Introduction: Emergency Sadness Survival Book

About: I'm an engineer, designer, and maker studying at the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Suicide Prevention Day was September 10th, and many organizations are continuing to spread the word of suicide awareness/prevention for the rest of the month. It's a serious topic, but, due to social stigmas and poor infrastructure, it is difficult to approach the topic of mental health. As a result, very few people are aware of how debilitating mental illness can be AND people who need help in that regard rarely find support.

I made this book and the graphics in it to help support a friend that I noticed was having a really, really hard time. It gave her a convenient, pocket-sized resource to remind her how much people care about her, as well as the contact information for those people. It has also been useful for the both of us to spark open, honest, and engaging conversations with other people regarding mental health. This little book is essentially a companion to a Wellness Recovery Action Plan that someone who is suicidal would develop with a therapist or licensed professional. I am in no way saying that this book is a replacement for actual therapy or mental health professionals. If you know someone who is in an emergency crisis situation, call 800-273-TALK (8255).

I'd like to share this template so that you can use it to help anyone around you that is struggling.

Materials & Tools:

  • paper
  • stapler
  • scissors
  • color printer
  • pen


  • Adobe InDesign
  • Google Forms

Step 1: Identify a Friend Who Needs Help.

I'm no expert at this, so I've linked a resource below that is written by professionals and is much more in depth than anything I can offer.

If someone near you shows signs of being at risk for suicide, or if you know of someone who has been struggling lately with stress or a difficult situation, they may be in need of this book!

Step 2: Gather Encouraging Quotes for Your Friend.

The whole point of this book is to provide encouraging, funny, or inspiring quotes to a friend in need. Quotes mean much more if they're chosen by or spoken by friends and loved ones.

Reach out to friends and family of your friend, and ask them to provide quotes. I would recommend setting up a Google form, so that you can keep track of the information - although I wouldn't distribute it publicly. I set up a sample form here, feel free to copy the questions.

Specifically, you are looking for short 1 or 2 sentence quotes.


Don't embarrass the person. Because mental health is still a stigmatized issue, many people who have mental illnesses are not comfortable sharing that status with the world at large. Gather this information by talking directly to people that you know are close to your friend, rather than just crowdsourcing it on social media.

Step 3: Download the Template.

Download the packaged file from this page! Packaging means that the file includes all of the assets necessary for you to create the project, and it even includes the font selections! All of my artwork is embedded, so you shouldn't have any problem using it.

Download the package to create a book with all of the quotes typed in already.

Note: You will need InDesign to open these.


The fonts that I use for this book were gotten off of

- Just Tell Me What - a font by 7NTypes

- Give You What You Like - a font by Misti's Fonts

If you like this book, I would encourage you to donate a little to each of the creators of these fonts, since I pulled them for Personal/Non-Profit Use.

Step 4: Modify the Template!

I've set up 5 master pages - (3 one-page options, and 2 two-page spreads) with artwork. To create new pages in the document, you'll need to INSERT pages where you want them, and then APPLY MASTER for whichever one you want. Next, you'll OVERRIDE MASTER elements on the page, and then edit the text, as shown in the attached pictures. You can even just copy paste in the quotes you've already gathered!

Naturally, since this is Instructables, you may want to make your own cool page layouts and backgrounds. I did mine in Illustrator, sized to be 3.5"x4.5" at a ~300 ppi. If you want to make your own, design the backgrounds in a vector based software, such as Illustrator or Inkscape, using my settings. You may also want to use my color palette if you want it to blend in with the rest of the book. My fonts and font styles are already included in the package, so you'll use title font, body copy, and flavor text, the paragraph styles.

Color Palette:

  • white - #F2F9F6
  • medium grey - #6D8288
  • soft mint - #D9ECD2
  • bright blue - #47C6E6
  • bright green - #B4D442
  • dark blue-green - #064C61


If you want people to fill in the spaces for quotes by hand, you'll need to heavily modify my template to include white spaces that pens will show up in.

Step 5: Print the Booklet.

Once you've got everything how you want it, you are ready to print! In order to print the way that I'm going to show you, you need to make sure that the total number of pages in your booklet (including front/back covers) is a multiple of 4. InDesign is weird that way.

Print booklet is a function in InDesign that makes it easy to turn your design into a book, because it lines up the corresponding pages. I've attached images that show the way that I setup my booklet print, which was unusual because of the size of the document.

  1. I print to PDF (because I don't trust InDesign and want to check my copy first before printing.
    1. In PDF setup, I make sure to select Page Position - Center Horizontally.
  2. After I review the PDF, I send it to the color printer, making sure to print on both sides of the page, flipping on the long edge.

Step 6: Staple & Trim the Booklet.

Take the pages directly from the printer, and jam them in your stapler, making sure that the staple placement lines up with the spine of the book. You may end up creasing or crumpling the page to make it fit in the stapler, but I've found that this is the easiest way to make sure your alignment and trimming is correct.

After you staple the pages together, trim them to get rid of all of the white space around the content. Then, bend every page at the crease.

Step 7: Share It.

Meet up with your friend, and share what you've made with them. Let them know that you are there to listen, and that you thought that they could use a little extra encouragement in their lives.