Suicide Scale

We recently lost a friend to suicide.

Our best friend, Megan, and us, actually made this scale together years ago. We have used it to help each other through the toughest times. 

When it was really bad, we could just look at each other and say “What number?” and we always knew what the other one meant. We also knew exactly what the number meant when we gave each other one.  If the number was too high, we made plans for that evening, so we wouldn’t be alone.

This scale got us all through a lot.  It got Megan through a massive depressive spell, and it got us through discovering we have Dissociative Identity Disorder.

But it was just something between us, between Emmengard and Megan.  We were too embarrassed and maybe even ashamed to really talk about it, because talking about it meant admitting that suicide is a thing we struggle with. The stigma of it all just felt too great. We weren’t out about our DID either. 

Now that we lost Kevin, that just doesn’t seem to matter anymore. I wish we had made this earlier. I wish we had shared it with all of our friends, because then maybe Kevin would have known he was not alone. Maybe it could have all ended differently.

We are sharing this now, because we hoping that this could help other people. Maybe it could start a conversation. Maybe it could give friends, like Megan and us, a tool for really talking about this honestly.

Maybe it can help things turn out differently for someone else. 

We miss you Kevin.

-All of Emmengard



For screen readers or other read to me apps:

1. ⁠I am so happy that I will literally go insane if the happiness is sustained for any length of time. 

2. ⁠I am feeling pretty rad. I vaguely recall times I’ve been unhappy but it feels like distant memories now. Things are looking up. 

3. ⁠It is not the best day of my life… I have stuff on my mind, but I don’t think of suicide, except when that one weird friend brings up stupid hypotheticals. 

4. ⁠Suicide doesn’t occur to me except in moments of frustration or stress. It’s like a weird escape hatch my brain has decided to just go to in an attempt to escape stress. It doesn’t feel serious, it’s almost a joke.

 5. ⁠The joke is getting really stale. Suicidal ideation and other intrusive thoughts keep happening, but I am mostly interested in other things. It’s like a low key death affinity.

 6. ⁠I am thinking about suicide a lot. It has become troubling. I can distract myself if I really try, however if an out of control semi was headed towards me, I might not move. I am passively suicidal.

 7. ⁠I cannot stop thinking about suicide, and unfortunately I cannot distract myself. I might be doing more risky things like driving recklessly or drinking to excess. I have graduated from passively suicidal to having a death wish. I need help. 

8. ⁠I am no longer fighting the thoughts, just sort of indulging in them. I sort of want to make the suicide plan, but I am stopping myself. I am holding on, but barely. It isn’t safe for me to be alone. I am suicidal. 

9. ⁠I am actively making a plan to end my life. I am telling people goodbye, settling accounts, and starting to write THE note. I am actively suicidal. I need to tell someone.

 10. ⁠I am actively trying to kill myself. If I do not get medical attention it is very likely I will die.

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Brazilian Portuguese:

Emmengard Suicide Scale in Portuguese

Other scroll versions:

37 Replies to “Suicide Scale”

  1. I’m so sorry about Kevin, it’s heartbreaking. This scale is very well designed. we spend a lot of time at #8 and I will save a pic of this to our phone as a reference for the future, it would probably be much easier to mutter a number to a friend than use the words “we’re suicidal”.
    Thank you for sharing.

    Xx Kate

    1. Currently sat between 8/9, found out yesterday that I was going to be terminated from my job which I’ve been working so hard and put in a lot of loyalty. I feel sick but I still have to work for 2 weeks. They won’t accept me saying that I feel sick. Even have tried to od. But it is not a good enough reason to miss work.

  2. Emmengard,
    I am a suicide loss survivor, but I still have no idea what to first say to other fellow lost survivors initially after their loss, other than, “I know what you are going through.” Words have meaning, yet no sense because of the shock and grief and many different feelings. I lost my adult son to suicide a year ago. I too wish someone would have made a pact with him, for him to know he was not alone and a way to honestly talk about their struggles and suicidal thoughts. It is too late for my son and your friend Kevin, but maybe are talking about it will save a life. I find connecting with others who share their real story is helpful. Your writing and art were meaningful to me. I have written about my loss journey and my son. I am sharing it back to you, or anyone else who may be reading this that needs a connection.

    1. Thank you for sharing this. I really deeply appreciate this. I don’t really know what to say either. I wish I had more words. -Elowen

  3. This ‘numbers’ idea is really amazing, thank you so much for sharing. It’s so important and this could help so many people. I feel for your loss, I lost a friend to suicide a couple of years ago and it’s wildly difficult to deal with. Try your hardest to stay strong and band together with others that might be struggling <3 Which is exactly what this article/number system does.

      1. Thank you so much for this. It has really helped me in the last month or so convey how I’ve been feeling to one of my friends in a simple way we both understand. Thank you!

  4. I have a suicidal friend who pointed me out to this page and I can’t even start explaining how thankful I am for this. I’ve been searching for simple scales to help him recoginze at what state he is but all of them are over complicated and stress inducing to the max. Just trying to figure them out would’ve made him even more suicidal, but waking up and having him showing me this panel and telling me “Latley I’ve been around 4-6” (after a situation where he obviously went to panel 9) gave me and him such a relief. Now we know where he’s at and we might go downscale to let that entire ordeal go. And I have you to thank for it. So from the bottom of my heart, thank you Emmengard. To all of you.

    1. This is wonderful to hear. Thank you so much for sharing. I lack the words to adequately express what this means to us. Thank you.

  5. НowԀԁy would yoou miund stаting which blkog platform you’re
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    1. That’s okay. No need to apologize. We use wordpress. It is very versatile. It is really widely used, so there are a lot of tutorials. We edited the theme a lot, the banner is actually one of our own paintings. Pretty much every piece of art and graphic on here is something we did. Click around. The entire website is just us. It is sort of divided primarily between paintings and comics, with the blog, homepage and about-us in between. Take care.

  6. I just found y’all’s beautiful scale on The Mighty tonight. I immediately came here & just had to leave my little digital ink-mark comment in the visitor book of sorts. I suffer from MDD, GAD, & CPTSD. I just took a job a month ago tomorrow and I had my first breakdown today (not even 3 full weeks on the floor) and have no clue how I’m going to function…and enter on cue your awesome soulful visual gauge. I am so saddened to read about y’all’s losses. Large warm Texas healing hugs!

    1. Thank you <3. I wish you all the best with your job and everything generally. Breakdowns are really challenging to deal with, and cpstd is a bear. We have that one too. Take care of yourself. Hugs!

  7. This graphic is just amazing. It is so helpful to me in my line of work. I meet people through my job often in various states of suicidal thoughts. Thank you so much for getting your thoughts out, and going through with posting this, I will spread this awareness to the many people around me.

  8. Thank you so much! I’m going to share this with a friend and hopefully even if she only tells me what number she’s at, I’ll be able to help her! Just a query about number 6? The graphic reads “there are seats left! It’s Bearnardo!” Is that supposed to be ‘no seats left’? I might just be reading it wrong 😕

    1. “There are going to be seats left. It’s Bearnado!” is meant to indicate that his friend is rushing him for no reason. I don’t know if you are familiar with the Shark-nado films, but one generally does not have to worry about finding a seat when you go to see those films. His friend replies “We don’t know that for sure,” showing his love for the campy film and conviction that, based on his own adoration of these Bear-nado films, that the theatre could be packed, which is a bit silly.

  9. This is so helpful. I’ve spent most of my life somewhere between 5 and 10. I want to save this to my phone and will definitely share with some others including my psych practitioner and my therapist. I’m so sorry to hear about Kevin. It is hard to even imagine anyone can understand even a little bit when you are in the depth of depression which makes it so hard to talk to anyone. Thank you for making it a little easier.

  10. I feel like it’s the first time I understand what happened to me back in the days. I never though of myself as suicidal but now I know it is a scale and I was on it. Thank you.

  11. I downloaded this scale in May 2019 – a very difficult time in my life. I didn’t do any research and assumed it was just some well-established metric like the Wong-Baker scale for physical pain. Only now have I realized it’s original to this site and first appeared in May 2019. You uploaded this image exactly when I needed it. Thank you. RIP Kevin.

  12. Hi, Emmengard and Megan. I thank you All for this from the bottom of my heart…. It’s been an amazing tool for me, and others too…
    I was wondering, any ideas about expanding the accessibility of this? Into an animation with voice, or at least posting a visual description so that folks who use Read To Me features could get this as well. I’ve got two people in my life who have Dyslexia. I’d really love for them to have this close, and I think I might not be the only one. 💜


    1. There was a description in the alt text for screen readers. We copied it to the bottom of the blog post. Hope that helps.

  13. Just discovered this today via reddit. Thank you for making and sharing this it is brilliant. It’s helped me speak openly about my experiences and add to the voices off support.

    Best wishes to you and sincere condolences for your loss.

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