A Safety Plan
A safety plan is a written plan of how you’ll keep yourself safe if you have suicidal thoughts. Include warning signs, reasons to live, steps to create a safe environment, coping skills you’ve found helpful, people you can call, and crisis resources on your list.
Make Your Home Safer
Remove anything you could use to harm yourself, including guns or other weapons, pills, ropes, belts, sharp objects, or any other materials you’ve acquired as part of a suicide plan. Give them to someone else for safekeeping, lock them up, or dispose of them.
Stay With Somebody
Sometimes, just talking can help suicidal thoughts subside, but if you don't feel safe, stay with someone. Go somewhere else like a friend or family member’s home. If you have nowhere else to go, go to an emergency room.
Avoid or Stop Using Drugs & Alcohol
Drugs and alcohol can make it harder to think clearly. If you don’t think you can stop avoid using substances, go someplace safe or ask someone you trust to stay with you.
Explore Different Ways to Cope and Find What Works for You
Ahead of Time:
Create A Personal Wellness Box
This is a place to keep any materials and tools that will make it easier for you to take care of yourself and use your coping strategies. Include items like:
- a new book
- a gift card for your favorite coffee shop
- an empowerment playlist, self-care tools
- supportive messages and empowering quotes
- gratitude lists
- pictures of meaningful people, places, and things
- a list of instructions to yourself on how to get through difficult times
Keep your wellness box someplace convenient. If it feels good, decorate it and give it a name that has personal meaning to you. You could call it your treasure chest, empowerment box, or even mission control – anything that helps you feel more empowered to take care of yourself.
Ideas for your box:
In the Moment:
First, get grounded and breathe.
Grounding is the name for the feeling of being present and connected to your body and the world around you. You don’t need any special equipment or training, just your body and your breath. Wash a dish, go for a walk, listen to music, lie on the floor, hold an ice cube, or massage your hands and focus on your senses. Wherever you are and whatever you're doing, you can focus on the way your body and breathing feel.
There are many breathing strategies that can help you feel grounded. Experiment and find the one that fits best for you. Here are some to get you started:
Then, give yourself the space to think.
Move Your Body
Moving our bodies can down thoughts and ease painful emotions. You don’t need to “work out” or do anything formal, just move in any way accessible to you. If it feels good, you could add uplifting or soothing music, a video to help guide your movement, or a trip outside.
Write it Out
Get your thoughts out of your head and onto the paper. When we write, we get a chance to process what we’re thinking and see it through a new perspective. Steer yourself to a larger perspective, possible ways forward, or aspects of the situation that are within your power to change.
Take a Step Back
To get through painful/uncomfortable feelings, notice you're in them and expand your perspective. Give yourself a go-to phrase informed by beliefs or past challenges you’ve faced. Statements like, “This feeling will pass.” or “This is hard because its hard, and I can get through this." can give you the small shift you need to ride this feeling.
Talk to yourself like you'd talk to a friend.
Pay attention to the way you talk to yourself. Are you speaking to yourself the way you would speak to a friend? For many of us, it’s easier to say something kind to someone else than to ourselves. Bring more compassion to your self-talk by imagining you’re talking to a friend or someone else you care about.
practice talking to yourself with encouragement, compassion, and hope
Finally, give yourself something constructive to do.
Take it one moment at a time. Go for a short walk, play with your pet, turn on music, sweep the floor, tidy up one space, wash your face, or make a snack. When you’re done, check in with how you’re feeling and repeat as many times as necessary. Be sure to give yourself things to look forward to later. These can be as small as a favorite meal or fun audiobook or big as a special event with friends.
Looking for ideas?
Create a Life Supportive of Mental Health
Be Curious about Your Feelings
Your feelings are messengers. Listen for what they're trying to tell you. When you name how you feel and where it may be coming from, it might not feel so scary or overwhelming. Use your experiences, even the painful ones, as information to help you respect where you are and what you need.
Give Yourself Structure
Create daily routines that support your overall wellness. Find the balance between structure and flexibility that works best for you.
Learn What Makes You Strong
Cultivate a resilient mindset by appreciating the good things in your life, learning from struggles, looking for solutions, and staying curious through life’s challenges and changes.
Find a Therapist that Fits
Recognize when you need more support and reach out to a friend or find a therapist that you feel comfortable working with.