What to do if you feel suicidal
GET HELP NOW! Please
don't wait. The following people and resources are waiting to
- If you feel you are a danger to yourself,
- Call 911 (in the US) or your local
emergency services phone number (if not in the US). If you can
manage it, call a friend or relative and ask them for support.
Many people in the world are isolated and don't have friends
or relatives. If that is the case for you, please understand
that this may be a temporary condition for you. It may quickly
change once your depression lifts. One of the characteristics
of depression is that it feels eternal: things have always
been this way, and they always will. This is not true, but it
is a kind of thinking that seems to occur with depression.
- Have someone drive you, or drive yourself,
to the nearest hospital emergency room.
- If you have a psychotherapist, please
call that person NOW.
- Call your local, anonymous suicide
prevention hotline. In central California, that toll-free number
is 1-877-663-5433. (In the UK and Australia, call your local
Samaritans). Your local number can be found in the business white
pages of your telephone book (under suicide prevention in the
U.S.), or by calling information (411). Suicide prevention volunteers
are there to listen--without judgment--to what you are feeling
- Remember that sometimes a feeling of
wanting to kill oneself actually means we want to kill off some
part of ourselves, some part that has been self-destructive,
or very hurt. Sometimes it signals a change is coming inside,
something so big that one's life is healed or transformed by
it. Please don't confuse parts of yourself with your whole self.
If this seems familiar to you, or something inside you feels
perhaps this is the case for you, please seek out the help of
a mental health professional. Psychodynamic psychologists are
trained to help people with this kind of situation.
- You've probably heard or read that
feeling suicidal is sometimes a sign of anger turned inward: we are so angry with
someone else we feel we can't (or really can't) express our anger
to them in a productive way, so it becomes directed toward ourselves.
Anger is a powerful emotion, and the neural pathway for anger
and sadness is the same. It seems we get to feel angry or sad,
but not both at the same time. Consider whether there is someone
else you're mad at. Anger and violence are different things.
Feeling angry is fine. Acting it out in violence is not. If this
strikes a chord with you, psychotherapists and clergy persons
are trained to help!
- You might have noticed you have symptoms
of depression. If so, the depression is probably distorting your
thinking. You might notice that you are very critical of yourself,
for instance. Cognitive psychotherapy is very effective at helping
people examine and modify negative thoughts that occur with depression.
For more information about depression, visit the other areas
on this site, or click
here to get information on National
Depression Screening Day (including a link to an online depression
- For some, feeling suicidal is in response
to a great deal of pain: so much, it feels like it will go on
forever and one cannot bear it. Many spiritual and religious
traditions teach of this pain and offer means of allowing it
to flow through you, or of overcoming it. Buddhism, Judaism,
Islam, Catholicism and other Christian religions are just a few
of those. Ministers, priests, and rabbis are trained in counseling
people in life-or-death crisis, which they view as a spiritual
crisis. Visit, call, attend a service, or search the internet
if this seems to fit for you.
- Many cities and towns in the U.S. now have 211, which is a number you can call to get free community resources and help for all kinds of problems in living.
- Call the National
Depression Screening Project, which
offers a nationwide screening for depression and suicidality
each year in October throughout the U.S. They also provide referrals
to screening sites which operate throughout the year.
- Feeling suicidal is NOT a sign that
you are crazy, and feeling ashamed of your pain is understandable
in our culture (which seems to fear emotion), but inappropriate.
Remember that most people (yes--most people) have considered
suicide at some time in their lives. Although you may feel like
it, you are absolutely not alone.
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