If You Think of Suicide…

Is a Suicide Attempt a Cry for Help?

Is a Suicide Attempt a Cry for Help?

“She is not really suicidal. She just wants attention.” “He did not really attempt suicide. It was just a cry for help.” “If she had really wanted to die, she’d be dead.” These are often the reactions of friends and family to a suicidal person. Sometimes, it is true that a person who made what […]

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Shame, Stigma, and Suicidality

Shame, Stigma, and Suicidality

Many people feel ashamed of their suicidal thoughts. This shame can be about any number of things, often contradictory: thinking of suicide, being unable to stop thinking of suicide, not acting on suicidal thoughts, acting on suicidal thoughts, and so on. Shame especially can follow a suicide attempt. One small study found that most of the […]

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The People You Would Leave Behind

The People You Would Leave Behind

“I’m a burden. They’ll be better off without me.” “They’ll get over it.” “Nobody will care that I’m gone.” Do you tell yourself any of these things? Many people who think of suicide do. In fact, a leading expert in suicide research, Thomas Joiner Jr., PhD, writes that seeing yourself as a burden to others is a […]

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What are Your Reasons for Dying – and for Living?

What are Your Reasons for Dying – and for Living?

You probably have clearly spelled out in your head your reasons for dying. These reasons may taunt you, incessantly reminding you of what is wrong with your life, perhaps even the world. Do you pay more attention to your reasons for dying than your reasons for living? People’s reasons for living typically are unique to […]

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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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“If Someone’s Life is So Awful that They Want to Die, Why Stop Them?”

“If Someone’s Life is So Awful that They Want to Die, Why Stop Them?”

  I have been asked some variation of this question more than once – even by mental health professionals. Once, a therapist told me about a client of hers with schizophrenia. “He is miserable, and he will always have schizophrenia. I think letting him kill himself is humane.” Indeed, there is a whole movement around […]

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The Hope Box

The Hope Box

Suicidal thoughts and hope exist on opposite ends of the spectrum, and one withers in the face of the other. A good means for challenging suicidal thoughts, then, is to cultivate hope. That is the aim of the “hope box.” The premise is simple: Get a box (or a bag, or a large envelope, or […]

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Are You Thinking of Killing Yourself?

Are You Thinking of Killing Yourself?

I cannot pretend to understand your situation. You are a stranger, first of all, and everybody’s story is unique. So I’ll refrain from the clichés: “It’ll get better.” “This too shall pass.” “You are a good person and deserve to live.” Those statements may well be true, and I hope you will consider them. But […]

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Will I Be Committed to a Mental Hospital if I Tell a Therapist about my Suicidal Thoughts?

Will I Be Committed to a Mental Hospital if I Tell a Therapist about my Suicidal Thoughts?

You may be seriously considering suicide and yet not want to tell a therapist, because you fear landing in a mental hospital. If you go to a therapist or psychiatrist and tell them you are seriously thinking of killing yourself, that does not necessarily mean you will be hospitalized. Hospitals are very strict these days […]

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