The National Institute of Mental Health identifies suicide as a major public health concern and defines:
- Suicide as a purposeful act of taking one’s own life from a self-inflicted injurious behavior with intent to die by the cause.
- Suicide Attempt- as engaging in actions that could cause a person to die such as by self-inflicted injury, non-fatal or potentially injurious behavior.
- Suicidal Ideation- as engaging in thoughts about, consideration of, or planning for suicide.
The behaviors listed below may be signs that someone is thinking about suicide.
- Talking about wanting to die or wanting to kill themselves
- Talking about feeling empty, hopeless, or having no reason to live
- Making a plan or looking for a way to kill themselves, such as searching for lethal methods online, stockpiling pills, or buying a gun
- Talking about great guilt or shame
- Talking about feeling trapped or feeling that there are no solutions
- Feeling unbearable pain (emotional pain or physical pain)
- Talking about being a burden to others
- Using alcohol or drugs more often
- Acting anxious or agitated
- Withdrawing from family and friends
- Changing eating and/or sleeping habits
- Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge
- Taking great risks that could lead to death, such as driving extremely fast
- Talking or thinking about death often
- Displaying extreme mood swings, suddenly changing from very sad to very calm or happy
- Giving away important possessions
- Saying goodbye to friends and family
- Putting affairs in order, making a will
Major Risk Factors of Suicide include:
- Depression, other mental disorders, or substance abuse disorder
- Certain medical conditions
- Chronic pain
- A prior suicide attempts
- Family history of a mental disorder or substance abuse
- Family history of suicide
- Family violence, including physical or sexual abuse
- Having guns or other firearms in the home
- Having recently been released from prison or jail
- Being exposed to others’ suicidal behavior, such as that of family members, peers, or celebrities
- Romantic break up
Five steps you can take to keep one save:
- ASK: “Are you thinking about killing yourself?” It may not be an easy question to ask, but an important one.
- KEEP THEM SAFE: Remove access to highly lethal items or places. Validate suicide plan and remove of disable to lethal means.
- BE THERE: Spend time to listen with the at-risk suicide individual to understand their thoughts and feelings.
- HELP THEM CONNECT: Save the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline’s (1-800-273-TALK (8255)) and the Crisis Text Line’s number (741741) in your phone, so it is there when you need it. You can also help make a connection with a trusted individual like a family member, friend, spiritual advisor, or mental health professional.
- STAY CONNECTED: Stay in touch and offer needed support.
What you can do if you are feeling suicidal or have a loved one who is, call the:
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: The Lifeline provides 24-hour, toll-free, and confidential support to anyone in suicidal crisis or emotional distress. Call 1-800-273-TALK (8255)to connect with a skilled, trained counselor at a crisis center in your area. Support is available in English and Spanish and via live chat.
- Disaster Distress Hotline: People affected by any disaster or tragedy can call this helpline, sponsored by SAMHSA, to receive immediate counseling. Call 1-800-985-5990 to connect with a trained professional from the closest crisis counseling center within the network.
- Veterans Crisis Line: This helpline is a free, confidential resource for Veterans of all ages and circumstances. Call 1-800-273-8255, press “1”; text 838255; or chat online to connect with 24/7 support.
- Crisis Text Line: Text HELLO to 741741for free and confidential support 24 hours a day throughout the U.S.