Mental Health and Coping with Suicidal Ideation

This is a list of coping strategies.

The first focus is preventative strategies for people who experience chronic ideation regarding self harm, but can be used for any sort of negative experience.

Below is a list of resources for mental health self care that covers a variety of topics that may negatively affect one’s well being, as well as resources and information about seeking emergency care.  Each set of resources is labeled with an asterisk for improved navigation between sections.

Coping Strategies List
Planning Strategies List

List of resources

-Resources for friends and family
-Issue specific
-General resources

Please note I do not have any expertise and this is simply to help individuals who want to find resources on their own.  Thank you, to the collective wisdom of the online groups of Sick and Disabled Queers and Sick and Disabled Queers of Color, and continue to be an inclusive and supportive community.

*Ways to cope with negative feelings:

If any of these are skills or topics you are unfamiliar with, check out the resources below or send me a message and I’ll be sure to add more information!

  • Agreement with self/selves not to do anything drastic
  • Cry
  • Praying
  • Sleeping
  • Masturbation/sex/sexual/erotic fantasizing
  • Eating comfort food (chicken, ice cream, chocolate, etc.)
  • Baths, baths with soothing stuff,
  • Journaling
  • DBT techniques
  • Acknowledge and distract
  • Reaching out to friends/talking, remember they want to help, to have you around
  • Scheduled check-in/routine contact
  • Harm-reduction (using what helps you feel better)
  • “safer” forms of acting out
  • Daily single line journal to record changing patterns (can be in addition to other writing)
  • Perspective- via therapy, other people, support groups, etc.
  • Notes to self written during better time, reminders this will pass
  • Check ins for basic needs (food, water, sleep, movement)
  • Death related rituals (mourning for self, pretend death)
  • Meditation (guided, mindfulness, loving-compassion, etc.)
  • Drawing, sculpting, crafting art,
  • Movement, dance, exercise, swimming, pressing against things
  • Reminders of positive connections (letters, pictures, affirmations, bulletin boards, photo collages, autograph books, saved conversations)
  • Letting go, observing your emotions/feelings/thoughts pass through, experience as a wave/storm/passing leaf
  • Comforting or grounding scents
  • Grounding techniques (going through senses, or focusing on one to connect to the world)
  • Low effort socialization (movies, crafting, working together, just being in a space together)
  • Games, internet games, card games,
  • Watching movies, tv,
  • reading
  • Mancy (tarot, runes, etc, with and without others)
  • Engrossing activities/skilled tasks, fixing things
  • Acts of kindness, helping others (postcards, gifts, giving compliments, etc.)
  • Speaking out loud, to self or others
  • Asking for specific needs (support, time and space, its ok to change your mind!)
  • Touching animals, watching animal videos, other soothing videos
  • Listening to music, creating a playlist, asking for music from others
  • Fantasy play (sexual or nonsexual)
  • personal metaphors (treating negative emotions/experience as a creature or entity you can address directly, or box up, or attack, etc.)
  • set small goals (only two things, only one thing, small steps, etc.)
  • list meaningful things (actions, passions, accomplishments, desires, people, values)
  • contextualize: contextualize specific worries, self within world and communities,
  • create a safe place (blanket fort, friends couch, imaginary world)
  • avoid triggers (remove or have a friend remove harmful objects, substances, turn of newsfeeds, turn off phone, etc.)
  • scream, yell, sing loudly (into a pillow, with a friend)
  • connect with spirituality (use religious support network, perform rituals, connect with ancestors, spirits, or deities, perform purification, open to the universe, etc)
  • deal with or make plan to deal with trauma or ongoing problems (schedule an appointment, write down a goal, find a group, make a decision to take care of yourself, etc)
  • list positive influences, entities, people,
  • humor (your favorite cartoon, movie, comedian, friend who says silly things)
  • sad stuff/intentional crying/catharsis (sad movies, tv, stories, etc)
  • engage with art, look at pretty things, comforting media,
  • consider own impact, positive, and potential impact of death
  • read a new blog, webcomic, tv show, something ridiculously long and absorbing
  • connect with your heritage, community, value your live in connection to your history
  • check the weather, give yourself good temperature, light, water, etc.
  • be outside
  • identify individual stressors, prioritize and address
  • engage with plants, planting, touching smelling and looking at plants
  • affirming messages stories “this too shall pass”, can be found online, kept handy
  • write out affirming messages, poems,
  • treat ideation as coping mechanism, means to protect self
  • disrupt hate talk with love talk- what would you tell a loved one in this feeling
  • breathing, mindful breathing,
  • collect things that make you feel good
  • touching self, drawing on self
  • worry/fidget toys, bracelets, charm bracelets, charm strings, wrist protectors, symbolic protections
  • positive destruction, burning, shredding, cutting up negative messages, paper, chopping wood, making holes in fruit, etc
  • list ways you want to be loved, supported, valued
  • remember happy moments
  • skype/call/message friends



*Prevention and Preparation for people who know they experience self-destructive patterns or feelings:

  • Track you emotions and wellbeing to find triggers that may lead to negative or self-destructive feelings.
  • Set up alerts/warnings/notification based on cyclical triggers/hormones/etc.
  • Consider warning signs you’ve ignored, how you spiral downwards, in order to better understand and avoid future downward spirals.
  • Recognize connections between oppression, health, mental health, to plan responses when any of these are affecting your well-being
  • Prepare lists of happy moments, affirmations, positive material/thoughts/reminders during a positive moment
  • Build up a support network, find support groups, online groups, and talk to trusted people about what you need.  talk about strategies with your support network.
  • Build a self-care or emergency box with instructions, soothing materials, or whatever else you need when you are struggling.



How to develop a self care plan

Emergency Care, what to expect, how to prepare

Suicide hot-line
1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255)

LGBT Hotlines
Several general hotlines list

Trans lifeline
US: (877) 565-8860
Canada: (877) 330-6366

A helpful article on why and how not to call the police for someone experiencing a psychiatric emergency.

If you witness a crisis, try using alternate resources to the police.

A basic overview of emergency psychiatric procedures: This Wikipedia page can be helpful to family members especially in explaining the process of getting care.
General tips for navigating a visit to the emergency room: While not specific to psychiatric emergencies, these tips can be helpful in a wide variety of circumstances including psychiatric emergencies.…/emergency-room-docs-give…/
A suicide survivor explaining exactly what to expect from the process: Knowing what to expect can make the process less frightening for many people.…/


A resource guide for family members of people with mental illness: While this guide was created for Michigan residents, it offers helpful information. Look for similar guides for your area.

Issue Specific Resources

Trauma and Sleep

CBT-i application
available free online helps track sleeping habits, provides calming exercises designed for PTSD, sleep issues, helps with anxiety and other related issues as well.


also good for calming anxiety attacks and PTSD symptoms: Tetris
can reduce symptoms if used consistently when triggers are activated, can even be used with/for exposure therapy
-while it is possible to do exposure therapy on your own, its not recommended and it is very possible to overexpose!  please consider seeking out a care plan that suits your needs-
tetris may require purchase for mobile app versions if you want a decent version, or play online free.




cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)- one way to address cognitive distortions

For low self-esteem of depression: can help identify common negative thinking patterns
can be done using online lists, cognitive behavioral therapy, social support


good starting point: meditation: Massage
Queer Resources

Other mental health resources:

list of worksheets for self care

Introduction to harm reduction

it can be very soothing
fun brain trick: pretend everyone is an npc in an rpg. they don’t affect you or your main quest. they’re not important in your life. they’re just kind of there. shopkeepers? just selling their wares. that guy staring at you on the bus occasionally? probably gonna go home to his equally unimportant npc family and repeat the same 20 lines of dialogue.


Chronic suicide support Forum

Survivor Poem: reasons not to kill yourself

personal reflections from other bloggers


DBT workbook: exercises to improve mental wellbeing

James Hillman’s writing on suicide and the soul

Complex PTSD: From Surviving to Thriving by Paul Walker


One thought on “Mental Health and Coping with Suicidal Ideation

  1. Pingback: Resources: the cycle of abuse | Ordinary and Liminal

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