If you are contemplating suicide right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, get ahold of Crisis Text Line by texting START to 741741, or, if you are LGBTQ, call Trevor Project at 1-866-488-7386. These are all incredible resources that can help you.

Seriously, if you need help because you feel like you are going to harm yourself, call one of the numbers above or find a crisis place in your area and go there, including going to the Emergency Room. It is no good to simply sit there in your pain and suffering.

With this all in mind, it is necessary now to speak to people who might suffer from suicidal thoughts but are not on the verge of harming themselves. These people, people like myself at the moment, need to develop a plan of action so that when their mind does turn to suicide and make it a more realistic option, then you have some plan in place to actually save your life. 

First, you need to find a partner. When you become suicidal, you are not thinking straight. This is the problem. Thus, it is not wise or prudent or really fair to ask yourself to carry out your plan of action to save yourself all by your lonesome. Thus, you need to find a partner. This can be anyone that you trust, but you have to trust that they will do the hard things necessary to get you into treatment. This can be a spouse, a romantic partner, a sibling, a parent, or a good friend. This is a person you need to be able to call or go to when things get terrible and they will put your plan of action into motion.

Second, you need to develop a plan, with your partner, about what will happen with you kids, dog, cat, fish, apartment, whatever. This is important. My wife, who is my partner, and I know exactly who to call to take care of our kids. We know that all we have to do is call and these people, my parents, will basically drop everything and come to get our kids and take them. They lift that burden off of us in what is, admittedly, a very hectic and stressful time.

Third, develop a plan for where you go in the clase of an emergency. Talk to your counselor and/or psychiatrist about the best place for you to go. It might not be where you think. But, find that place and go to that place. For me, it is 20 miles away, a psychiatric hospital dedicated to in-patient care that is associated with my psychiatrist’s practice. And, because they are part of my psychiatrist’s office, they have all of my insurance information available and make it that much easier to get through the process.

[One thing you will notice is that the goal is to try and make everything easier in the midst of crisis.]

Once you are checked in, get better. That is your only goal. But, the plan of action for a suicidal person has to also contain what to do when you get out of the hospital.

First, know who is going to pick you up. This is usually your partner or a person that can legally sign for you as you are discharged. It is important that they are there as you obviously need a ride home and you also need support.

Second, ease back into life. Don’t go to work, don’t try and do the housework, don’t try and do the things you normally do. Take it slow. Stuff will get done or you’ll eat Chinese out of paper cartons. Whatever. Don’t sweat it. And make sure your partner or your spouse or someone is there to help you along the way. 

Third, once you do ease back into life, keep everybody abrest of what you are feeling and how you are doing. It’s important to let everyone know you are doing ok because they worry. Or, at least, everyone who is close to you and who loves you and who knew you were in the hospital. It was also not an easy time for them and letting them know how you are doing, even if it is extremely poorly, help everyone in the long run. 

​And, when necessary, repeat.