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Suicide Prevention

AMBULATORY CARE:

What you need to know about suicide prevention:

You may see suicide as the only way to escape emotional or physical pain and suffering. Help is available from people who care about you, and from professionals trained in suicide prevention. Prevention includes everything you and others can do to stop you from taking your life.

What to do if you are considering suicide:

The following are some things you can do:

  • Contact a suicide prevention organization. The following are always available to help you:
    • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255 (1-800-273-TALK)
    • Suicide Hotline: 1-800-784-2433 (1-800-SUICIDE)
    • For a list of international numbers: https://save.org/find-help/international-resources/
  • Contact your therapist. Your doctor can give you a list of therapists if you do not have one.
  • Keep medicines, weapons, and alcohol out of your home.
  • Do not spend time alone if you have thoughts of ending your life.

Call your local emergency number (911 in the US), or ask someone to call if:

  • You do something on purpose to hurt yourself.
  • You make a plan to commit suicide.

Call your doctor or therapist, or have someone close to you call if:

  • You act out in anger, are reckless, or are abusing alcohol or drugs.
  • You have serious thoughts of suicide, even with treatment.
  • You have more thoughts of suicide when you are alone.
  • You stop eating, or you begin to smoke cigarettes or drink alcohol.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Warning signs of suicide:

The following can help you and others recognize that you are struggling:

  • Talking about your plan for committing suicide, or wanting to read or write about death or suicide
  • Cutting yourself, burning your skin with cigarettes, or driving recklessly
  • Drug or alcohol use, not taking your prescribed medicine, or taking too much
  • Not wanting to spend time with others or doing things you enjoy, feeling bored, or not wanting anyone to praise you
  • Changes in your appetite, sleep habits, energy levels, or weight
  • Feeling angry, or lashing out at others
  • A need to give away or throw away your belongings
  • Often skipping work
  • Suddenly not taking medicine for a mental illness without talking to your healthcare provider
  • Suddenly not going to therapy

Treatment for suicidal thoughts:

  • Medicines may be given to prevent mood swings, or to decrease anxiety or depression. You will need to take all medicines as directed. A sudden stop can be harmful. It may take 4 to 6 weeks for the medicine to help you feel better.
  • Suicide risk assessment means healthcare providers will ask questions about your suicide thoughts and plans. They will ask how often you think about suicide and if you have tried it before. They will ask if you have begun to hurt yourself, such as with cutting or reckless driving. They may ask if you have access to weapons or drugs.
  • A safety plan includes a list of people or groups to contact if you have suicidal feelings again. The list may include friends, family members, a spiritual leader, and others you trust. You may be asked to make a verbal agreement or sign a contract that you will not try to harm yourself.
  • A therapist can help you identify and change negative feelings or beliefs about yourself. This may help change the way you feel and act. A therapist can also help you find ways to cope with things that cannot be changed.

Manage depression:

  • Get help for drug or alcohol abuse. Drugs and alcohol can make suicidal feelings worse and make you more likely to act on them. Drugs and alcohol can also cause or increase depression.
  • Talk to someone you trust. Be honest about your thoughts and feelings about suicide. You can call a suicide prevention center if you do not want to talk to someone you know.
  • Exercise as directed. Exercise can lift your mood, give you more energy, and make it easier to sleep.
  • Eat a variety of healthy foods. Healthy foods include fruits, vegetables, whole-grain breads, lean meats, fish, low-fat dairy products, and beans. Try to eat regularly even if you do not feel hungry. Depression can increase from a lack of nutrition or if you are hungry for long periods of time.
  • Create a sleep routine. Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. Let your healthcare provider know if you are having trouble sleeping.
  • Take your medicine and go to therapy as directed. Medicine and therapy can help you manage your mental health. Do not stop taking your medicine without talking to your healthcare provider. If you do not like the way a medicine makes you feel, you may be able to try a different medicine.

For support and more information:

  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
    NA
    New York , NY 10004
    Phone: 1- 800 - 273-TALK (8255)
    Web Address: http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org
  • Suicide Awareness Voices of Education
    8120 Penn Ave. S., Ste. 470
    Bloomington , Minnesota 55431
    Phone: 1- 952 - 946-7998
    Web Address: http://www.save.org

Follow up with your doctor or therapist as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Further information

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