This page has been edited and reviewed by psychologist R. Y. Langham, M.M.F.T., Ph.D.
Even when things are at their worst, there are some things that are more important to live for. In other words, a higher purpose makes life worth living. Knowing this can help us keep going when we might feel like giving up.
Support for Those with Feelings of Suicide
- Accept mercy for yourself
. Life is not all or nothing. We all make mistakes, and we all have failures. Life is all about making mistakes and learning from them. Learning to accept mistakes we have made in the past and realizing that we will do the same in the future can help us. Be patient with yourself; give yourself time to make adjustments if you feel you need to make improvements in some aspects of your life. It is better to repair a masterpiece than throw it away. Work hard towards improving your life or situation, but don't be overly critical of yourself.
2. Engage in regular exercise
- Walking briskly outdoors is one of the best therapies. It is a forward-looking activity. It positively affects the chemical balance in our minds. It helps us to be positive, and to pull out of depressive states
. It can also help stabilize symptoms associated with bipolar disorder
and other mental health disorders. Some have reported that swimming and/or other forms of light-contact exercise have helped them deal with negative feelings.
3. Try to avoid watching long hours of the television
- Consider doing without a television for a year or more. For some, television programs (i.e. the news and sitcoms) that focus on tragedy and/or other negative themes can contribute to feelings of despair. Learned helplessness can be one psychological side effect of watching too much television (i.e. news programs, TV sitcoms, and/or movies), according to psychologist Aric Sigman, Ph.D.
Some movies can influence the mind by arousing feelings of despair, emotional turmoil, and/or unresolved conflict. Additionally, the nature of non-participatory, passive entertainment in itself can dull the mind and/or contribute to depression. In other words, when people watch television and/or movies for entertainment, they lose control over the situation and can only passively watch. When this becomes a way of life, it can trigger or worsen depression, and cause feelings of suicide (in some).
Finding more active, mind-engaging, participant-oriented forms of entertainment can lead to positive emotions, greater self-esteem, and triumph over suicidal feelings.
- Some forms of music may contribute to feelings of suicide or even directly or indirectly suggest the idea of suicide. This can be especially true when it comes to some forms of heavy metal music, alternative music, and/or other types of music (i.e. rap music and/or country music).
Music that expresses self-loathing can contribute to self-hate, if the individual listening to it identifies with the emotions expressed in the songs. In other words, music that focuses on the negative, dark, pessimistic, angry, and/or negative emotions, as well as music that focuses on the occult and/or spiritualism, can contribute to negative emotions in the listener, and for some, can contribute to feelings of suicide. This is especially true for teens and young adults who have not yet developed enough life experience to sort through negative emotions in a broader context.
5. Drugs and alcohol
- Avoiding drugs and alcohol
and consuming a healthy, balanced diet can help prevent feelings of suicide. Physical factors affect energy levels and mental resilience. Alcohol is a depressant, and while providing temporary relief from anxieties, once the effect of the alcohol wears off, feelings of depression and/or hopelessness can arise or reoccur. It is important to note that the same thing can happen with prescription drugs like anti-anxiety medications.
To reiterate, a healthy diet can have a positive effect on your mental health. Skipping meals on a regular basis may not only lead to low mental energy levels, but also contribute to depression. Ultimately, a poor diet may lead to feelings of suicide and/or despair during stressful, difficult, and/or overwhelming times.
If you feel that your diet is an issue and you are having a hard time adjusting your way of eating, enlist the help of your family and friends, consult with diet professionals such as a nutritionist, and/or participate in a support group.
- If you do not get out much and/or you rarely socialize, get involved with some type of organization or club and/or volunteer your time at a charity. In other words, do not spend too much time alone. Perhaps the best way to get rid of depressive and/or suicidal feelings is to socialize with other people. Spending time with other people can change negative feelings into positive ones.
7. Romantic relationships
– Put the thought that you need a mate to be happy out of your mind. Some people develop suicidal thoughts after experiencing a bad relationship. It is important to realize that it is possible to be successful and happy as a single person. In other words, you do not have to be in a sexual relationship to be happy and fulfilled.
Sometimes love relationships can be very disappointing; the key is to keep hope alive and look towards the future. Everyone has had a difficult relationship at one time. It is not the end of the world-even though it may feel like it. Rather, it is simply the end of one phase of your life. Life will continue and you will recover. Do not let a failed relationship defeat you! Don’t allow it to alter your perception of yourself and your future. Remember, you will get over it, and you will find true happiness in life.
8. Monogamy vs. Promiscuity
- Monogamy, as opposed to promiscuity, contributes to a more stable emotional state. Rejection after one-night stands (i.e. fleeting sexual encounters or casual sex) can contribute to despair and/or impulsive feelings of suicide. For some, promiscuity, excessive masturbation, or even an indulgence in pornography can lead to feelings of suicide. Avoiding sexually arousing entertainment (i.e. pornography, sexually explicit movies and television shows, and explicit music and/or video games) can improve your mental health and well-being. It is true that viewing too much sexually charged material can lead to suicidal thoughts (for some).
- Do not hesitate to get support from friends, family, professionals in school (i.e. school nurse, counselor, teacher, and/or social worker), psychologists
, and/or a minister. Opening up to a supportive listener can prevent suicidal thoughts by helping heal your emotional wounds.
10. Psychiatric medicines
– Psychiatric medications can lead to suicidal thoughts even if you do not have a history of suicidal ideation. Clinical studies confirm that anti-depressants can double the risk of suicidal thoughts in children, teens and young adults, especially during the initial months of use and/or when switching medications. For some, tranquilizers and anti-psychotic medications can also contribute to suicidal ideation. Remember, however, that discontinuing medications abruptly is not recommended. In other words, abruptly stopping medications that you have been taking for a long time can cause devastating complications.
11. Sacred View of Life and Spiritual Healing
– It is important to understand that your life and life itself is valuable, and that it consists of a higher purpose. It is crucial that you look beyond your own immediate struggles and/or despair towards a higher reason to live (even when you feel like giving up). Life should be viewed as sacred, and that this should be remembered by those who are religious and by those who are non-religious.
Prayer (off-site link) can be of help to many. If we look to God as accepting and merciful rather than vengeful or condemning, it can improve how we see ourselves and the world around us. For those who believe in a personal God, prayer may consist of more than just memorizing verses; rather, it may consist of open and honest communication with a loving Father.
Healthy spirituality is a vital ingredient towards good mental health for everyone (i.e. children, teens, and adults).
Please read the following:
Anyone who is on medication should not come off abruptly. Sudden change in one's medication regimen can cause problems. Anyone who has suicidal thoughts and is trying to come off of medication should do so under a doctor's supervision and come off gradually.
This website is for informative and educational purposes only and any decisions that one makes in his or her treatment or for their children are on a personal basis, and The Association for Natural Psychology (AYCNP) bears no responsibility for individual decisions on mental health.
Organizations Providing Support for Suicide Prevention
National Suicide Prevention Directory Off-site link
Contact information for suicide prevention agencies. Listed by state.
American Foundation for Suicide Prevention Off-site link
Locate support groups for friends and families of suicide victims.
Suicide Awareness/Voices of Education Off-site link
Includes an FAQ, general information on suicide, some common statistics, symptoms of depression, literature.
Pages Related to Suicide Help and Prevention
- 10 Helpful Ideas
Use of Marijuana - Suicide Risk
, Increase in Rate of Schizophrenia
Spirituality and Mental Health
Suicide Phone Hotlines - for Support
National Suicide Prevention Hotline
Deaf Hotline: 1-800-799-4TTY (1-800-799-4889)
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
Covenant House Nineline