Reasons for Living

“What Stops You from Killing Yourself?”

“What Stops You from Killing Yourself?”

I advise my students to ask their suicidal clients, “What stops you? What stops you from killing yourself?” Some are horrified. They see this almost as a dare, as if they are saying to a hurting, suicidal person, If you really wanted to kill yourself, you would have done it already. What stops you? To […]

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“When Hope is Gone Just Hang On”: More Songs Against Suicide

“When Hope is Gone Just Hang On”: More Songs Against Suicide

“Sad songs,” the line goes, “say so much.” And there are thousands of them. Many sad songs intensify a melancholy mood; some even extol suicide as a solution. Fewer and farther between are the songs that, while acknowledging the intense pain that fuels suicide, offer hope, encouragement, or inspiration to stay alive. In an earlier […]

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If You Are Suicidal, Envision Your Future Selves

If You Are Suicidal, Envision Your Future Selves

Suicide lies. It tells you that the way you feel now is the way you will feel forever. Hope itself can seem like a toxic lie, a set-up for disappointment. The present feels permanent, and the future feels foretold. Don’t fall for the lies. “The future,” as they say, “is unwritten.” Things can change. Things […]

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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 uninvited […]

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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 by suicide 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. […]

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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 Living?

What are Your Reasons for Living?

If you have suicidal thoughts, then 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 […]

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Why Prevent Suicide? Here Are My Reasons.

Why Prevent Suicide? Here Are My Reasons.

 “If someone’s life is so awful that they want to die by suicide, why stop them?” I am frequently asked some variation of this question, 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 […]

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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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