How To Take Care Of Yourself
Practice self-care. Taking care of yourself is an important part of your journey. Your self-care activities can be anything that provides an outlet for stress, promotes wellbeing, and fosters your resilience. You can find some resources for coping tools here.
Make a safety plan. Have a step-by-step plan ready for if/when you feel depressed, suicidal, or in crisis, so you can start at step one and continue through the steps until you feel safe. Having a template on hand with an established plan may be helpful, or you can get help and guidance at https://www.mysafetyplan.org/.
When you are ready, talking about your own journey can help others who are coping with their own suicidal thoughts and emotions. The decision to share one’s lived experience with suicide may feel scary – especially the first time you share it. While the decision to share should not be taken lightly, your experiences do not need to fit into a perfect set of steps in order to be meaningful. If you are considering sharing your story, we recommend that you use this storytelling checklist to help you determine how to share your story safely and effectively – for yourself and others.
Supporting Loved Ones
Be present and listen. Be an active part of your loved ones’ support systems and check in with them often. If they show any warning signs for suicide, be direct and ask them if they are thinking of suicide. Ask about their self-care and safety plan to support them. If possible, be a part of their safety plan. Listen to their story and their feelings without offering advice or judgment.
Practice empathy. Many attempt survivors report feeling guilt. You can help diminish their guilt. Let your loved one know that they have nothing to feel guilty about.
Show compassion. Let them know that they are still loved and that they are an important part of your life. Spend time with them, affirm them, and show affection. Learn more about actions you can take to help someone after a suicide attempt here.
Be a support and take care of yourself. Being a support for your loved one who attempted suicide can bring up your own feelings. The Lifeline is always here to talk or chat, both for crisis intervention and to support allies and family. Helping a loved one through a crisis is never easy. Seeking out your own support from your own safe people or counselor can be helpful.
Terry Wise survived a suicide attempt in her thirties and has since become a well-known author and speaker.
"If I was to sum up my life today, the word that I would use to describe it is fulfilling."Watch Terry's Story
Bart is a clinical psychologist whose past has shaped how he approaches life and his career today.
"For me, it’s important because I think there’s a lot of us. We’re really afraid to tell our stories because we’re afraid we’re going to lose our jobs. People are going to take our degrees away. They’re going to take our licenses away. They’re going to think I’m not a good therapist. What that means is that we don’t talk about it. And if we view other providers this way, what does it say about the people that we treat if we have this view of providers as being “damaged goods” or “wounded?”Read Bart's Story
Julia shares what she's learned as a suicide attempt survivor and hopes to educate those in a similar situation with a loved one.
"If anything, life is starting over now... I am going to be OK. I have survived a lot which has made me far from fragile."Read Julia's Story
Pablo plays a word game with himself to combat negative thinking, and it works!
"It’s just getting into the habit of recognizing it and then putting the brakes on it. And you just kind of keep doing that."Read Pablo's Story
Jordan, a suicide attempt survivor, says he was better able to cope with his depression once he accepted it.
"It's important to have a healthy emotional balance...[and] the best way to find that is to know yourself…know what makes you happy."Watch Jordan's Story
Jennifer wants to be a voice for those too afraid to speak up about mental illness and advocate for more accessible services.
"I’m hopeful that just maybe I can be one more voice that gets somebody somewhere to pay attention to the fact that there’s an actual...problem here and being quiet about it... deciding that it can only be spoken of in hushed tones and making it this taboo subject is not doing anybody any favors."Read Jennifer's Story
Patty thinks that the world is populated with survivors and knows that sharing stories is an important part of tapping into that network.
"I think it’s important for me to tell my story because people survive all kinds of things...What I’ve seen coast to coast, if a person is a survivor, it’s important that people should know that."Read Patty's Story