If the National Suicide Hotline puts you on hold, where else can you call?

In light of Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spades’ suicides, both discussion of suicide and calls to suicide hotlines have peaked. I have heard some people share that when they call the National Suicide Hotline (800-273-8255), they  are put on hold. If you do not want to wait, there are alternate suicide hotline numbers that are local/state-wide or population-specific that can be more accessible since they are targeted to a smaller population.

For example, for people who are local to Southern California, an alternate suicide hotline number that is more accessible is Didi Hirsch’s Suicide Hotline: (877) 727-4747. It’s specifically to serve Los Angeles, Orange, Ventura, San Bernardino, Riverside and Imperial Counties, which is why it’s less in demand. Their counselors are very well trained and they spend a good amount of time with you. I have received training from Didi Hirsch and am very familiar with this organization so I highly recommend them.

There are also population-specific hotlines, like for Asian Americans, LGBTQ youth, veterans, kids, teens, and families, phone lines in Spanish and other languages, and there are texting hotlines. I’ve pasted a few below.

I’ve listed the most prominent ones below:

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
📞 800-273-TALK (8255)
📞 TTY: 800-799-4TTY (4889)

Crisis Text Line
Text 741741
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/crisistextline

Lifeline Crisis Chat
1:1 Online Chat: http://www.crisischat.org/chat (12:00 pm – 12:00 am EST)

IMAlive Crisis Chat

Red para la Prevención del Suicidio USA
📞 888-628-9454
Se Habla Español 24/7

Spanish-Speaking Suicide Hotline USA
📞800-SUICIDA (784-2432) Suicida.Hotline
Se Habla Español

Suicide Hotline in Spanish USA
📞800-273-TALK (8255), Press 2
Se Habla Español 24/7

Asian American Suicide Prevention and Education
📞 877-990-8585 (Cantonese, Mandarin, Japanese, Korean, and Fujianese)

Boys Town Suicide and Crisis Line (for teens/parents/families)
📞 800-448-3000
Text, Chat Email: http://www.yourlifeyourvoice.org/Pages/ways-to-get-help.aspx

Vet2Vet Veterans Crisis Hotline
📞 1-877-VET-2-VET (838-2838)

Veterans Crisis Line USA
📞800-273-TALK (8255), press 1

New Hope Now USA
📞714-NEW-HOPE (639-4673)

Postpartum Depression Hotline USA
📞800-PPD-MOMS (773-6667)

Kids Helpline USA
Kids under 18

Teen to Teen Peer Counseling Hotline USA
📞877-YOUTHLINE (968-8454)

The Trevor Project USA: LGBTQ Youth 24/7
📞866-4-U-TREVOR (488-7386)

Your Life Your Voice USA
📞800-448-3000 YLYV Teens/Youth Phone 24/7
Live Chat Mondays – Thursdays 8:00 pm – 11:00 pm CST / Email

More lists are here: http://suicideprevention.wikia.com/wiki/USA

For state/county-specific hotlines and non-U.S. hotlines: http://suicide.org/suicide-hotlines.html

If you are struggling, please reach out! Help is there, even if it doesn’t seem that way.

Please share! You may never know who you will help with this information.

You can also view my TEDx talk which discusses my history of suicide, subsequent recovery, and lessons that we can ALL learn here: https://youtu.be/GVkL3glwL8g

How to Stop Temporarily Becoming Pro-suicide Prevention

The heartfelt and emotional post you wrote about Anthony Bourdain?

I URGE you to:

Write a message like that about your friend who suffers from depression or another mental illness and send it to them.

Send a message like that to the person who posts on Facebook about how depressed they are. Especially if the post is concerning.

Call up someone you know who has history of suicide and tell them how you feel about them.

Text, Snapchat, hang out, grab a coffee, Skype, reach out in any way to friends you know struggle.

Heck, say it to *anyone* you feel that way to!

If people who die by suicide had heard heartfelt, supportive messages like that *before* they died, I wonder what a difference that would make.

We need to stop becoming temporarily pro-suicide prevention right after a famous person dies by suicide and elongate its impact by providing more kind words and support to each other. Loving someone from afar is not what prevents suicide: SUPPORT does.

#mentalhealthmatters #suicideprevention

Hufsa Ahmad - Mental Health Speaker, Coach & Therapist

Relapse is Part of Recovery, TEDx talk is out!

“Relapses are opportunities for growth, not something to be ashamed.”

“We all need to be supportive of the people who relapse, because we all relapse.”


Just some quotes from my new TEDx talk, which is about how the lowest points in our lives bring us insight and are NOT something to be ashamed of. I talked about my mental health history but expand challenges to apply to anyone and everyone – we are all in the same boat, which means we ALL need to support each other. Check it out!

Please share, like, comment!



Hi everyone! Hope that you are well! I have some great news…I will be giving a TEDx talk in New Jersey on April 7, 2018! My talk is called “Relapse is Part of Recovery.” I’m interviewing 100 people to really flesh out my talk, and here is a summary:

“Relapse is part of recovery” is a term frequently used in the addiction world to encourage people to continue if they lose their sobriety. But relapses (which I define as “rock bottoms”) happen outside of addiction and mental illness: there are relapses in careers, relationships, societies, identities, etc.

When people relapse, they are often faced with shame, disappointment, and see it as a failure. But what I’m finding is that frequently, as a result of a relapse, we gain some sort of insight that changes our lives for the better.

My talk argues that we need to rethink our views of relapse and how we handle relapses. We need to recognize that they are frequently an opportunity for growth. When someone relapses, we need to be supportive, encouraging, and hopeful. And that, my friends, will lead to “A Better Future” (the theme of the TEDx I am part of).

I am documenting my whole journey of building this TEDx talk on instagram: @hufsathegreat. I can’t tell you how many people are coming together to help me with this talk: allowing me to interview them, sending me pictures…I even have local actors who are going to help me film a scene for my talk. Wow!

Stay tuned! I’ll be posting about some of the stories I have been hearing!

Suicide Hotline: A Lifeline as Important as 9-1-1

Can you imagine a world where Robin Williams was still alive, and spoke as openly about his depression as his alcoholism, where he declared the importance of reaching out for help in direst of times: when one is suicidal?

Unfortunately, he is gone (and may he rest in peace). But I am trying to do these things in his stead. September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month and today I only have one message to convey: the Suicide Crisis Line number.

800-273-TALK (8255)
Open 24/7 and is free
Chat is also available on their website here

Any amount of suicidal thoughts merits a call.

Please, save this number in your phone. You never know if you or someone you know needs it. The number has saved the lives of many people I know, and from the account of one of my friends:

It was 4:30am when I went downstairs to get a glass of water. I cried as I walked up the stairs, because I was going to overdose on my medication. After typing up a suicide note, before I clicked send, something stopped me. I don’t know what made me do it, but I started looking through my contacts. I found the number for the Suicide Prevention Lifeline. I spoke with a guy named Andrew who talked me about my current problems and options. Before I hung up with him, he asked me if I would call back if I felt the urge to commit suicide again, and I promised I would.

The next day I saw my therapist. Eventually I did check myself into a psychiatric unit voluntarily, but if I didn’t speak to Andrew, I wouldn’t be here today.

The Suicide Prevention Lifeline saved my life, and I know I’m not the only one.


I hope that none of you ever has to call that number. But it is there if you need it.

Lastly, know that you can call 9-1-1 in case of a psychiatric emergency as well.

In Light of Robin Williams’ Suicide (repost)

Robin Williams’ death is a tragedy. It breaks my heart every time I hear someone committing suicide, whether they be my friend or someone who I admired from afar. I remember watching Robin Williams on talk shows with my mom. I laughed so hard that I had trouble catching my breath.

And of course I’m not the only one. So many people have been posting about how much they loved this man – not only how funny he was, but how kind he was. He was someone who made everyone around him happy. This is so sad that it feels unfair. No – it is unfair.

News articles state that he had depression and substance abuse issues, though it is not yet known whether substances were involved in his suicide. I have previously heard that he had bipolar disorder.

But what specific mental illness he had is not the point of this post.

How did such a remarkable man, someone who was so admired by so many people, end up committing suicide? How could someone like that feel so depressed and so hopeless? He was loved by countless people all over the world. He had family who loved him. He had friends. How could he feel like everything was that hopeless, that he would end his life?

I cannot claim to know the reasons for Robin Williams’ death. I don’t know if anyone really knows right now, or if anyone ever will. And I cannot claim to know what could have been done to stop the suicide. I just don’t know enough information. I don’t know if anyone does.

But I aim to draw hope and a message from this tragic event, and stop events like it from happening.


This suicide is counterintuitive and illogical. But that is the nature of suicide – when people are suicidal, they are not thinking clearly. They cannot see that there is hope; they can only see past failures and believe in the impending doom. The illness is what takes over. The illness strips the individual of reason. The illness skews their vision so they only see darkness, and no light.

But there are ways to combat it. There is always at least a glimmer of hope.

When in that dark place, you can call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at: 1-800-273-8255 (TALK). You can reach out to family and friends. You can think about the people who you love, and those who depend on you. You don’t allow yourself to be isolated. There are many more ways.

However, it is equally as vital to PREVENT yourself from getting to that point. I cannot stress enough how crucial it is to take action BEFORE it reaches that point. Ask for help. Reach out. Let yourself be helped. Build and use a support system of loved ones, activities, organizations, etc.

Treatment should be considered. If someone reaches such a low point, there is something deeply wrong; it is a crime not to seek treatment or help a loved one seek treatment. Please note that there are a variety of treatments available – medication, therapy, holistic, and more.

There are also Warmlines – “warm,” not “hot”lines – for people who are not yet in crisis, but need support. They offer peer support and referrals. You can reach one at 1-877-910-WARM. (I happen to work for one.) Don’t wait until things are so bad you can barely see any hope.


There is a direction we as a society need to move towards, spurred on by this terrible event.
What is imperative now is that society learns from what happened. Society cannot ignore how powerful mental illness is, and how life-threatening it is.

A paradigm shift must occur!

It is a fact that mental illnesses are as equally serious as physical illnesses. A FACT. I strongly argue that they are the same. To those that argue that they are “just feelings and thoughts” – how can you not take a “feeling” seriously, when it can spiral into something that compels someone to take their own life? How can one doubt the power of emotions when they reach a severity where they trump all reason?

Mental illness is a life threatening disorder. Just as someone can die from an aggressive cancer in the body, someone can commit suicide as a result of a progressive mental illness. In this sad case, it was Robin Williams.

There are too many people who don’t realize this, who are not receptive to cries for help and don’t understand that mental illness is not something you can just “get over.” Emotions, feelings, attitudes, behaviors, brain chemistry, physical effects, and more are all intertwined and should be taken equally seriously.

And this all starts with YOU.

The best way for society as a whole to reduce suicides is to realize the severity of mental illness. Break down the stigma towards mental illness which prevents people from seeking and getting help.

Support each other. Reach out for help if you need it. Accept people’s help when they offer it. Don’t ignore the problem or deny it — this goes to individuals suffering from mental illness as well as their loved ones.

This is something we all have to accomplish TOGETHER.

The world must realize that mental illness is real. If we accept its severity – if we believe that mental illness is a serious, biological disorder, and not a defect in character – I guarantee you more people will get the help they need. I guarantee you fewer suicides will happen. I guarantee you the world will be spared from so much pain.

Let there be one good thing from this sad event – let this be a way to pave a better future where mental illness is taken as seriously as a physical illness, so more people will receive the help they need.

Because we all need it.

And remember, I’m here for you, too.