Getting Help For Myself

If you are thinking about suicide you are probably feeling alone and overwhelmed. You may feel guilty about your thoughts of suicide. You may desperately want to tell someone but are afraid to tell or not sure who to tell.

Tell someone, Tell anyone, Tell everyone

You are not alone, help is available and recovery is possible.

Keeping yourself safe is the first priority. Decide who you will tell and tell them as soon as possible.

If you are concerned for your immediate safety, have persistent intense thoughts of suicide please call 911 or have someone accompany you to the emergency department.

Within the City of London:

London Health Sciences Centre Emergency Department
800 Commissioners Road London, ON

Within Middlesex County:

Strathroy Middlesex General Hospital Emergency Department
395 Carrie Street Strathroy, ON

Residents of Middlesex County should go to the nearest hospital.

(*see: What to Expect from the Emergency Department)

If you are not sure how serious your situation is and/or find yourself in crisis thinking about suicide more often and/or your thoughts of suicide are increasing in intensity, please call:

  • Child & Youth Crisis Intake
  • (age 0-18)
  • 519.433.0334

Or visit the Mental Health and Addictions Crisis Center (MHDCC) located at:

  • 648 Huron Street
  • London, ON

Open for walk in support 24/7, 365 days year

If you are in distress and need to talk, contact:

  • The Support Line 519.601.8055 or 1.844.360.8055
  • Seniors Safety Line 866.299.1011 (multiple languages available)
  • Kids Helpline 800.668.6868
  • Good 2 Talk 1.866.925.5454
  • Online: www.yourlifecounts.org

What to Expect:

Each of these organizations is staffed with professionals or volunteers trained to assist you. They will talk to you about your thoughts of suicide calmly and without judgment and provide an outlet for you to share your thoughts and feelings. (see 25 Benefits of Talking). You will also be referred or connected to further supports depending upon your need which could include:

  • Inpatient or outpatient hospital services
  • Psychiatric assessments
  • Crisis support and stabilization
  • Community agency supports
  • Individual or group counselling

Safety will always be the first priority.

Things you can do to increase your safety:

  • Don’t be alone, call or visit someone you trust
  • Enlist the help of others, build a support system
  • Decide who you would call in a crisis and carry their contact information with you always
  • Remove the means of suicide from your environment i.e. firearms, medications
  • Do not use alcohol or drugs
  • Learn how to identify what triggers your thoughts of suicide and learn new ways of responding
  • Learn about mental illness
  • Look for a peer-support group
  • Identify your reasons for living and think about what you can do to strengthen them
Glad that you are alive.

Today may feel like the most difficult day of your life. You may feel embarrassed, guilty or you may even feel angry. You may be physically and emotionally exhausted. You may be wondering if you will always have thoughts of suicide or if you can recover. All of these emotions and thoughts are normal, and yes, there is hope, you can recover.

Leaving the emergency department

When you are discharged from the hospital you should have a plan for follow-up care. The plan should include any medications, scheduled appointments, referrals to other professional resources and a plan to stay safe.

The safety plan may include things you can do to calm yourself, reasons for living, who you would tell if thoughts of suicide return, contact numbers for local crisis lines, trusted friends or family members, family doctor, signs that suicidal thoughts or feelings may be returning and what to do about them. Share your safety plan with trusted family and friends.

Additionally, it is a good idea to remove access to methods you might use to suicide from your environment. Alcohol and drugs can also affect your thoughts and interact with medications. Refrain from using alcohol and drugs at this time.

Recovery

Recovery is a process not an event; it takes work. Only you can make yourself better but others are available to assist you.

Consider engaging a therapist to accompany you on your journey of recovery and with whom you believe you can develop a trusting therapeutic relationship.

The therapeutic relationship has many benefits. Here are just a few:

  • Provides an outlet to express your thoughts and feelings without judgment
  • Is focused on your needs, on a way to help you
  • You can talk with a therapist in ways you probably won’t talk with friends and family
  • A therapist will listen in ways that friends and family generally don’t
  • Offers an opportunity to “practice” relating to others in new ways that support your recovery
  • Offers an opportunity to enhance your problem solving skills
  • A therapist will be your cheerleader, believing in you until you believe in yourself

If you engage a therapist and do not feel it is working don’t give up on working with a professional, it may just be that the therapist you are currently working with is not a good fit for you. In that case, find another therapist.

Back home with family and friends

Returning home and facing your family and friends may be scary and you may feel awkward. How do you talk to them now? How will your suicide attempt change your relationships? Will they be angry with you? You are not alone, your family and friends may feel awkward too. They may be frightened for your ongoing safety.

It is important to build a support system around yourself; however, you want to avoid feeling like you are in a fish bowl. The goal is to have the needed support while maintaining the integrity of your relationships. You can do this by:

  • Letting your family and friends know how you want to be treated
  • Educate your family and friends about your pain in the best way you can
  • Negotiate a “check in” time to discuss your recovery i.e.: every Sunday at noon for 15-30 minutes, discuss how things have been since last “check in”, did you have difficulties, what did you do, how did you cope, what went well, progress with other professional supports etc.
  • Let family and friends know how they can tell if you are feeling unsafe
  • Let family and friends know how they can intervene when you are not feeling safe
  • Let family and friends know how they can help, be as specific as possible i.e.: accompany you to appointments; help find information to learn about mental illness etc.
  • Let family and friends know what is helpful and unhelpful to you, be specific

Spouses/Partners

Just as you are experiencing various emotions so too is your spouse. They may be having feelings of guilt, shock and confusion to name a few. They may fear talking about your suicide attempt will make you feel worse. This is bigger than both of you. Individual and/or couples counselling may be helpful. Talking about and sharing the experience from each other’s perspective will help to rebuild trust and foster a supportive relationship.

Parents

As a parent it is heartbreaking to watch a child who is in so much pain. We want to be able to fix everything and protect our children from everything. Part of growing up is learning to handle challenges on our own and sometimes that means not sharing with our parents. Sometimes we want to spare our parents the pain of knowing. Your parents love you and want to help you in any way they can. It is important that you talk to someone (see 25 Benefits of Talking). If you are not ready or able to share with your parents seek assistance from a professional counselling, faith leader or other trusted adult who can help you sort things out.

Children

When a parent attempts suicide a child may consciously or unconsciously blame themselves believing they are in some way not good enough. They need to know that you were sick and they are not at fault. Family, individual and/or group counselling just for kids can help your child learn about your illness and sort out their thoughts and feelings and regain a sense of safety.

Siblings

Your brother(s) and sister(s) may also be very confused and not sure how to act around you. You can help reduce the awkwardness by letting them know how to treat you and how they can help you. See the points above.