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Helping yourself: What to do and steps to take

There are always other options other than suicide.

Depression can distort your perceptions and prevent you from being able to make sound decisions.

It is important to remember that suicidal thoughts and feelings are temporary and treatable in many ways.

Making your mental health a priority is an important part of self-care. You are not alone, nor should you feel ashamed if you are struggling. Rely on your support system and don’t be afraid to talk about your feelings and emotions. There should not be a stigma around depression and suicide, and you should never be afraid to put your safety plan in action.

Don't try to manage suicidal thoughts on your own. There are many treatment avenues and other professional options out there to help make sense of your feelings. A doctor or mental health provider can help identify coping strategies tailored to your personality and situation. After these are developed for you, consider talking over these coping strategies with people who know you well and that you trust to help you through any future situation.

Ensure you are taking care of yourself

  • Stick with your treatment plan.
    • Commit to taking your medication as prescribed and attending all treatment sessions and appointments.
  • Keep a list of contact names and numbers readily available.
    • Include your doctors, therapists and crisis centers that can help you cope with suicidal thoughts. Include friends or loved ones who agree to be available as part of your safety plan.
  • Remove potential means of killing yourself.
    • This may include ridding your home of guns, razors or other objects you may consider using to hurt or kill yourself. If possible, give your medications to someone who can safeguard them for you and help you take them as prescribed.
  • Schedule daily activities.
    • Activities that brought you small pleasure in the past can make a difference — such as listening to music, watching a funny movie or visiting a museum. Or try something different. Because physical activity and exercise may reduce depression symptoms, consider walking, jogging, swimming, gardening or a new activity.
  • Get together with others.
    • Establish your support network by reaching out to friends, family and people who care about you and are there when you need them. Make an effort to be social, even if you don't feel like it, to prevent isolation. Join a support group. Joining a support group can help you cope with suicidal thinking and recognize that there are many options in your life other than suicide.
  • Avoid drug and alcohol use.
    • Rather than numb painful feelings, alcohol and drugs can increase suicidal thoughts and the likelihood of harming yourself by making you more impulsive and more likely to act on your self-destructive feelings. Avoid risky websites on the Internet. Stay away from websites that may encourage suicide as a way to solve your problems.
  • Write about your thoughts and feelings.
    • Consider writing about the things in your life that you value and appreciate, no matter how small they may seem at the time.

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