If you have any concerns about your risk for suicide, or someone you care about, please give us a call at (619) 594-5220, the San Diego Access and Crisis Line at (888) 724-7240, or dial 911

Suicidal thoughts are fairly common in college students. While having suicidal thoughts increases someone’s risk for attempting suicide, most people have thoughts of suicide and never attempt suicide.

Even though they may common, they can bring a significant amount of shame to the person experiencing them. People often feel isolated and alone and may keep these thoughts to themselves as they worry what others might think of them.

It is important to note that suicide is a permanent action to solve a temporary problem. Many people who have thoughts of suicide believe that they may be a burden for others and that there may be a sense of relief when they are gone.

In reality, coping with the loss of a loved one who died by suicide is a very complicated and difficult event to grieve.

There are many risk factors for suicide. We highly recommend you look at American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s website to learn more.


If you are able, it can be very helpful to reach out to someone to let them know that you are thinking about suicide. This may be a mental health professional, a friend, a family member, or even an acquaintance that you think might be supportive.

If you are skeptical about approaching someone, you might flip the role and think about whether or not you would like that person to approach you if they were thinking about suicide. Sometimes letting one person know that you are thinking about it can be one of the most helpful things to do.

Journaling in various forms can be a particularly effective way to cope with thoughts of suicide. This may include writing your thoughts down daily and saving them, writing your thoughts and erasing them immediately, or even recording yourself discussing your thoughts.

The most important part is finding a way to get your thoughts out, not necessarily that you find a way to go back and see them again (hence the idea that you can erase or not save the document).

When people are having thoughts of suicide, they may experience shame about feeling this way and to have their thoughts be expressed can take some of the power away from them. This is also a great opportunity for those that enjoy expressing themselves artistically to use their preferred platform, whether it is music, painting, poetry, or many more, as a means to express what they are feeling.

To learn more about journaling, click here

Identifying what your most effective personal coping skills are can be one of the best strategies for coping with emotional distress. For depression, there may be activities that you engage in that help you feel more accomplished or you simply enjoy more.

When people are depressed, they also may be less likely to be active, thus more active activities can be particularly helpful. Some common coping strategies for depression are exercise, talking to a supportive friend or family member, or listening to music.

There are more aspects to identifying what coping strategies work for you and to learn more about coping, follow this link.

We are constantly narrating our personal experience and are often not accurate to what exactly is taking place. The tone of our narration, which is based on many factors, can directly influence our emotions.

For example, if we are running late and there is unexpected traffic, we might tell ourselves “Oh no, not again. Nothing ever goes my way”.

Simply having that thought can lead to feeling more depressed, meaning that it is based on your interpretation of the events as opposed to the events them selves.

Self talk can play an important role in how we experience our emotions, so please feel free to check out our page dedicated to it.

Thoughts of suicide are often triggered by various thoughts, feelings, events, or other stimuli. It is important to note what might be triggers for your suicidal thoughts. Examples may include a relationship ending, isolating yourself, or feeling like you are a burden for others. There are many more and these are just some examples.

If there is a trigger that you are aware of, it can be helpful to manage your feelings and attempt to put yourself in a good mental space ahead of being in this situation. This may not always be possible, but it can make a big difference if it is accomplished.

Thoughts of suicide can be tied to experiencing intense distressing emotions. Grounding techniques can help you refocus while your most distressing feelings pass. Visit our page here to learn more. 

Emotions can feel very intense and distressing, particularly when someone is thinking about suicide. 'Riding the wave of emotion' is a strategy to help you embrace the intense experience and pain. Learn more here


Reach out to them to check in. It is up to you how much you want to disclose.
Write down 3 things you think they might do. Then try them yourself (if possible).
See if you can do at least one of them each day.
If you like it, try it more.