young woman with blonde hair at sunset looking peaceful

Editor’s note: If you experience suicidal thoughts or have lost someone to suicide, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741-741.

There have been many times in my life where I’ve been ready to die by suicide. Sometimes the world gets to be a little too loud for me. The walls seem to be closing in and it feels as though ending my life may be the only option. Here’s why I’m so glad I fought through those suicidal thoughts.

If I had ended my life all the times I wanted to, there are so many things I wouldn’t have gotten to experience. Like meeting my husband, whom I adore. Or meeting my dog, who I’ve found is my soulmate. Or meeting my best friend, who makes me laugh like no other. I would have missed out on my parents’ 30th wedding anniversary, which gives me hope love can last forever. Love. How important love is. Without it, what would we, as humans, have to live for? I would have missed out on the cool wind on my face on a beautiful fall day. I wouldn’t have been able to say goodbye to a dog that changed my life, when her life so suddenly ended. I wouldn’t have been hospitalized and realized I needed to change my way of life and my way of thinking. I would have missed so much.

Don’t get me wrong. There are still so many days, (too many days), where I wish my life would end. Sometimes it’s hard to see the point in continuing on. Paying bills, stressing about work, worrying about money. But then I hear a song I find so beautiful, it makes me cry. Or I wake up to a beautiful sunrise and listen to the birds singing their morning song. Or I see my husband smile, simply because he is seeing me after a long day at work. Or I watch my dog stick his head out the window in the car and I realize how little he has to care about. I think to myself: there’s no reason I can’t be as happy as he is with his head out the window and the wind in his face.

If I had ended my life all the times I wanted to, I wouldn’t be here right now  I wouldn’t be able to share my story with other people who struggle with depression, bipolar disorderanxiety, etc. I would be somewhere I’m not even sure exists.

What lies ahead is what keeps me going the most. Knowing that one day I will have a child, or knowing I get to grow old with my husband and some day meet our grandchildren. All the dogs I will get to own. All the beautiful sunsets I will get to see. But most importantly, seeing the person I will grow to be. Seeing the person who will fight tooth and nail to beat this mental illness. I am stronger than my suicidal thoughts. And I will continue to fight those feelings for, I’m sure, the rest of my life.

To anyone struggling, please think of all the things you will leave behind. Every beautiful day with perfect weather, every person you have yet to meet. The jobs you could have that may change your life, like mine has. I have met so many wonderful people I wouldn’t have met had I ended my life all the times I wanted to. There is hope. There is always hope. Please remember that.

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.

If you need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, the Trevor Project at 1-866-488-7386 or text “HOME” to 741-741. Head here for a list of crisis centers around the world.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Photo by Jurica Koletić on Unsplash


It’s National Suicide Prevention Week (September 10-16) and you may be wondering how to get involved. Maybe you have a friend who’s struggling right now and want to show your support. Maybe you lost a loved one to suicide recently and want to connect with others who have gone through a similar loss. Or maybe you have personal experience with suicidal thoughts and want to do whatever you can to let others know they are not alone.

The problem is, sometimes we don’t exactly know what we can do to help. While posting the link to the suicide hotline is a good thing to do (seriously, don’t stop sharing it!) we want you to be aware of other great ways to get involved. From sending a subscription box to becoming a volunteer, there are so many ways to support suicide prevention this week.

Check out our suggestions below:

1. Raise money for a suicide prevention nonprofit on your Facebook page.

Posting the suicide prevention lifeline on Facebook is great, but while you’re there, why not start a personal fundraiser for suicide prevention? Facebook recently rolled out an update that made it easier for nonprofits to fundraise — and it’s now incredibly easy to join in. Simply go to a suicide prevention nonprofit Facebook page, and click the “create fundraiser” button located under the cover photo. Facebook will prompt you with questions about how much you’d like the raise and for how long you want to fundraise. It’s never been easier to set up a personal fundraiser!

Suicide prevention nonprofits you can fundraise for: To Write Love on Her Arms, The Trevor Project, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) and more.

2. Send a card to someone you know is struggling.

Get well cards aren’t just for people who are “physically” not feeling well. This Suicide Prevention Week, reach out and send a card, note, tweet or text to a friend who’s going through a tough time, has a history of depression or who doesn’t have a support system close by — chances are it will mean a lot to them.

hope street cards
via Hope Street Cards website

Our pick: Hope Street Cards

3. Volunteer for the Crisis Text Line or the Trevor Lifeline.

If you don’t have a lot of money to spare, but can donate your time, the Crisis Text Line (CTL) and The Trevor Project are always looking for volunteers. CTL works just like a traditional suicide hotline, but allows people the opportunity to reach out by texting in — click here to find out more. If you are interested in LGBT mental health issues, The Trevor Project is looking for Trevor Lifeline volunteers. Find out more here.

4. Join the National Day of Prayer.

If you are part of a faith community, Suicide Prevention Week can be a great time to raise awareness about suicide and mental illness. In honor of Suicide Prevention Day (September 10), the Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention is promoting a National Day of Prayer to pray for those whose lives have been touched by suicide. Praying for or sending positive thoughts to people who experience suicidal thoughts or have lost a loved one to suicide can be a valuable way to participate in Suicide Prevention Week.

5. Encourage your school or workplace to use a suicide screening program.

The Interactive Screening Program was created by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) as a way of reaching individuals who may be at risk for suicide. According to AFSP’s website, the evidence-based program is founded on four key principles: participant anonymity, personalized contact with counselors, connection to participant’s experience and interactive engagement. 

6. Order a self-care subscription box.

If finding the right words to say isn’t your forte, sometimes giving a thoughtful gift can help someone who is struggling. Subscription boxes can be a great pick-me-up for loved ones who may be struggling, and these mental health-themed ones can make your loved one feel validated and heard.

suscription box

Our picks: BuddyBox and Caring Crate (pictured above)

7. Sign up for a Mental Health First Aid training near you.

As someone who has taken this course, I cannot recommend it enough. Though it is a fairly long training, it is comprehensive and has the best video explaining psychosis I’ve ever seen. 10/10 would recommend. Find a course in your area here.

8. Request a letter from Letters Against Depression.

Sometimes it can feel hard to participate in Suicide Prevention Week if you are actively fighting your own suicidal thoughts each day. We want you to know it’s OK to prioritize your own mental health this week. A great way to do that is by signing up for a letter from Letters Against Depression, a nonprofit that sends out handwritten letters of hope and support to people who are struggling with mental illness. You can request a letter here.

letters against depression
via Letters Against Depression Facebook page

9. Sign up for an Out of the Darkness Walk.

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention hosts walks all over the U.S. raise money, bring communities together and open the dialogue about suicide. You can create a team with your co-workers or friends, walk in honor of someone lost to suicide and listen to speakers share how suicide prevention has touched their lives. To find a walk in your area, click here.

10. Reach out.

If you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts, reach out. Bring a casserole to a family member who is depressed and can’t get out of bed. Plan a one-on-one movie night with a friend who hasn’t been coming to social events because of anxiety. Give a hug to a co-worker who is stressed out to the point of tears. Reach out — the little things matter.

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.

If you need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text “START” to 741-741.

Photo via Hope Street Cards and Out of the Darkness Walks Facebook page.

The first time Joe saved my life, he did it with a Post-it note. It had the words “You are irreplaceable” written on it, and he meant it. He handed me the note as I hurried off to a meeting in Westminster — a meeting I had no intention of attending because I had concocted a plan that would have ended my life during the short commute. Over the past few years, Joe has repeatedly gone above and beyond as a friend and on several occasions, I’ve had him to thank for keeping me walking the tightrope that is life.

I can identify with the words of Stephen Fry, It’s hard to be friends with someone who’s depressed, but it is one of the kindest, noblest and best things you will ever do.”

It can be hard to be that friend, but to try and help a little, I’m going to share some of the things my friend Joe says and does that have been so vital in keeping me alive. Some may work for you and your friends, some may not, but I believe they’ll all give you pause for thought.

1. He’s quietly persistent and looks beyond the “I’m fine” mask

Joe is always there when I need him. He was the first person to realize my mental health was declining a few years ago and although we weren’t close friends at the time, he kept on giving me opportunities to open up until finally I did. Countless times since, Joe has picked up on the signs that all is not well and he’s quietly and persistently pushed me to open up and look for the support I need. He doesn’t believe me when I say “I’m fine.” He looks beyond the mask when others choose not to.  

2. He uses humor.

Even in the darkest moments, Joe has used humor (and “West Wing” quotes) to help to shed some light on darkness. Being suicidal or trying desperately to save yourself from self-harming or reckless behavior is no laughing matter, but being able to tap into the humorous side of things can really help to move the conversation forward. Joe’s humor also helps me to realize he’s not scared of the conversation we’re having and that I can be honest and say what’s really on my mind, no matter how awful it might be.  

3. He uses his knowledge of me to inspire me

It was Joe who first told me I should open up to my network about my struggles with my mental health. He suggested that in the long term, my experiences would be a strength, not a weakness. He knows I’m passionate about promoting positive mental health and if I’m on the verge of a bad decision, he often takes me down the route of an alternative decision — a positive one — and demonstrates how it would be great modeling to the people in my network who look to me for guidance. In the darkest moments, he talks to me about a future version of myself who made it through this moment and is using my struggle to inspire others to continue fighting.   

4. He encourages me to follow the advice I would give to others

Joe is quick to point out when I am being less kind to myself than I would be to someone else, or if my proposed actions are not those I’d advise. He often takes the words I say and asks me, “If a 14-year-old girl said that to you, what would you suggest…?” He has a huge respect for my knowledge about mental health and illness and how to support those who are struggling, and he does what he can to draw on that knowledge and use it to focus me when I’m drowning in self-hatred.  

5. He never lets me forget the pain my death would cause

There have been many days when dying seems the easy option. I often get to a point of genuinely believing my death would both end my own pain and relieve others of the burden of having me in their life. This evokes strong emotion in Joe who is painfully, brutally honest and always brings my children to the forefront of my mind. He reminds me of how much they love me and how much pain my death would bring to them as well as to my husband and my friends — including him. He doesn’t try to make me feel guilty, he just passionately believes my life has value and brings joy to others and he helps me see that when I can’t.   

6. He drops everything

Feeling suicidal doesn’t tend to work to a schedule. Many times, Joe has supported me through suicidal crisis when he really should have been doing something else (or sleeping). One of the lessons he has tried hardest to teach me over the last few years is that when I need help, I must ask. He has told me plainly there is nothing more important he could be doing than supporting me in a time of need and though I find it very difficult to reach out in those moments, if I do, he is always ready help me through minute by minute to safety.  

7. He listens, without judgment, to the things too awful to tell anyone else

Joe and my husband get on well and keep in touch to ensure my safety when it’s most needed. My husband, Tom, is grateful to Joe and encourages our friendship which I’m thankful for because while Tom is an absolute rock, some of the issues that underlie my post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are just too awful to talk about to Tom. What often happens is I talk about them with my therapist, and then with Joe and then, once I’m a little more used to the shape of these words and feelings, I tell Tom. The fact that Joe listens with an open heart and never judges, offering only kindness where I expect repulsion gives me confidence that my husband can hear these words too without losing his love for me.  

8. He cares unconditionally

Joe has been there through thick and thin. I’ll be honest, I’ve not always been the nicest of friends in return because my illness often drives me to sabotage the things I need most to recover. But Joe is always kind and forgiving. He forgives me too when I stumble and fall into relapse, helping me to look forwards not back if anorexia takes grip or I succumb to the need to self-harm 

9. He looks forward

It’s easy to get caught up in how very difficult the here and now is when your whole life is ruled by your mental illness, but Joe always has one foot firmly in the future. He looks forward to the good times we’ll have, to the lessons we’ll have learned from this time and to how I can move towards a happier and healthier way of being. Sometimes we can look forward together only to the next minute — other times we can see years ahead. Joe lets me set the pace and he gently guides me away from the difficulty of the here and now.  

10. He is always ready with a hug.

Not everyone is tactile, but for me this is a biggie. No matter what life has thrown at me, Joe’s arms are somewhere I’ll always feel safe. Sometimes there are no words, but a hug from a friend who really, really cares, despite everything, can be enough to begin to slowly turn things around.

Joe is a pretty private person and while I often allude my feelings of appreciation to him, I have never spoken at length about quite the friend he continues to be to me. I’m overwhelmed by his kindness and often find myself questioning why he sticks by me, but he does. So as well as hopefully sharing some ideas that others might use, this post is also a big thank you to one of the most wonderful friends I could ever have hoped for — Joe, I wish everyone had a friend like you.  

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.

If you need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text “START” to 741-741.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Photo via contributor.

We’re approaching World Suicide Prevention Week commencing 10th September, and men — particularly those in their late 30s or 40s — are the most at risk group. So ,I felt it was a good time to post a blog I’ve had in mind for months.

Some of the most destructive and disheartening things a male will hear growing up and throughout their life are: “Be a man,” “big boys don’t cry,” and one of my main hates — “man up.” These are poisonous phrases which can (and do) have a profound effect on one’s mental health.

These phrases can all be flung together under the banner of toxic masculinity. Perhaps this phrase is more commonly attributed to violence and misogyny; however, it is also used for these phrases that the vast majority of males will hear at least once in their formative years.

Men shouldn’t be afraid to show their feelings. It’s the bottling up of our emotions that can set you off on a road that will affect you and those close to you. The whole Yoda philosophy would apply: Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate and so on. If you don’t show your feelings and bottle it up, it can lead to all sorts of other feelings — resentment, loneliness, inadequacy, etc.

It’s these feelings which can make, and without a doubt have made, some of us think: “I can’t do this anymore, I don’t want to be here, the world is better without me.”

Those closest to me will know that, at my worst, I have been in precisely this situation. I have been at that point of no return. For me, part of the reason for considering ending my life, apart from some life circumstances, was that I felt I had no one to speak to. I felt alone, and this is in part due to the whole toxic masculinity ethos that still plagues society. Thankfully, something stopped me; I’m not sure if it was the thought of leaving my children or just plain fear, but I’m still here. I have had the same thoughts of ending my life over the years, but thanks to support networks and family I haven’t felt I would actually act upon them.

We as men shouldn’t be afraid to show our emotions. We shouldn’t be afraid to speak and share our feelings and open up when we feel it’s all becoming too much. It’s not a state of mind we can just “snap out of,” despite what people may say to you, but all it takes is that one chat to open the floodgates — be it a mate, family member, or a third party like the Samaritans or other equally helpful organizations. You’ll realize there’s not one of us out there who hasn’t felt alone, inadequate or insecure in ourselves.

It’s hard taking that first step to talking about how you feel, but when you do you’ll never look back. At least, that’s my experience.

I am man; hear me cry.

Follow this journey on the author’s blog.

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.

If you need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, the Trevor Project at 1-866-488-7386 or text “HOME” to 741-741. Head here for a list of crisis centers around the world.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Thinkstock photo via MrKornFlakes

Editor’s note: If you experience suicidal thoughts or have lost someone to suicide, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741-741.

Nothing much compares to the pain of losing a child. When you become a parent, it can feel as if your heart walks out your body and attaches itself to the person you’ve created. To then lose that child is a gut-wrenching, soul-splitting and life-crushing experience.

When a child dies by suicide, there’s usually additional stigma and shame added to that grief. Sometimes parents have to deal with stigmatizing comments made by other people, or intrusive questions about their child’s death. Some have been indirectly blamed for not seeing the signs, or may feel a sting of abandonment when their loved ones stop reaching out and offering support.

We wanted to share the experiences of parents who have lost a child to suicide, so we asked parents in our Mighty community who have lost a child to suicide to share one thing they wish others understood.

Here’s what they shared with us:

1. “Coming from an extremely religious community, I would like people to understand mental illness is an illness… and sometimes it kills. And when it does, [I believe] our loved ones are in heaven with God, not sent to hell as a punishment… My baby girl is in Heaven with my loving Lord and Savior.” — Gail J.

2. “Don’t think I don’t see you trying to avoid me because you feel uncomfortable knowing I have a child who died from suicide. I live with [the] pain of losing a 31-year-old daughter who was brilliant, beautiful and had a mind that tortured her to the point where she chose to end the pain. I miss Katie every day.” — Gregg A.

3. “I wish people understood suicide is not a big sign or a flash of light to show the world. It’s the fake smiles, ‘I’m OK’s,’ the hiding out from the world.” — Tam M.

4. “He is still my child. I need to know he is remembered, that he was important. My child didn’t choose the easy way out, the decision to leave this life was the hardest he ever had to make.” — Liza C.

5. “Know our pain is life long. We don’t move on. It becomes a part of us until we die. And with all their good intentions, they will never (hopefully) understand the depth of losing a child by suicide.” — Linda M.

6. “We lost our son to suicide three months ago, aged 30. We torture ourselves with ifs, whats, whys and wherefores, but in a video he left us, [he said] he couldn’t live his life like he was anymore, regardless of how much we tried to help him. We are truly broken, but hang on to each other to get through, one day at a time.” — Clare N.

7. “I wish they understood this is not something we ever get over. We carry this with us ’til we see our children again. We need people to understand this and accept this is part of us now.” — Kellie B.

8. “My son was 23 when suicide took him. He was handsome, smart and funny… and felt he didn’t fit anywhere. It took about five years to put my pieces back together, but I am not the same and neither is his sister, 17 years, and we manage by holding on to each other. We aren’t afraid to mention him and wish others weren’t. He is still in our hearts and our lives. We celebrate his birthday, and commiserate on the anniversary of his death. His friends still post birthday wishes on his Facebook page. It will always hurt like it was yesterday, but we’ve learned to carry the pain so no one else can see us flinch.” — Lesley R.

9. “As a parent who lost a child to suicide, I wish others understood that sometimes the things you say do hurt. Don’t talk about how if things don’t go your way you could ‘just die’ (just one example) or minimize suicide in general.” — Kristie M.

10. “I wish they understood there isn’t always a why. People always want me to answer this question. It doesn’t work that way — mental illness is complicated.” — Angie M.

11. “We can’t ‘get over it,’ and shaming a parent for their child’s suicide is bullying.” — Adel E.

12. “Don’t pity me or feel sorry for me. I’m not ashamed or embarrassed about my girl. She was a beautiful soul, inside and out, who was gentle and kind and pure. I’m so proud of who she was and miss her every day. I honor her by looking forward and living the best life I can because she lives in me and her siblings. So it’s OK to say hello, to ask how I am, and it’s also OK if you don’t know how to respond. I know it’s not a ‘pass on by chit chat,’ but do say hello. A smile given here and there does wonders!” — Fa’auly F.

If you need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, the Trevor Project at 1-866-488-7386 or text “HOME” to 741-741. Head here for a list of crisis centers around the world.

Thinkstock image by AntonioGuillem

Editor’s note: If you experience suicidal thoughts or have lost someone to suicide, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741-741.

You expect to feel certain physical side effects due to your chronic illness — pain, fatigue and cognitive challenges to name a few. But if mental health effects like depression and suicidal thoughts begin to creep in, it may catch you by surprise. After all, doctors don’t always warn you that chronic illness often leads to mental health challenges, or that chronic illness actually increases your risk of dying by suicide. And if you constantly feel tired, in pain or foggy, it’s not always easy to determine where your “physical” symptoms end and your mental health symptoms begin.

Knowing your own “warning signs” that indicate when you’re feeling suicidal can let you know that it’s time to get help. So we asked our Mighty chronic illness community to share the “red flags” they experience that let them know they’re starting to feel suicidal. If these ring true for you, you’re not alone, and it’s OK to reach out for support.

Here’s what they shared with us:

1. “My warning sign is when I start thinking that the world would be better off without me, that I am a huge burden to my husband and he would be better off married to someone healthy, and that I just cannot bear to live another 30 years or so with so much pain… those thoughts and feelings tell me that I need to get help, fast.” — Barbara R.

2. “I’d slowly begin to talk less and less. It was like what I had to say wasn’t important, and that made me feel unimportant. That feeling would just grow.” — Kayla H.

3. “I felt nothing. After the longest stretch of just misery, I had run out of emotion and just felt nothing. I felt hollow, like my soul had shriveled up. I was an empty husk. I will never forget that feeling. When I start to feel so drained I’m losing my emotions, when instead of sadness I just feel nothing, that’s when I worry.” — Shauna C.

4. “It was one afternoon that I felt the urge to let down the blinds of my living room I was sitting in. I could’t exactly tell why, in a way I couldn’t stand the outside world because I didn’t feel I was a part of it anymore. This marked the beginning of a depression that ended up with panic attacks and suicidal thoughts.” — Alexandra S.

5. “I try to make people laugh… I mean really laugh, I push boundaries and crack jokes every minute just to make someone laugh, so either I feel useful and wanted or just to bask in their happiness for a bit because it’s a beautiful distraction seeing someone so happy even just for a moment before the darkness sweeps me off my feet again with a cold hard thud.” — Lauren S.

6. “Being stuck in a loop of thoughts I feel I’m not in control of, feel my anxious mind takes over and I have no control. Distractions and affirmations don’t work, I just think of made up situations I believe I couldn’t handle because of the exact reason I’m even thinking about these things. Self-worth disappears and impending doom takes its place.” — Kevin W.

7. “When I don’t want to talk it out with anyone anymore and I just pull myself away from others. When/if they try to ask about it, I feel annoyed and want them gone. That’s how I know it’s wrong because usually I like to talk everything out.” — Ana A.

8. “Mine is always the same. I notice I get angry at myself for the pain in my body. I want to stop the pain and the pain it causes others around me.” — Gerald R.

9. “My ‘warning sign’ was when my fur baby, who is normally my whole world, didn’t make me smile anymore… He has been right by my side for nine years and I still didn’t want to be around anymore. One day it finally dawned on me that those feelings weren’t the true me. I admitted myself into a hospital program to get help shorty there after.” — Stephanie B.

10. “Before I had even realized how dark my world had become, I started giving away and selling all of my possessions. Things I loved or that made my home feel comfy and cozy… just gone for no reason I could ever recall. My house quickly became bare white walls void of all warmth. My husband noticed the emptiness before I did and encouraged me to get the help I needed.” — Amanda M.

11. “Deliberately turning the TV off just so I can stare blankly into space for three hours. I always know that when I choose nothing over something I’ve watched a million times, it’s time to call my therapist.” — Dawn-Marie W.

12. “Could not and would not eat, and if I did I wanted to throw up afterwards. For some reason eating made me want to cry — can’t explain it. Don’t have an eating disorder. Just wanted to be as ’empty’ as I felt I guess.” — Ashley W.

13. “When I stop singing in the car I know I need to actively do something to benefit my mental health. It’s usually one of the very first signs that depression is trying to sneak back into the driver’s seat.” — Ashley S.

14. “When I purposely don’t take my medication or use anything to alleviate my chronic pain, I know something’s up.” — Mattie M.

15. “While everyone prepared eagerly for the total solar eclipse, my only excitement was the small possibility it might be the end of the world.” — JamiJo S.

16. “I tend to get impulsive and spontaneous, when I otherwise think about and plan things out. I start getting nervous when I feel like it’s OK to do anything at any time and it won’t be a big deal.” — Tanya Z.

17. “Becoming detached from the world, and disinterested in anything I usually love. There are some things that will always make me excited, and when those things fail to brighten my day, I know it’s time to call my psychiatrist.” — Ansel T.

If you identify with any of these warning signs, please reach out. You deserve to get the help you need.

Visit our suicide prevention resources page. If you need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text “START” to 741-741.

Thinkstock photo by Grandfailure

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