Having suicidal thoughts is nothing to be ashamed of. It is key that you or the suicidal individual seeks appropriate professional support. There are also many resources available online, or through text or call lines.
- Crisis Text Line – Text HOME to 741741 from anywhere in the United States, 24/7, and a trained Crisis Counselor will receive and respond to the text.
- Referrals: https://www.crisistextline.org/referrals
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) 24/7
- Suicide Prevention Resource Center – https://www.sprc.org/
- American Foundation for Suicide Prevention – https://afsp.org/
- The Trevor Project – LGBT crisis intervention and suicide prevention hotline – call 1-866-488-7386 24/7, https://www.thetrevorproject.org/
Recognizing and addressing the following risk factors and warning signs is an important first step in suicide prevention.
Risk Factors for Suicide:
- Psychiatric illnesses such as depression, substance use problems, anxiety disorders, and bipolar disorder
- Access to lethal means for carrying out a plan
- Chronic stress, stressful life events, major life changes
- Loss of a loved one
- Suicide attempts in the past or a family history of suicide
- Childhood trauma, including abuse and/or neglect
Warning Signs to Recognize Suicide Risk in Others:
Talking about or feeling…
- Anxious, depressed, agitated
- Uninterested in activities they once enjoyed
- Enraged or vengeful
- Killing themselves
- Hopeless or like there is no reason to keep living
- Like a burden to others
- Shameful or guilty
- Trapped or feeling pain
- Using more alcohol and drugs
- Making a suicide plan, such as buying a gun or researching methods
- Withdrawing from loved ones, activities, saying goodbye
- Changing eating and/or sleeping habits
- Taking risks
- Putting affairs in order, giving away important possessions, making a will
- Showing extreme mood swings
What You Can do to be Supportive:
- Be open and direct.
- Talk openly about suicide to encourage an open dialogue
- It’s okay to ask, “Are you thinking about killing yourself/ending your life?”
- Be supportive and non-judgmental.
- Be willing to listen – allow the person to talk openly
- Don’t act shocked, debate about whether suicide is right or wrong, or lecture on the value of life and living
- Listen with empathy and compassion
- Let them know you care about them
- Let them know you’re there for them if they want to reach out
- Connect with trained professionals.
- Encourage them to get help from trained professionals
- Encourage them to reach out to hotlines or text lines
- Let them know they can call 911
- Stay supportive.
- Encourage them to seek professional support and make sure an appointment is made
- Reach out to check in on them – call, text, in-person, card
If you are suicidal, feel unsafe, or are having thoughts of harming yourself or others, call 911 or go to your nearest emergency room immediately.