Suicide Prevention

If you or someone you know is in an emergency, text “CARE4U” to 741741 or call The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-TALK (8255) or call 911 immediately.

Suicidal thoughts or behaviors are both damaging and dangerous. Someone experiencing these thoughts should seek immediate assistance from a health or mental health care provider. Having suicidal thoughts does not mean someone is weak or flawed.

Know the Warning Signs

  • Threats or comments about killing themselves, also known as suicidal ideation, can begin with seemingly harmless thoughts like “I wish I wasn’t here” but can become more overt and dangerous
  • Increased alcohol and drug use
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Social withdrawal from friends, family and the community
  • Dramatic mood swings
  • Talking, writing or thinking about death
  • Impulsive or reckless behavior

Risk Factors for Suicide

Research has found that more than half of people who died by suicide did not have a known mental health condition. A number of other things may put a person at risk of suicide, including:

  • A family history of suicide
  • Substance abuse. Drugs and alcohol can result in mental highs and lows that exacerbate suicidal thoughts
  • Intoxication. More than one in three people who die from suicide are found to be currently under the influence
  • Access to firearms
  • A serious or chronic medical illness
  • Gender. Although more women than men attempt suicide, men are four times more likely to die by suicide
  • A history of trauma or abuse
  • Prolonged stress
  • Isolation
  • Age. People under age 24 or above age 65 are at a higher risk for suicide
  • A recent tragedy or loss
  • Agitation and sleep deprivation
  • Sexual orientation. Stress resulting from prejudice and discrimination (family rejection, bullying, violence) is a known risk factor for suicide attempts among lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) youth.

Adapted from National Alliance on Mental Illness – Risk of Suicide

Protective Factors

Protective factors are personal or environmental characteristics that help protect people from suicide.

Major protective factors for suicide include:

  • Effective behavioral health care
  • Connectedness to individuals, family, community, and social institutions
  • Life skills (including problem solving skills and coping skills, ability to adapt to change)
  • Self-esteem and a sense of purpose or meaning in life
  • Cultural, religious, or personal beliefs that discourage suicide

Additional Resources