If You Think of Suicide...

“Let’s Get Physical”: 7 Tips to Calm Anxiety

“Let’s Get Physical”: 7 Tips to Calm Anxiety

Anxiety is fear. It is a message from our brain that something is wrong and we are in danger. Often, the danger is not truly present, at least not to the degree that our mind is telling us it is. But the body does not know this. The body reacts as if the danger is […]

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“Oh, I’m Begging You, No”: 18 Songs Against Suicide

“Oh, I’m Begging You, No”: 18 Songs Against Suicide

Some songs portray suicide as a compelling option, even an outright solution. It is doubtful that listening to such songs can cause suicidal thoughts, but it might intensify them. Consider that old adage: What you focus on, expands. Focus on songs that portray suicide positively, and positive thoughts about suicide can expand.  So, here are 18 songs that implore people to […]

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The 3-Day Rule and Suicide

The 3-Day Rule and Suicide

Many people who attempt suicide do so impulsively. Extremely impulsively. One study of people who attempted suicide found that 48% thought of suicide for fewer than 10 minutes before making the suicide attempt. The haste with which many people die by suicide is staggering. Had they waited a little longer, then the intense impulse to […]

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Coping Statements for Suicidal Thoughts

Coping Statements for Suicidal Thoughts

  Many people desperately wish to stop their suicidal thoughts. Often, this is possible. You might be able to eliminate suicidal thoughts by healing the depression, stress, hopelessness, self-hatred or whatever forces underlie them. Yet it might take a while to stop thinking of suicide. For some people, suicidal thoughts just do not stop, or they keep revisiting […]

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Friends & Family

Is It Selfish to Die in a Tornado?

Is It Selfish to Die in a Tornado?

Written by on October 28, 2015 in All Posts, Friends and Family with 26 Comments

People who die in tornadoes are so selfish. They have people who love them, people who will be hurt terribly if they die. Yet they die anyway. People who die in tornadoes are thinking only of themselves. They take the easy way out when they refuse to overcome the storm. They don’t care that their […]

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10 Things Not to Say to a Suicidal Person

10 Things Not to Say to a Suicidal Person

  “I want to kill myself.”  Those five words are a shock to hear, a dreadful pronouncement from a friend or family member you do not want to lose. You recoil at the thought. How could they want to die? As unwelcome as those words are to your ears, your loved one has handed you […]

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“Better Mad than Dead”: Keeping a Friend’s Suicidal Thoughts Secret

“Better Mad than Dead”: Keeping a Friend’s Suicidal Thoughts Secret

Teenagers who think of suicide often  tell only their friends, and they make the friends promise to keep their suicidal thoughts secret. This puts the friends of a suicidal teen in a bind. Should they break their promise and tell an adult? Telling an adult poses problems. Doing so might end the friendship. The suicidal teen […]

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“Shame Festers in Dark Places”: Keeping Suicide Secret

“Shame Festers in Dark Places”: Keeping Suicide Secret

A friend recently sent me an anguished email about a friend of hers whose teenage daughter died the week before. The mother was telling others that the death was an accident, when it was unquestionably a suicide. This saddened my friend greatly – not only the suicide itself, but also the family’s shame, so intense […]

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Suicide Attempt Survivors

Wait, Who Is A Suicide Survivor Again?

Wait, Who Is A Suicide Survivor Again?

  Across the Internet and elsewhere, people apply the term suicide survivor to two different groups of people: 1) people who struggled with suicidal thoughts or attempted suicide, and survived, and 2) people who were never suicidal at all, but who lost a loved one to suicide.  In a post last year, I defined a suicide […]

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How to Find a Therapist Who Does Not Panic

How to Find a Therapist Who Does Not Panic

The wonderful blog attemptsurvivors.com recently published a post, “Wanted, Therapists Who Won’t Panic.” Some therapists do in fact panic when faced with a client who says he or she wants to die by suicide. This can take several forms. A panicky therapist may all too quickly recommend psychiatric hospitalization, even when it is not really […]

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Do You Blame Yourself for Thinking of Suicide?

Do You Blame Yourself for Thinking of Suicide?

“I had no idea what I had done to you, although I should have known it in retrospect. So I guess now is a good time to say I am sorry, although it is about 19 years too late.” Those words came from a dear friend of mine who went through a prolonged suicidal crisis […]

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Where Are They Now?: The Fate of Suicide Attempt Survivors

Where Are They Now?: The Fate of Suicide Attempt Survivors

Say someone wants to die so badly that they go to the Golden Gate Bridge to jump off. But then they are stopped from jumping. What happens to them afterward? You might think that, once freed from the authority figures who prevented their suicide on the bridge,  they still went on to by suicide. After all, […]

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Suicide Loss Survivors

“Mightier than the Sword”: Healing from a Spiteful Suicide Note

“Mightier than the Sword”: Healing from a Spiteful Suicide Note

“Mum, I could write to you for days, but I know nothing would actually make a difference to you,” the note begins. “You are much too ignorant and self concerned to even attempt to listen or understand, everyone knows that.” More hateful words follow, culminating with, “You are a waste of space, ignorant, and a […]

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“If Only”: Self-Blame After a Loved One’s Suicide

“If Only”: Self-Blame After a Loved One’s Suicide

“I should have _________.” “If only I _____________.” “Why didn’t I ____________?” Different people may fill in the blanks with different words, but the sentiments are the same: I am to blame. I should have been able to stop my loved one from dying. Feelings of self-blame affect many people who have lost a loved […]

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Unwritten Goodbyes: When There is No Suicide Note

Unwritten Goodbyes: When There is No Suicide Note

Suicide causes so much devastation in the living – so many overwhelming feelings, so many should-have-done’s and could-have-been’s, so many questions. Amid such heartbreak, many survivors also agonize about why their loved one did not leave a suicide note. Melinda McDonald, a blogger who lost her husband to suicide, wrote about this agony in a […]

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“Shame Festers in Dark Places”: Keeping Suicide Secret

“Shame Festers in Dark Places”: Keeping Suicide Secret

A friend recently sent me an anguished email about a friend of hers whose teenage daughter died the week before. The mother was telling others that the death was an accident, when it was unquestionably a suicide. This saddened my friend greatly – not only the suicide itself, but also the family’s shame, so intense […]

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Mental Health Professionals

For Therapists Who Want – or Need – to Improve Their Suicide Prevention Skills

For Therapists Who Want – or Need – to Improve Their Suicide Prevention Skills

If you are a psychotherapist, it is likely that your graduate studies included precious little training in suicide prevention. You can get that knowledge in other ways. To name a few: Practice Guidelines Several organizations have published guidelines for clinical practice with suicidal individuals. Those practice guidelines contain a wealth of information on topics related to […]

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“Woefully Inadequate”: Suicide Prevention Training in Graduate Schools

“Woefully Inadequate”: Suicide Prevention Training in Graduate Schools

With the exception of psychiatrists, most mental health professionals have received very little, if any, training in graduate school on suicide-related topics: “Competence in the assessment of suicidality is an essential clinical skill that has consistently been overlooked and dismissed by the colleges, universities, clinical training sites, and licensing bodies that prepare mental health professionals.” […]

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What is a Suicide Gesture?

What is a Suicide Gesture?

Many clinicians and researchers advocate for abandoning the term “suicide gesture,” but its use still persists. Over the last few years, several definitions have been reported: “…A suicide gesture is like a one person play in which the actor creates a dramatic effect, not by killing or even attempting to kill himself, but by feigning […]

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Is Suicide Inevitable for Some People?

Is Suicide Inevitable for Some People?

A 61-year-old man, E.H., survived suicide attempts, received care for depression in psychiatric hospitals, and battled alcoholism for many years. His father died by suicide. E.H. was convinced that one day he, too, would kill himself, and he did. Was his suicide inevitable? Ernest Hemingway, the famous author and the man described above, died by suicide […]

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Miscellaneous

Beyond Magic: How Do We Detect Suicidal Thoughts?

Beyond Magic: How Do We Detect Suicidal Thoughts?

No objective test exists for suicidal thoughts – no X-ray to detect broken hope, no CAT scan to reveal intolerable emotional pain, no blood test to expose toxic intentions. This reality is disappointing, even devastating. People understandably want professionals to predict and prevent suicide. For example, in the aftermath of the pilot Andreas Lubitz intentionally […]

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Transgender People and Suicide: The Tragedy, and the Hope

Transgender People and Suicide: The Tragedy, and the Hope

Written by on January 2, 2015 in All Posts, LGBT topics, Misc with 11 Comments

  Transgender youth and adults have far higher rates of suicidal thoughts and suicide attempts than the average person. Consider these research findings: The suicide rate among transgender adults in an international study was almost 800 per 100,000. In comparison, the suicide rate in the U.S. for all people is 13 per 100,000. (That study is […]

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The Military, Veterans, and Suicide

The Military, Veterans, and Suicide

On today, Memorial Day, I sadly note the dramatic increase in suicides among troops and veterans over the last decade or so. In a recent article, the New York Times reported devastating statistics: In 2002, the suicide rate among soldiers was roughly 10 per 100,000. Now the rate is 80% higher, at 18 per 100,000. […]

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Do Antidepressants Cause Suicide?

Do Antidepressants Cause Suicide?

Antidepressants and suicide are an odd combination. On the one hand, antidepressants reduce depression, which is a major cause of suicide. But – and this is an important “but” – there is also consistent evidence that, in a very small proportion of adolescents and young adults, antidepressants can trigger suicidal thoughts and suicide itself. Before I […]

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