The Never Give Up Toolkit for Preventing Suicide
Posted by Improving Lives Counseling Services, Inc. | Mental Health
Tragically, the suicide rate has increased by 24 percent over the past 15 years, according to the National Institutes of Health. What we absolutely can never forget is that every suicide is preventable. This toolkit presented below by Improving Lives Counseling Services offers tips and resources to those who are suffering.
Experiencing Suicidal Thoughts? Here’s What To Do Right Now
If you’re feeling suicidal, know, first and foremost, that you have nothing to be embarrassed or ashamed about. The important thing is that you get help immediately:
- Call a crisis hotline.
- Ask for help.
- Remove items that could be used for self-harm.
- Avoid drugs and alcohol.
- Distract yourself with other activities.
- Remove negativity from your home.
- Employ stress management techniques like controlled breathing.
5 Ways to Lift Your Spirits on Even the Most Challenging Days
When you’re struggling, there are some things you can do to your home, your surroundings, and your schedule to lift your spirits. With these positive activities, you can navigate even the most challenging days:
- Make Your Home Your Sanctuary
Working to make your home a happy, stress-free sanctuary will help you have fewer bad mental health days overall. One of the best things you can do to make your home the sanctuary that you need to thrive on challenging days is to clear out the clutter. A crowded home makes it more difficult for you to focus and reduces your ability to process information.
Sort your belongings into keep, donate, and trash piles, and put the items you choose to keep in the correct spot. Knowing that you need to clean up after clearing out the clutter will add more stress and anxiety to your day, so it is important to put things away and know that this job is totally done. Then, add a few plants to bring nature inside and provide a soothing focal point.
- Spread Cheer
Even if it’s the last thing that you feel like doing on a bad mental health day, go to a public place that you enjoy, like a museum or park. Give yourself a few moments to watch the people and take in the scene while taking deep breaths. Then, smile at people. You will find that the majority of people smile back, and it will help you feel connected and happy in a place that brings you joy.
- Engage in an Activity That Releases Your Tension or Aggression
If your bad day is due to feelings of tension or aggression, participate in an activity that allows you to release it in a healthy way. This may mean that you take a Boxfit class or a martial arts class or that you take part in a drumming class. You may find that giving yourself permission to hit things while learning something new is just what you need to feel better. You’ll also increase your heart rate and your oxygen level and release endorphins that make you feel good, too.
- Practice Yoga
Research from the Harvard Mental Health Letter shows that yoga reduces the effects of stress, eases anxiety and depression, serves as a self-soothing technique like meditation, and improves energy. That’s why so many people with mental and emotional problems turn to yoga as part of their therapy. If you’ve never practiced yoga before but want to try it on a tough mental health day, you may be able to find an open class at a hospital or local community center. Some health and fitness facilities hold classes and allow beginners to take their first class free of charge as a trial.
If you are unable to leave your home, search for yoga videos online. There are several available on sites such as YouTube available free of charge as well. It will help to put on comfortable clothes and watch the video you choose first to make sure it is appropriate for your fitness level.
- Listen to Music
Everyone responds to music in different ways. For some people, listening to sad music and crying it out is one way to work through a tough mental health day. For others, upbeat music that inspires them to dance or get active is the best way to get through a rough patch. Others listen to music to get inspired to draw, write, or create their own music because those creative outlets serve as therapy when they need to unwind and lift their spirits. If you aren’t sure which music to begin with, start with music that is relaxing and helps you meditate or get in the mood to do yoga.
When you’re feeling suicidal, it’s important to know that you aren’t alone. Not only are your friends and family available to help, but there are many other people in the world who’ve felt exactly as you feel today. Sometimes reading their stories can give you hope:
- “20 Stories of Depression and Suicide and Living Our Lives” (BuzzFeed)
- “Personal Stories of Triumph” (Anxiety and Depression Association of America)
- “Back from the Brink: True Stories & Practical Help for Overcoming Depression & Bipolar Disorder” (New Harbinger Publications)
If you feel you’re in a crisis and need to speak to someone right away, please call (800) 273-TALK (8255). To make an appointment with a professional to discuss your issues with depression, please call Improving Lives Counseling Services at(918) 268-7179.