Having Suicidal Thoughts
If you're thinking about suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1 (800) 273-8255.
Talking about how you got to this point in your life can release a lot of the pressure that’s building up. Find someone you trust and let them know how bad things are. Don’t let fear, shame, or embarrassment prevent you from seeking help.
If you’re not sure who to talk to, call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. If it’s during business hours and you’re on campus, walk over to the Student Health & Counseling Center where you’ll be seen immediately.
Your suicidal thoughts do not have to become a reality. There is no deadline, no one's pushing you to act on these thoughts immediately. Wait and put some distance between your suicidal thoughts and suicidal action. Make a promise to yourself: "I will wait 24 hours and won't do anything drastic during that time." Or, wait a week. Even a 5-minute delay can be enough.
Remove things you could use to hurt yourself, such as knives, razors, or guns – you can give these things to a friend or lock them away so access is difficult. Give your medicine to someone who can give them to you as needed, and take any medication you’re no longer using to a drug disposal location.
Consider making a safety plan – a set of steps that you can use to guide you through a crisis. This can include triggers of suicidal thoughts, what to do in crisis moments, and who to call. As you continue through the steps, you can get help and feel safer.
Drugs and alcohol can make suicidal thoughts worse, inhibit your problem-solving ability, and make you act impulsively. Plus, drugs and alcohol tend to be band-aids for issues – they cannot solve the very real concerns you have.
Thoughts of suicide rise and fall. If you can find ways to get through the tough times, you will survive. No matter how you are feeling right now there is help you can receive. Have hope in this. Give yourself the time needed and don’t try to go it alone.
Who to talk to
Talk to someone who won't try to argue about how you feel, judge you, or tell you to just "snap out of it." Find someone who will simply listen and be there for you. It doesn’t matter who it is, as long as it’s someone you trust and who is likely to listen with compassion and acceptance. When in doubt, try a hotline.
What to say
Tell the person exactly what you are telling yourself. If you have a suicide plan, explain it to them. Phrases like ‘I’m done’ are vague and do not illustrate how serious things really are. If it is too difficult for you to talk about, try writing it down and handing a note to the person you trust. Or send them an email or text and sit with them while they read it.
If you don't feel understood
If the first person you reached out to doesn’t seem to understand, tell someone else, go to a different support group, or try calling a suicide crisis helpline again. Don’t let a bad experience stop you from finding someone who can help.
Why do I feel suicidal?
There’s no single cause for suicide. Suicidal thoughts most often occur when stressors and health issues converge to create an experience of hopelessness and despair. Depression is the most common condition associated with suicide, and it is often undiagnosed or untreated.
According to the interpersonal-psychological theory of suicide, common factors in people with suicidal thoughts are 1) feeling like a burden to others, 2) experiencing profound loneliness and isolation, and 3) having a sense of fearlessness or desensitization to death.
If you are unable to think of solutions other than suicide, it doesn’t mean that other solutions don’t exist. The intense pain that you’re experiencing can distort your thinking so it becomes harder to see possible solutions to problems, or to connect with those who can offer support. Therapists, counselors, friends, or loved ones can help you to see solutions that otherwise may not be apparent to you if you can give them a chance to help.