Suicide is one of the leading causes of death in children and adolescents – but it doesn’t have to be.

If you are considering suicide or self-harm, pausing to take these 5 steps can save your life:

1. Get help!

You need to seek help immediately if you can’t see any solution to your bad feelings besides harming or killing yourself or others. If talking to a stranger seems easier for you, call 1-800-273-TALK or text “CONNECT” to 741741.

2. Know that there is always another solution – even if you can’t see it right now.

Remember that these emotions will pass, no matter how awful you feel now. Many people who have attempted suicide and survived say that they tried it because they felt there was no other solution or way to end their pain.

3. Remember that having thoughts of hurting yourself or others does not make you a bad person.

Depression can make you think and feel things that do not reflect your true character. These are reflections of how much you are hurting.

4. If your feelings are overwhelming, tell yourself to wait 24 hours before taking any action.

This can give you time to really think things through and see if those strong feelings get a tiny bit easier to handle. During this 24-hour period, talk to anyone who isn’t also feeling suicidal or depressed. Call a hotline or talk to a friend or trusted adult. Remember there are likely several solutions to your problem.

5. If you’re afraid you can’t stop yourself, make sure you are never alone.

Even if you can’t talk about your feelings, stay in public places, hang out with friends or family members, or go to a movie — anything to keep from being by yourself and in danger.

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