Feeling suicidal... help!

Originally Published: December 31, 1969 - Last Updated / Reviewed On: June 13, 2014
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Alice,

What do you do if you feel suicidal and don't have anyone to tell?

Dear Reader,

Dealing with serious thoughts of suicide can be scary, overwhelming, and consuming. It was a big step to write in about having suicidal feelings. This is a step in the direction of living. From here, you can choose to reach out to others who can help you. If you aren't able to tell a friend or family member you need help, the good news is that there are trained professionals waiting to help you through this.

While it's not totally clear from what you wrote, it seems that you may go through times when you feel more vulnerable to harming yourself. In these times, you may be in crisis. During crisis, part of you might want to die, but another part of you — if even a small part — wants to live.

During crisis, getting in touch with professionals can provide relief, understanding, and support. You can get talk with a trained counselor through a telephone crisis hotline. There are many hotlines; the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a great place to start because they are free, open every day, all day, and confidential. You can reach them at 1.800.273.TALK (-8255). You don't have to know what to say when you call — if you don't know where to start or how to explain your feelings, you can just say "I need help." The counselor you speak with will take it from there.

Or maybe you're not in crisis and in danger of doing immediate harm to yourself right now. In this case, how would you feel about making an appointment with a mental health professional to explore your suicidal thoughts? Through this, you may be able to better understand and manage any future suicidal thoughts and feelings. If you're at Columbia University, you can call Counseling and Psychological Services at x4-2878 to arrange an appointment with a counselor. If you're at another college or university, you can contact your school's student mental health service center. If you're not eligible for university services, and you've got health insurance, the health insurance company might have a list of providers for you to choose from. You can also ask your primary health care provider for a recommendation to a mental health provider.

In any case, you can be proud for reaching out to get help dealing with this difficult issue. Please continue to reach out and get the help you deserve. Talking with someone may help to remind yourself about that part of you that wants to live.

Please hang in there,

Alice

Here are other helpful resources you can contact, whether or not you are in a crisis, are:

Befrienders International
Gateway to 1,700 suicide and emotional helplines worldwide and on the Net.

The Samaritans
P.O. Box 1259
Madison Square Station
New York, NY 10159
24-hour Hotline [and Safe Place "Suicide Survivor" Support Groups Info]: 212.673.3000

American Association of Suicidology (AAS)
4201 Connecticut Avenue, N.W.
Suite 310
Washington, DC 20008
202.237.2280
Fax: 202.237.2282
AAS E-mail

Suicide Awareness\Voices of Education (SA\VE)
P.O. Box 24507
Minneapolis, MN 55424-0507
1.800.273.TALK (8255)