For those of you who are considering suicide, you probably have a number of reasons that stick in your mind about why you might be better off dead. Whatever thoughts you have about what may be wrong in your life or even the world at large, you’re probably replaying them over and over again in your head. Are you paying more attention to why you should die than why you should go on living? Identifying and finding reasons for living have been shown to serve as suicide prevention factors.
The reasons people have for continuing on with their lives are usually unique to them and their situation and many of them are fairly common. Some of the reasons that people give for wanting to stay alive are: 1) Not wanting to hurt family and friends by committing suicide. 2) Worrying what would become of their pets, whether they would be left at a shelter or perhaps euthanized. 3) They’re afraid of death and/or the unknown. 4) Feel they have a responsibility to stay alive for the benefit of others. 5) Suicide may be against their religion, or they are afraid of going to hell. 6) They hang onto the hope that things might get better for them.
If you’ve been contemplating taking your life a good exercise would be to make a list of all the reasons for continuing to live, and to make another list of all the reasons you have for dying. Assign a rate from 1 to 6 for each reason, with 1 being the weakest reason and 5 being the strongest. Then look at the total score for each list. If the total score you get for dying is equal to the total score for living, it shows that you are very ambivalent about taking your life. If the total score on the list of reasons for living exceeds the score on your list of reasons for dying, you’re in a safer mental state than others. If, on the other hand, your total score on the list for dying is higher than the score for living, you are very vulnerable and at high risk and need to seek help immediately. No matter what your scores are, I strongly recommend seeking help if you are contemplating suicide. You can contact your minister, a mental health professional, a suicide prevention hot line, go online to chat anonymously or call whomever you can count on for help.
If you really cannot think of any reasons to go on living you should take The Reasons for Living Inventory. This is a list of 72 different reasons for living that pertain more with what attitude you have about life and death rather than your actual situation or things that you might cherish. Unfortunately this means it doesn’t list some really important reasons for continuing on with life. Still, this scale is a good tool for assessing one’s beliefs about the value of life and what its worth. Therefore, you may wish to go the link for the Reasons for Living Inventory with this article.
Included with the Inventory you will find a worksheet for scoring the different topics listed on the scale. The score itself is not as important as reminding you of the very reasons you probably have for continuing on with life. However, if you want you can compile your scores for the fundamental areas that the scale evaluates, which are: 1) Coping Beliefs for Survival; 2) Responsibility Towards Family; 3) Concerns About a Child or Children; 4) Fear of Committing Suicide; 5) Fear of Social Backlash; 6) Moral Objections.
Of all the reasons, which ones apply to you? Are there any other reasons that you can add to the list? If you are struggling with suicidal ideation or suicide attempts, please call now to schedule an assessment to begin our intensive outpatient program for depression.