You are Precious
If you’ve thought of suicide or hurting yourself, help is just a call away.

“The bravest thing I ever did was continuing my life when I wanted to die.”
-Juliette Lewis


Asking for help is a sign of strength. The Lifeline website says, “No mat- ter what problems you’re dealing with, whether or not you’re thinking about suicide, if you need someone to lean on for emotional support, call the Lifeline.” Call for support, or ask for advice to help a friend. Calls are confidential, free, and available to everyone.

Call: 13 11 14

Your safety is top priority. If you’re in danger, or just need someone to talk to, make a call right away. You matter, you can get through this, and someone is waiting to talk to you. You’re not alone.

-Rachel, Jon, & Gary

Your life is still worth living: This pain won’t last forever

It’s OK to be at rock bottom. But don’t give in to the lies. Your life isn’t over. God has great things planned for you..

The most insidious thing about depression and hopelessness is the way they lie to you and then take away your means to prove them wrong.

Depression breaks into your brain, rewires all the logic signals to send only static, and then whispers: “You’re a failure, a burden. Give up. No one would miss you.” And even though you’d usually know that those are lies, the logic sensors are on static, and little by little, you start to think depression’s voice is the only one out there.

But it’s not. You are amazing. Even though you can’t see it right now.It’s OK that you can’t hear the deafening sound of how much your friends and family love you. That’s depression’s problem, not yours.

It’s not your fault that you can’t see how many great things God has in store for you. Depression is hiding those possibilities. But just because you can’t see the good things doesn’t mean they’re gone.

Hopeful things are all around you just outside your field of view. Believe in them. Have faith in what you can’t see. And then fight for the life that you’ll find on the other side of this darkness. Go to treatment for depression.

Reach out to your friends. There’s too much beauty that you’d miss if your life ended now. You are valuable; you are loved; you are the one and only child of God who can fulfill his beautiful purpose for you. This isn’t the end.

When Joseph’s brothers threw him into an empty well, he hit literal rock bottom. He was stuck in the dark, surrounded by stone walls, and with people who wanted to kill him waiting at the top.

He had every right to feel like his life was over, but he kept on living. Three more times, it looked like his life was over.

He lost his freedom and was sent to a foreign country as a slave. He started to build the best life he could in his new country, but then he was framed for a crime and sent to jail.

He won over the King’s chief butler and got a promise that the King would hear his story, but the butler broke his word. Finally, Joseph realized that, for the fourth time in his life, he was trapped with no options and no way out.

It was a time when most people would feel like giving up.But Joseph kept on living.

He couldn’t see any way things could get better, and he didn’t know how long he could hang on in a tiny jail for temporary prisoners.

But he believed that there was a way out even though he could see it. And there was. In one night, through miracles Joseph had only ever dreamed about, he was pardoned, freed, and promoted to royalty.

And because of Joseph’s position of power, the children of Israel survived a terrible famine.

Because Joseph chose to live, the Israelites, God’s chosen people, were saved from extinction. Think of the stories in the Bible –the blessings, the struggles, and the salvation that came to God’s people through history.

Most of those incredible adventures happened because one young man believed in something he couldn’t see. Joseph’s life meant more than he ever could have known.

Life is a gift. And even if you can’t see the good right now, it’s out there.

You might be at rock bottom, but you can find your way back into the light. Reach out for treatment. Take it one step at a time.

Fight for your life, and live to see the blessings God has for you. You’re never alone.

Getting help for suicidal thoughts:
There’s another way to stop the pain

When you feel like suicide is the only way, don’t believe it. That’s a lie depression tells. When depression and hopelessness become overwhelming, sometimes suicide might seem like the only way to escape the pain. But don’t believe it. That’s a lie depression is telling you.

You have other options, even though you may not be able to see them right now.

If you start to have thoughts that ending your life is the only choice for you, take a step back, and remind yourself of the truth:

• Understand that depression and hopelessness distort your perspec- tive, keeping you from seeing all your options and preventing you from making good decisions.
• Recognize that suicidal thoughts are the result of treatable con- ditions. You don’t have to feel this way forever
• Act as if there are better options out there than killing yourself, even though you may not be able to see them right now.
• Know that suicidal thoughts don’t last forever. If you can delay the urge to die by suicide, it may lessen. And eventually, as you recover and start to see more clearly, your suicidal thoughts will lift.

How to get help right now
If you are in danger of hurting yourself or attempting suicide, don’t wait. Reach out for help right away. Here are places you can go for help:

Call: 13 11 14

• Contact your doctor or mental health professional
• Reach out to a pastor, spiritual leader, or a safe person in your faith community
• Talk to a trusted friend or someone you love
• Call 000 or your local emergency number

How to manage suicidal thoughts
Thinking about suicide is not unusual. At least out of every five people will have suicidal thoughts at some point in their lives. However, the vast majority of people do not act on those thoughts.Dying by suicide isn’t common, but it’s a risk you should take seriously, and if you are having thoughts of suicide, especially overwhelming urges to end your life, don’t ignore them.

Talk to your doctor or mental health professional about your suicidal thoughts so that he or she can help treat the underlying conditions that may be causing them. Your provider can also give you strategies to manage suicidal thoughts until they lessen.

Follow the advice on the next page to make a personal safety plan, either with your therapist or with a trusted friend. Your safety plan will help you remember who to call in a suicidal crisis, guide you to make your environment safe and remind you of your reasons to stay alive. Seeking treatment is an essential part of dealing with suicidal thoughts.

Your doctor or mental health professional will help you find the next steps to take. Therapy may stretch you, but it will get easier as you go along. The more you engage in healthy coping habits, the easier and more natural they will become. Recovery is work, though it is often not as hard as fighting suicidal thoughts all alone. And once you find the right strategy, feeling better will be worth it.

“The scars you can’t see are the ones that hurt the most.” -Michelle Hodkin,
The Becoming of Noah Shaw

Self-injury is meeting a need for you right now, otherwise you wouldn’t have that urge. But maybe there’s another way to reach that same goal. To find out, you’ll have to get curious. If you feel an urge to hurt yourself at times, you’re not alone. Some studies have shown that as many as 20 percent of high-school students and 40 percent of college students have self-harmed at some point.

Self-harm, or non-suicidal self-injury, includes things like cutting or burning your skin, banging your head against a wall, picking at wounds on your skin, or any- thing you feel an urge to do that causes damage to your body.

But even though non-suicidal self-injury is common, especially for younger people,some people still have a hard time talking about it. And thanks to that silence, some of us don’t realize that it’s possible to replace self-harm with something else. Self-injury is meeting a need for you right now, otherwise you wouldn’t feel that urge. But maybe there’s another way to reach that same goal. To find out, you’ll have to get curious.

Get curious – What need does self-harm meet for you?
The first step to replacing non-suicidal self-injury with something else is determining why you feel the desire to hurt yourself.

What need is it meeting? Are you looking for a distraction from emotional pain? Feel uncomfortable in your body? Want to talk to someone, but don’t have the words to start a conversation? “I know from experience that it does not work to simply replace self-harm without understanding what fuels the urges for the behaviour,” crisis counselor Lauren Coe writes in Psychology Today.

She suggests that when you feel an urge to self-harm, you explore it carefully. Why do you want to harm yourself? What will you get out of it? “Thinking about these things will better prepare you to explore alternatives to self- harm,” Coe says.


Get creative – How else can you meet that need?
Once you know what self-harm is doing for you, it’s time to get creative. On your own, or with the help of a trusted friend or counselor, brainstorm ways to address your needs without causing damage.

Want to talk to someone but don’t know how to start a conversation? Try sending a text to a few people you trust that says “I feel like hurting myself, and I need someone to talk to. Can you help?” Or call/text the national suicide hotline to talk to someone right away. Need to feel something to distract you from emo- tional pain?

Try snapping a rubber band against your wrist to distract you without causing lasting damage. Need to bang your head against a wall to relieve stress? Can you put a pillow between your head and the wall so you can bang without bruising?

Alternatives to Try – Find what is helpful
Remember, a replacement for self-harm will only work if it meets your spe- cific needs, so not all these ideas will be right for you. Scan through them, and see if something makes sense. Or maybe, after reading our brainstorm, you’ll come up with an idea of your own. It’s OK if it takes a little time to find the right replacement for self-injury. You’re making progress just by thinking about it, and that’s something to celebrate!

Distract yourself for a while.The urge to harm comes and goes for most people, and if you can put it off when it’s strong, it will get weaker, and then finally pass. Coe says if she can convince herself to wait for 20 minutes, her desire to harm will often lessen. You can distract yourself in many ways:
Self-injury is meeting a need for you right now, otherwise you wouldn’t have that urge. But maybe there’s another way to reach that same goal. To find out, you’ll have to get curious.
• Watching TV
• Making a snack or cup of tea
• Going for a walk

• Taking a shower
• Calling or texting a friend

Engage your senses in a soothing way
Some people self-harm because they hurt inside and want to feel something physically.

If that’s you, maybe you can find a comforting way to engage your senses instead of a painful one. Here are some ideas:

• Go somewhere else – if you’re inside, go out. If you’re in your room, try the living room.
• Give yourself a massage with scented oil
• Take a bath or shower and wash your arms, or another part of your
body with a scented soap you enjoy
• Make a playlist for times like this and listen to it.
• Curl up with a soft blanket, and maybe a good book.
• Draw, paint, or color
• Do a chore you can get lost in, like washing dishes with scented soap
• Hold something in your hand, such as a smooth rock or a stress ball

What You Can Do When You Feel Like Self-Harming

Let out your anger.
If self-harm is a way to relieve pent-up anger, look for other things you can do to release those feelings.
A few ideas include:
• Ripping up pieces of paper
• An aggressive run or gym workout
• Hitting a pillow or punching bag
• Scribbling wildly in a notebook
• Popping balloons
• Smashing a tower of cardboard boxes
• Dancing to music that matches your mood
• Screaming and yelling in your pillow, your yard, or anywhere safe

Find a substitute sensation.
If you can’t seem to replace the experience of self- harming, try to replicate the sensation in ways that won’t cause you lasting harm.
Here are some options:
• Gently snapping a rubber band against your wrist
• Banging your head against a pillow or soft surface
• Drawing on your skin with a red felt- tipped marker (pens are too sharp)
• Rubbing a piece of ice on your skin
• Clapping hard or stomping your feet loudly

Cry. It’s OK to cry. A wise person once said that “crying is how your heart speaks when your lips can’t explain the pain you feel.” There’s nothing shameful about it. It’s healthy and healing. Find a safe place and let it all out. If it helps, you can watch a sad movie, or play music to help the tears get started.

Write about how you feel.Get a journal, and when you feel an urge to harm yourself, write it down. For Coe, it helps to describe her feelings in detail. “Sometimes the urge to self-harm can feel like a volcano erupting in my entire body and other times it’s like an annoying itch that won’t go away. Either way, it’s better to put these feelings into words rather than let them fester inside,” she says.

Connect with someone you love. Sometimes, knowing that you’re loved and cared about can make a big difference. Text or call a trusted friend you’ve picked out ahead of time. But have a plan in case your friends don’t respond to your call or text.

Remind yourself that they love you and that you’ve started the conversation, which is a positive step. Hugging a loved one or a pet can help too. Snuggle up with your cat or dog, pet them, and listen to the relaxing purring or panting sounds. The sensation can be very healing.

“Sometimes the urge to self-harm can feel like a volcano erupting in my entire body.” –Lauren Coe

Move f you’re inside, go out for a walk. If you’ve been sitting on your couch, do some exercises. Put on a song and just jump around while you listen. Moving makes it harder to self-harm and might provide a welcome distraction

Self-harming can feel unavoidable. It can seem like the only way to cope with what you’re going through. But keep trying to find another option. Use this list as a starting point, and it’s only the beginning. Talk to your doctor, your mental health professional, or friends that you trust about ideas that might work for you. Find a way to give your brain the release it needs, and let your body heal. You can do this. We have faith in you.

“Fighting back against suicidal thoughts:

Seven steps to creating your personal safety plan

One of the best ways to prepare for times when thoughts of suicide become overwhelming is to create a personal safety plan. Your safety plan is a written road map for times when you’re fighting against the urge to end your life.

Choose a day when you have hope for life, or at least when you aren’t overwhelmed by suicidal thoughts. Then, sit down with your counselor, a pastor, or a friend you can trust, and write out a plan to keep you alive. You can make it all in one sitting, or work on it over time. Make changes whenever you need to. Here are seven steps to creating your personal safety plan.

After you read up, be sure to bring your full questionnaire to your doctor or therapist. He or she will look at your answers individually and make a treatment plan.

STEP 1 If you scored anything higher than a zero on the final question, you need to talk to someone you trust as soon as you can.

Know your warning signs. To find your warning signs, ask yourself:

What kinds of situations, thoughts, feelings, behaviour patterns, or sensations in your body do you feel when you’re not doing well and may start thinking of suicide? .Do you:

• Fall behind on school or work projects?
• Stay in bed much longer than usual? •
• Start to get in more fights with your family? •
• Work such long hours that you miss food or sleep?

Whatever your warning signs, watch for them. When they pop up, move on stage two of your plan. It’s also helpful to tell loved ones, mental health professionals, and other people you trust about your warning signs so they can support you even when you haven’t yet realised you need help.

Choose coping strategies you can use on your own. The second stage of your personal safety plan should be a list of things you can do without reaching out to others. Ask yourself: What can I do to distract, relax, or soothe myself? What kind of physical activity can I do? The goal is to steer your mind away from suicidal thoughts.

• Can you watch a funny movie to distract yourself?
• Would a jog or bike ride help you feel different?
• Would some stretches or a warm bath with essential oils be relaxing?

Work with your counselor, friend, or support system to choose strategies that have worked for you before, or that you feel will work well in the future. You can use these coping strategies when you have mild suicidal thoughts or even when you notice warning signs. This may be all you need, but when your coping strategies aren’t quite enough, it’s time to implement part three.

STEP 3 Think of people and places that take your mind off suicide.Make a list of the places you can you go that help you feel more grounded, or people you can call, text, or meet up with to feel better

• Do you like going to the park? Zoos? The movies?
• Who can you text to get your mind off your feelings
• Is there a friend you can meet for coffee or lunch?

At this phase, you are looking for friends or places to distract you from your suicidal thoughts. If distraction isn’t enough and you need to find a safe person, go to the next step.

Name the people you can call in a crisis. Make a list of friends, family members, or spiritual leaders who you feel safe talking to when your suicidal thoughts are intense, and you don’t believe you can cope on your own.

Include contact info for your people in the safety plan, so you don’t have to search for phone numbers next time a suicidal crisis strikes.

• Who in your family can you talk to in a crisis? Parents? Siblings? Others?
• Which friends can you trust to be safe for you if you need to talk at a crisis moment?
• Who else can you call? Is there a leader at your church that you trust?

Remember that if your contacts don’t pick up right away, they still care about you.

If you aren’t able to reach anyone, or if you talk with someone and need more support, move on to part five.

List mental health providers and crisis phone numbers. In addition to family and friends, you’ll want to make a list of mental health professionals, hospitals, and your therapist, with their contact information.

Note the hours when businesses are open. Also, include 24-hour crisis hotlines so that you have someone to talk with at any hour. In the moment, you’ll want these numbers easy to find.

• What’s your therapists’ work phone? What times can you call?
• What is the closest hospital to you? What are its hours?

Make your environment safe. Ask yourself: Which items around your house would you use if you tried to end your life? Or, if you have tried to kill your- self in the past, what did you use? Make sure
all of these items, along with any accessible firearms, are safely locked away with someone other than you guarding the key.

Don’t wait to experience further suicidal thoughts to imp- lement your safe-environment plan. Get those dangerous items out of your reach as soon as possible.

• Do you have any guns around the house? Give them to a friend, if local laws allow, or lock them up safely and have someone else take charge of the keys. Do the same with knives, rope, and anything you might be tempted to use as a weapon when suicidal thoughts attack.
• Do you take medication that could be dangerous in more substantial doses? If so, can a family member keep the bottle locked away and set out your daily doses for you?
• What else around your house might be dangerous for you? Work with your friend or therapist to make a plan for each item of concern, and to make sure there’s nothing you’ve missed.

Special note on firearms: If you have access to a gun, getting it out of your reach is critical to your safety. People who try to kill themselves without a firearm die only 5 percent of the time – that means 95 percent of people who try to die from suicide without a gun can still experience the joy of living! But people who try to end their lives with a firearm die 90 percent of the time. Guns are ext- remely unsafe for people at risk of suicide Make sure any firearms in your house are given to a friend or locked away so you cannot reach them. Talk with your therapist and the local police department about the gun laws in your area, so your lifesaving plan is both safe and legal.

 Remember your reasons to live. When you’re in a crisis, and any other time too, remind yourself of the beautiful parts of life– why you want to keep on living. Write those reasons down in your safety plan so that when depression and hopelessness say you have nothing to live for, you’ll know the truth.

Ask your friends for help and come up with as many reasons to live as you can. And as you feel better, you’ll be able to add more. These reasons are a weapon to fight lying suicidal thoughts.

• Who do you love? Your family? Your friends? A beloved pet? Write them down. You want to live so you can take care of those people, and experience more of their lives
• What do you enjoy doing? Or, if depression has sapped those feelings away for now, what did you use to enjoy?

If you used to love painting, write it down. Imagine yourself feeling well enough to enjoy making art again. You can get there.

• What are the beautiful moments in life? Do you love hiking in nature? Sitting on the seashore? Shopping with friends? What can you look forward to?

When you’re in a crisis, and any other time too, remind yourself of the beautiful parts of life. Write your reasons down in your safety plan so that when depression and hopelessness say you have nothing to live, you’ll know the truth.

• Make room for unexpected blessings. Life may seem dreary right now, but none of us know what the future holds. Imagine that the rest of your life is a gift that God wants to give you. Choose to live so you can see what’s inside that gift.

Read through your reasons to live whenever suicidal thoughts strike, and any other time, as often as you want to. It’s helpful to remind yourself of the beauty in life. You’ll be able to experience that beauty so much more once your depression recedes.

Recovery will take time. You may not feel better right away. But with treatment, and patience, your depression, and the desire to end your life, will lessen, and then finally fade away. Until that happens, know you aren’t alone, and hang on. You’re stronger than this!

#BeThe1 To Help Save a Life

Suicide is a major public health concern.

Knowing the warning signs for suicide and how to get help can help save lives.

If you know someone in crisis:

Call 13 11 14

Services are free and available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The behaviours listed below may be signs that someone is thinking about suicide:

• Talking about wanting to die or wanting to kill themselves

• Talking about feeling empty, hopeless, or having no reason to live

• Making a plan or looking for a way to kill themselves, such as searching for lethal methods online, stockpiling pills, or buying a gun

• Talking about great guilt or shame

• Talking about feeling trapped or feeling that there are no solutions

• Feeling unbearable pain (emotional pain or physical pain)

• Talking about being a burden to others

• Using alcohol or drugs more often

• Acting anxious or agitated

• Withdrawing from family and friends

• Changing eating and/or sleeping habits

• Showing rage or talking about revenge

• Taking great risks that could lead to death, such as driving extremely fast

• Talking or thinking about death often

• Displaying extreme mood swings, suddenly changing from very sad to very calm or happy

• Giving away important possessions

• Saying goodbye to friends and family

• Putting affairs in order, making a will.

If these warning signs apply to you or someone you know, get help as soon as possible, particuarly if the behavior is new or increased recently.

#BeThe1To help someone in emotional pain.

Here are five steps you can take:
1. ASK: “Are you thinking about killing yourself?” It’s not an easy question, but studies show that asking at-risk individuals if they are suicidal does not increase suicides or suicidal thoughts.
2. KEEP THEM SAFE: Reducing a suicidal per- son’s access to highly lethal items or places is an important part of suicide prevention. While this is not always easy, asking if the at-risk person has a plan and removing or disabling the lethal means can make a difference.
3. BE THERE: Listen carefully and learn what the person thinks and feels. Research suggests ack- nowledging and talking about suicide may, in fact, reduce rather than increase suicidal thoughts.
4. HELP THEM CONNECT: Save the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline’s number, so it’s in your phone, when you need it: 13 11 14 You can also help to make a connection with a trusted individual like a family member, friend, spiritual advisor, or mental health professional.
5. STAY CONNECTED: Staying in touch after a crisis or after being discharged from care can make a difference. Studies have shown the number of suicide deaths goes down when someone follows up with the at-risk person. It is important to note that suicide is not a normal response to stress. Suicidal thoughts or actions are a sign of extreme distress, not a harmless bid for attention, and should not be ignored.
Often, family and friends are the first to recognise the warning signs of suicide and can be the first step toward helping an at-risk individual find treatment with someone who specializes in diagnosing and treating mental health conditions.

Treatments and Therapies
Multiple types of psychosocial interventions, including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Dialectical Behavior Therapy, have been found to help individuals who have tried to die by suicide. These types of interventions may prevent some- one from trying again. Some individuals at risk for suicide might benefit from medication. Doctors and patients can work together to find the best medication.

Safety Planning: Personalized safety planning has been shown to help reduce suicidal thoughts and actions. Patients work with a caregiver to develop a plan that describes ways to limit access to lethal means such as firearms, pills, or poisons. The plan also lists coping strategies and people and resources that can help in a crisis.

Follow-up phone calls: Research has shown that when at-risk patients receive further screen- ing, a Safety Plan intervention, and a series of supportive phone calls, their risk of suicide goes down.
-Article from To learn more, please visit

Resources: Treatment, Hotlines, and Finding Help

Do you feel at risk for suicide or self-harm?

Talk to someone right now. call 1-13 11 14 or go to to chat online. 

Do you know someone who may need Help?

You can call or message the suicide preven- tion lifeline numbers above for advice in helping someone else.

Or visit

Do you want to find a therapist?

Talk to your doctor

The fourth booklet in this series may also help.

Do you want to join a local support group?

Click to download a PDF copy of this lesson

Click to download a PDF copy of this lesson