To help keep yourself from feeling suicidal:
June 09, 2012
- Get the treatment you need. If you don't treat the underlying cause, your suicidal thoughts are likely to return. You may feel embarrassed to seek treatment for your mental health problems, but getting the right treatment for depression, substance abuse or another underlying problem will make you feel better about life — and help keep you safe.
- Follow your treatment plan. Go to follow-up appointments, take medications exactly as directed, and take the other steps your doctor or mental health provider recommends.
- Know your warning signs and make a plan. Learn to spot the danger signs early, and decide what steps to take ahead of time. It may help to write out what steps you'll take if you start feeling suicidal. You may want to make a written agreement with a mental health provider or a loved one to help you anticipate the right steps to take when you don't have the best judgment. Clearly stating your suicidal intention with your therapist makes it possible to anticipate it and address it.
- Eliminate potential means of committing suicide. If you think you might act on suicidal thoughts, immediately get rid of any potential means of committing suicide, such as firearms, knives or dangerous medications. If you take medications that have a potential for overdose, have a family member or friend give you your medications as prescribed.
- Establish your support network. It may be hard to talk about suicidal feelings, and your friends and family may not fully understand why you feel the way you do. Reach out anyway, and make sure the people who care about you know what's going on and are there when you need them. You may also want to get help from your place of worship, support groups or other community resources.
- Remember, suicidal feelings are temporary. If you feel hopeless or that life's not worth living anymore, remember that the feelings will pass. Take one step at a time and don't act impulsively. Work to regain your perspective — and life will get better.
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- Suicide: Taking care of yourself and your family after an attempt (Family guide). The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). http://www.nami.org/Template.cfm?Section=Issue_Spotlights&Template=/ContentManagement/ContentDisplay.cfm&ContentID=24452. Accessed April 30, 2012.
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- Bostwick JM (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. May 28, 2012.
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