Suicide Prevention

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Coping with typical stressors of life

Suicide Prevention

If you or someone you know is in an emergency, call The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or call 911 immediately.

Warning Signs of Suicide InfographicSuicidal 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

Talking about:

  • wanting to die
  • great guilt or shame
  • being a burden to others


  • empty, hopeless, trapped, or having no reason to live
  • extremely sad, more anxious, agitated or full of rage
  • unbearable emotional or physical pain

Changing behavior, such as:

  • making a plan or researching way to die
  • withdrawing from friends, saying goodbye, giving away important items, or making a will
  • taking dangerous risks such as driving extremely fast
  • displaying extreme mood swings
  • eating or sleeping more or less
  • using drugs or alcohol more often

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: