You may be surprised, but suicidal thoughts are not uncommon. These thoughts can be scary and overwhelming, but there are a number of ways we can cope with suicidal thoughts and steps we can take to keep ourselves safe. Many people are scared to talk about their thoughts, for fear of seeming “crazy,” being “locked” up, or just not understanding why they are having the thoughts they are.
Those we love may not want to talk about it, as they feel talking about suicide may make someone think about suicide. This is not the case. People are relieved to know someone is interested in what they are thinking and how they are feeling. Talking about suicide is not going to make someone complete suicide. If anything, it will open the door to get support. So, how can you help someone who is thinking about suicide? You can ask them if they have a safety plan, if not here is a sample outline of a safety plan .
A safety plan is important because it lays out, step by step, the things we can do to help ourselves when these thoughts arise. Preparing a safety plan when we are not having suicidal thoughts can be helpful because when we are feeling hopeless, it can be difficult to think of ways in which to help ourselves feel better or safe. Preparing a safety plan can allow us to implement concrete coping strategies that have either worked for us before, or are recommended by professionals. Common coping strategies may include deep breathing, mindfulness, writing in a journal, getting outside for a walk, or talking to a loved one. These are only a few examples, and each person has different coping strategies that work specifically for them!
If you need help creating your safety plan, or want to talk to someone about how you are feeling please feel free to contact me.