Everything in our biology and psychology is organised around survival, and yet suicide is shockingly common. As the 10th leading cause of death overall in this country, it surpasses murder. Among 15-34 year olds, suicide is the second-leading cause of death. Every 30 minutes, someone kills themselves. Many times that number attempt suicide each year, often with full lethal intent.

We know suicide is very often an impulsive act. A person hits a limit, feels there is no hope, and grasps onto suicide as a solution. This is why it is so important to not have extra medications lying around, and to restrict access to other lethal means. In addition, it is important to be aware that once a person has tried to commit suicide, the odds of another attempt are higher, particularly in the year following an attempt.

It can be hard to know what to say to a person who wants to be dead. It is important to remember the suicidal mindset is a state of being that will usually, if given time, shift away. Encouraging people to stick it out until they feel differently about things can really help. It takes time to re-kindle hope, and a certain humility to be willing to try.

Many things increase the likelihood that a person will feel suicidal: physical illness, fatigue, stress, lack of support in being true to themselves, a sense of failure and hopelessness, to name a few. Depressionanxiety, having a different gender identity or sexual orientation — all are significant risk factors. It is important to remember that killing yourself is always an option — no one can take that away from you — but what’s the hurry? If there is a possibility things could get better, it seems well worth the time to wait and see. As a teacher of mine once said, when you think there’s no better alternative than to kill yourself, there’s always the chance you could be wrong. This isn’t something you want to make a mistake on.

Therapy isn’t guaranteed to make you want to be alive, but it is guaranteed to be a place where it is OK to talk about everything troubling you. We are not afraid to talk to you frankly about your desire to die. It is a place where the other person has no agenda for your life, but is able to accept and respect you for who you are. Maybe, if the therapist can do this, you can find a way to do it too. When you truly accept and respect yourself, killing yourself becomes a less appealing option. Suicide is always out there; before resorting to that, let us help you look for other options.