Have you ever thought about taking your own life? There are so many people who have considered it, and an ever-growing number of those who make this unfortunate choice these days. I have some suggestions to help keep you from becoming a statistic, and hopefully to also turn your life around as well.
The Numbers are Staggering
You can Google statistics on suicide anytime, but something that stood out to me this last week in watching a world news broadcast was that some 60% of gun deaths in the US in the last year or so have been suicides, and that number winds up totaling over 24,000 people a year. A much larger group suffers from suicidal thoughts and feelings, but doesn’t ever complete a suicide. So suffice it to say there are a huge number of people in our modern world that suffer from feeling suicidal.
Here Are the 5 Things You Need To Do If Feeling Suicidal
Have a crisis and safety plan with a mental health professional: These are 3 to 5 steps you can take if you feel unsafe or don’t want to live at any given time. They almost always involve contacting someone who you trust or is safe, but must allow you to get out of an unsafe place where you might wind up killing yourself if you don’t.
If you own guns, give them to someone else who will keep them safe for you. Likewise, if you have access to other means of killing yourself, find a way of getting that out of your living space or set some boundaries or guidelines that will help keep you from using them to off yourself.
Work with a mental health professional to treat the underlying cause of feeling suicidal. There are many causes of suicidal ideation and feelings, like emotional pain and self-hate. Often these are due to depression, bipolar disorder, or PTSD. Having a well-trained and trusted therapist is the best way of resolving these. Often a psychiatrist is needed as well to manage medications that can help you get better.
Avoid substances that negatively affect your mood. These include many intoxicating substances like alcohol and street drugs. If you are depressed and you consume depressants, that’s only making the problem worse because you are more likely wind up more depressed and suicidal. Also, drugs like alcohol reduce your inhibitions and increase the chance you’ll wind up doing something drastic.
Find and focus on reasons for living. These can range from children to friends, pets, and other living things you care for. If nothing else realize that nothing good can happen if you die, but if you stay alive there is at least the possibility for things to get better.
Who Can Help You With Feeling Suicidal
Just about anybody who cares about you can help, but trained therapists and psychiatrists are the ones who are the best at helping people deal with this. I have been helping people with some degree of suicidality for about 10 years now as a therapist, but if you feel suicidal and have even the smallest desire to get help, I urge you to call 1-800-SUICIDE or a local crisis helpline. Where I live in Austin, that number is 512-472-4357. I have worked successfully with many clients to struggle with this issue, and although I can’t guarantee I can help you get past this issue, I can assure you that better days are ahead if you get help and are willing to commit to safety one day at a time. You can call me at 512-374-0100 if this is something you struggle with and want to find out if I can help you, or leave your contact information in the space below. If nothing else, I can direct you to someone who is likely to help you in getting out of the dark place you’re in. It takes more bravery to ask for help than to take one’s own life, because that calls on you having the courage to live!
About the author: Scott Kampschaefer, LCSW is a private practice therapist in Austin, Texas. He has an extensive background in working with depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder at a clinic for older adults with these disorders in Austin. He now works with adults and adolescents of all ages in private practice.