According to the CDC, approximately one person takes their own life every 12 minutes in the U.S. Unfortunately, suicide has become the third leading cause of death for ages 15- to 24-year-olds. If you’re struggling with suicidal thoughts, please know there is hope. There are some steps you can take to break free from suicidal thoughts.
- Remove Yourself From Danger
When you’re having suicidal thoughts, physically remove yourself or anything that might be potentially dangerous to you. Don’t take unnecessary risks by having a weapon or medication around that you could use to harm yourself. Instead, get rid of it or give it to a friend or family member.
- Tell Someone
Don’t let fear or shame stop you from reaching out. You can call a hotline like the National Suicide Prevention hotline: 800-273-8255. If you have a counselor, call them. Or, call a friend and ask them to stay with you. Are you in a crisis? Don’t hesitate to contact 911, or go to an emergency room.
- Realize Feelings Change
Just as you haven’t always felt this way in the past, you won’t always feel this way in the future. Your emotions are not always fixed—they are constantly changing. How you feel today is different than how you felt yesterday. Although you’re in a lot of pain right now, give it some time. Begin to talk to about your struggles; you’ll be amazed at how much it can help to ease some of your painful feelings and emotions.
- Don’t Use Drugs or Alcohol
You may think turning to drugs and alcohol to numb these painful emotions will make them all go away. But when the “high” goes away, you’ll feel even more depressed and turn to drugs or alcohol. Again. Break free from this vicious cycle by seeing a counselor, going to a treatment center, and attending a Life Recovery Group.
- Be Aware of Physical Changes
Struggling with suicidal thoughts affects more than just mental health—it can also affect you physically. You may experience physical symptoms such as:
- Loss of interest in personal hygiene or appearance
- Changes in eating or sleeping habits
- Loss of energy
- Chronic illness and pain
- Weight gain or weight loss
- Take Care of Your Physical Health
Try to exercise regularly. Research shows aerobic exercise —like walking for thirty minutes a day—can improve your overall emotional well-being and lower stress. It’s also a good idea to schedule an appointment with a doctor who may recommend medication to help you. Remember, there is no shame in taking medication. It may take some time, though, to discover which medication works best for you. Always follow-up with your doctor to let them know what is or is not working for you.
- Remind Yourself of Your Worth
Did a parent, sibling, dating relationship, spouse, or another person say or do something to you that made you feel unworthy? Despite what they said or did, you are worthy. After all, you are made in God’s image and reflect his likeness! Here’s an exercise to try. In a journal, write:
- Your positive attributes
- Favorite Bible verses
- Goals you’ve achieved
- Compliments you’ve received
- Special memories and relationships
Whenever you feel unworthy, take your journal out and read it out loud.
- Remember That You Matter
No matter what your circumstances are like right now or how dark things may seem, never forget that you matter to God. Zephaniah 3:17 says, “For the Lord your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.” Not only do you matter to God, but you also matter to your friends and family! Surround yourself with people who care about you. People care about you and want you to live—let a caring person know what’s going on in your life TODAY!