Many people have thoughts of suicide at some point in their lives. It doesn’t mean something is wrong with you or that you have some kind of mental flaw. Instead, it simply means that you need help. The first thing to know is that there is the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 988. There is someone there to talk to 24 hours a day and seven days per week.

There are other options listed below that may be helpful. Here is how to seek help if you are suicidal and how to have a plan in place that helps your well-being.

Suicide Statistics

According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States. In 2018 along, there were over 48K suicides and over one million attempts at suicide.

The age-adjusted suicide rate in 2018 was 14.2 per 100,000 individuals.

The rate of suicide is highest in middle-aged white men.

In 2018, men died by suicide 3.56x more often than women.

On average, there are 132 suicides per day.

White males accounted for 69.67% of suicide deaths in 2018.

In 2018, firearms accounted for 50.57% of all suicide deaths.

Taking a Few First Steps

The first few steps may seem difficult but can really make a difference in how you feel. For example, know that these feelings distort your reality and that how you feel now may not be indicative of how you’ll feel later. These kinds of feelings make it harder to make good decisions and hamper perceptions that are realistic.

Try to remember that your feelings can be treated. Right now it may seem that is not possible but those are just temporary feelings, not true reality.

Look at the options even if it seems hard to do. In fact, act as if they are available to you right now. Seeing that you have other alternatives other than suicide can help you change a little of how you feel right now.

None of these first steps may seem easy but they are important to helping you overcome the immediate feelings by knowing that there are other ways to live without feeling as if there is no way out right now.

There are immediate actions you can take that may help as well.

  • Promise not to make any decisions for 24 hours. After you go 24 hours then make it three days or a week. Not making drastic decisions for any length of time helps you gain footing on your feel feelings and helps you realize that what you are feeling is temporary.
  • Remove unsafe things. Remove from your home, the ability to do harm to yourself. This includes things like drugs, firearms, razors, or anything that you might consider using while you are suicidal. Just because they are there does not mean that you will use them but having them far away from you when you’re feeling suicidal can help alleviate making a snap decision.
  • Avoid alcohol and drugs. As far as alcohol and drugs, both may increase bad feelings and should be avoided. If you have to remove them from your home entirely, that is a good step in making sure they’re not available when it is important to avoid them. Keep in mind that alcohol and many drugs are depressants and they are not helpful in making you feel happy or more in-tune with happy feelings.
  • Talk to someone. Reach out to someone – anyone who you can talk to. Whether it’s a therapist, a friend, a professional, clergy, or family, talking to someone can make a big difference in how you feel. It should be someone you can trust and be sure they have your best interest but it is important that you do not feel ashamed or embarrassed. The first person you talk to may not be able to help and that’s fine. Don’t let it stop you from reaching out to someone else. It is important to note that reaching out on social media isn’t always your best bet. If that is the only avenue you can use then by all means, use it. But at times we may not be as close to those types of friends as we think and if you do reach out and do not get the feedback you feel you should, it may worsen how you feel.
  • Know that there is hope. You’re not along and thousands of people are going through the exact same thing. No matter how you feel right now, know that there is always hope for a better future. You won’t always feel this way and it is important to know that. Suicidal thoughts trick us into thinking there is no way out and that is wrong. What is going on right now may turn around entirely in a day or so. What you worried over last night may look brighter in the morning.

There Are Solutions

Sometimes it comes down to emotional or mental illnesses. This isn’t your fault and there is help you can utilize for your mental health. According to Western Michigan University:

For example, many people who have suicidal thoughts suffer from mental and emotional illnesses that are likely caused by biological imbalances that require medication. Research studies show that the vast majority of people who receive appropriate treatment improve or recover completely. Even if you have received treatment before, you should know that different treatments work better for different people in different situations. Several tries are sometimes necessary before the right combination is found. Be patient with yourself and others trying to help you, and advocate for yourself when treatment is not helping.

The thing to remember is that there are solutions even if it doesn’t seem so right now. Suicide is a permanent solution for what are many times temporary problems.

Have a Plan in Place

If you have suicidal thoughts that come and go, have a plan in place for the next time. It is important to know the signs and triggers that you may experience so that you can alert your mental health provider and take the right steps for yourself. For example, here is a list of a plan you can replicate to fit your own situation:

  • Contact a friend or family member who you can talk things over with
  • Contact a professional like a counselor or doctor who can help you process these feelings
  • Take note of the reasons you need to go on with your life and enjoy living it
  • Take part in things that make you happy. Whether it’s watching a movie, taking a walk on the beach, or playing with a pet – if it makes you happy then it is a good idea to do one of these things if you are feeling like there are no options for you

A Professional Can Help

One thing that is important is that a professional can help you when you are feeling dark thoughts. But just as important, a professional therapist can help you even when you are not experiencing thoughts of suicide.

The immediate crisis will pass but someone who is trained to help aids you in feeling better throughout both times – the good and the bad.

For example, different types of mood disorders may affect thoughts of suicide. These include depression and bipolar disorder – just as a couple of examples. These mood disorders are treatable and a professional helps you with these disorders even when you’re not feeling bad. This helps you when the feelings turn dark and affect how you are thinking.

For immediate help, you can call the help line, as mentioned above. That information is the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 988. If necessary, call 911 for help. Don’t be afraid to reach out to them even if you’re scared. They can help you deal with it and feel safe. And always reach out to friends and family who can help and know your needs.

Remember that suicide is permanent but the things that you are going through right now are not. There’s hope for change, a brighter future, and things will change.