Psychological Self-Help

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long-term personal-emotional problems, a therapist would ask about
especially distressing events in your life right now (and you can ask
yourself how important these factors might be), e.g., are you having
problems at work or school? Troubles with friends, boy/girlfriend,
spouse or parents? Feeling no one cares? Have you failed or let
yourself down? Are you really angry about something? Any major
problems, such as being in trouble with the law, an unwanted
pregnancy, major losses of money or pride? Using drugs or alcohol?
Thinking about suicide, talking to friends about it, writing or drawing
about death? If problems have piled up, it is vitally important to get
professional help and to get busy using self-help methods. 
Even if you have done all the right things—informed your family
about your serious depression, gotten a therapist, checked on taking
anti-depressive meds, started to deal with emotional problems—
whenever you sense you are getting close to a suicide attempt, it is a
critical time period and there are important things to think about and
do. For example, first make sure you have an agreement with your
therapist about calling him/her at any time for help. Find out exactly
how to get him/her at all hours at the office or at home. If your doctor
has arranged a part-time backup, know exactly how to get that
person, too. Carry those numbers with you all the time. Call your
therapist as soon as you need to. Do not ignore suicidal thoughts
or urges. Don’t put off calling for help. Also, know the best
procedures for getting to ER and for being admitted to the hospital. In
addition, find out how to contact your Community Mental Health
Center and/or a local Suicide Prevention Service; they sometimes have
an experienced mobile crisis team that can immediately respond (one
advantage for calling them is that ordinarily they would not involve the
police). If you can’t get all this information pulled together yourself,
ask a relative or close friend to get it for you. Be sure you talk to your
therapist about what you should do if you feel close to suicide…and
find out what the doctor will do if you need him/her in an emergency.
Know how to use 911. Neglecting getting help at this stage is very
It is also important to stay in frequent communication with family
members. Keep them posted about how you are doing and where you
are located. If possible, spend time with friends or at work or in some
outside-the-home activity. You need to keep your mind occupied and
off of repetitively thinking about how sad, bad, or mad you are. Get
rid of all guns, sharp objects, lethal amounts of drugs, or
anything dangerous. If possible, do not stay at home alone for
extended periods of time. To get the location of a local face-to-face
support group in the USA, dial 1-800-SUICIDE, call your Mental Health
Center, or go to Suicide Hot Lines ( 
and click on your state. If you find or already have an online support
group, they can be helpful, but in a suicide situation a friend on a list
is severely limited by being 2000 miles away and not knowing how to
reach you or your community or your treatment team. Your therapist
can help you find a nearby face to face support group. It is important
to have people to talk to. Some believe that one reason African-
Americans have a low suicide rate, especially the women, is because of
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