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Actionable Ways to Cope with Suicidal Thoughts

National Suicide Prevention Week (9/4-10), World Suicide Prevention Day Sept 10

From September 4th through the 10th, people around the globe recognize National Suicide Prevention Week, ending with World Suicide Prevention Day on September 10th. 

Even though suicidal thoughts are frightening, they are not uncommon. A large number of people have experienced suicidal thoughts at some point in their lives. Know that you are not alone, and that these feelings and thoughts can be overcome.  

Please seek help immediately if you’re considering suicide. Dial 988 to reach the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline or find the nearest hospital. 

Think about today

Knowing that you do not need to act on suicidal thoughts right now is the first step towards coping with them. Instead of thinking about tomorrow, keep your mind on today. You might feel overwhelmed right now, but you might be able to cope better in a few days.  

Mindfulness practices can help you return to the present moment during this time. Grounding techniques, breathing exercises, and meditation are included in this process.  

Know Your Triggers

Identifying your triggers is the second step to coping with suicidal thoughts. Everyone has different triggers.  

Do you know what situations, events, or things trigger these thoughts? Take note when they happen and try to avoid the things that make you feel worse. When you hear a certain song, see a picture, or watch a movie, do you feel unwanted thoughts and feelings? Do your best to avoid them.  

Suicidal thoughts can be combated by having positive relationships, believing that you can cope, caring for others, belongingness, and having moral/spiritual beliefs.

Avoid Drugs & Alcohol 

There are parts of the brain that control your behavior, judgment, and decision-making that are affected by substances. In addition to negatively impacting your emotions, drugs and alcohol can also make matters worse in general. Staying away from alcohol and drugs is important because they both affect your thinking and feelings. Substance use disorders can also develop if a substance is used too often. 

Find a safe place to go

If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts, go to a safe place where you won’t be tempted to act on them. You may want to consider a friend’s house, the therapist’s office, a crisis center, your bedroom, or a public place like the library or a coffee shop.  

Distract Yourself 

You can also cope with suicidal thoughts by distracting yourself. Distraction techniques can help shift your focus to something more positive or neutral while taking your mind off your current thoughts. There are several ways to distract yourself, including: 

  • Make a list of everything and everyone you are grateful for in your life. You can also use this as a gratitude list. Even if it seems difficult at the moment, try to think of a few things each day and keep adding to the list. Take a moment to think about the positive things people have said about you.  
  • Take a walk outside in a green space for some fresh air.  
  • Make time to spend with your pet, if you have one
  • Listen to music, play games, or watch a movie that is uplifting  

Get Help

Having a conversation with someone else about your feelings can be extremely helpful. Take advantage of the support of your family and friends, as well as the professional support of your mental health care team. The following people could be contacted if your friend or family member is unavailable: 

  • Counselors or therapists 
  • Individuals from a support line 
  • Mentor, teacher, or colleague 
  • Religious or spiritual leaders 

If you’re not in the mood to talk, avoid spending too much time alone. Even if they don’t know how you’re feeling, being around other people can help you feel safer.  

The most important thing is not to struggle with suicidal thoughts alone. We are here to help you. In the event that you do not have mental health support, our care team will assist you in finding the right provider. To schedule an appointment, please contact us today. 

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