Suicide Prevention

If you or someone you know is in an emergency, call The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255) or call 911 immediately. Suicide is preventable and everyone has a role to play to save lives and create healthy and strong individuals, families, and communities.

What is Suicide?

Suicide is death caused by injuring oneself with the intent to die. A suicide attempt is when someone harms themselves with any intent to end their life, but they do not die as a result of their actions.

Suicidal ideations, often called suicidal thoughts or ideas, is a broad term used to describe a range of contemplations, wishes, and preoccupations with death and suicide.

From the DSM-5

What causes Suicidal Ideations?

Suicidal thoughts have many causes. Most often, suicidal thoughts are the result of feeling like you can't cope when you're faced with what seems to be an overwhelming life situation. If you don't have hope for the future, you may mistakenly think suicide is a solution. You may experience a sort of tunnel vision, where in the middle of a crisis you believe suicide is the only way out.

There also may be a genetic link to suicide. People who complete suicide or who have suicidal thoughts or behavior are more likely to have a family history of suicide.

Risk Factors

Although attempted suicide is more frequent for women, men are more likely than women to complete suicide because they typically use more-lethal methods, such as a firearm.

    • Attempted suicide before
    • Feel hopeless, worthless, agitated, socially isolated or lonely
    • Experience a stressful life event, such as the loss of a loved one, military service, a breakup, or financial or legal problems
    • Have a substance abuse problem — alcohol and drug abuse can worsen thoughts of suicide and make you feel reckless or impulsive enough to act on your thoughts
    • Have suicidal thoughts and have access to firearms in your home
    • Have an underlying psychiatric disorder, such as major depression, post-traumatic stress disorder or bipolar disorder
    • Have a family history of mental disorders, substance abuse, suicide, or violence, including physical or sexual abuse
    • Have a medical condition that can be linked to depression and suicidal thinking, such as chronic disease, chronic pain or terminal illness
    • Are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender with an unsupportive family or in a hostile environment

    How to Recognize Suicidal Ideations

    Warning signs aren't always obvious, and they may vary from person to person. Some people make their intentions clear, while others keep suicidal thoughts and feelings secret.

    Talking about suicide — for example, making statements such as "I'm going to kill myself," "I wish I were dead" or "I wish I hadn't been born"
    Getting the means to take your own life, such as buying a gun or stockpiling pills
    Withdrawing from social contact and wanting to be left alone
    Having mood swings, such as being emotionally high one day and deeply discouraged the next
    Being preoccupied with death, dying or violence
    Feeling trapped or hopeless about a situation
    Increasing use of alcohol or drugs
    Changing normal routine, including eating or sleeping patterns
    Doing risky or self-destructive things, such as using drugs or driving recklessly
    Giving away belongings or getting affairs in order when there's no other logical explanation for doing this
    Saying goodbye to people as if they won't be seen again
    Developing personality changes or being severely anxious or agitated, particularly when experiencing some of the warning signs listed above

    Know the Facts


    Nearly 46,000 people dies by suicide in 2020. That is 1 death every 11 minutes.

    Many adults think about suicide or attempt suicide. 12.2 million seriously thought about suicide. 3.2 million made a plan for suicide. 1.2 million attempted suicide.

    12.2 million

    Treatment Options

    Treatment of suicidal thoughts and behavior depends on your specific situation, including your level of suicide risk and what underlying problems may be causing your suicidal thoughts or behavior.

    If you've attempted suicide and you're injured:

    • Call 911 or your local emergency number.
    • Have someone else call if you're not alone.

    If you're not injured, but you're at immediate risk of harming yourself:

    • Call 911 or your local emergency number.
    • Call a suicide hotline number — in the U.S., call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255) to reach a trained counselor


    Someone with a plan, access to lethal means, recent social stressors and symptoms suggestive of a psychiatric disorder should be hospitalized immediately. Their family should be informed of the decision to proceed with hospitalization, and they should not be left alone while he or she is transferred to a more secure environment.

    Someone may also refuse to be hospitalized. The grounds for involuntary commitment are: (1) imminent danger to self or others and (2) an inability to care for one's self. Procedures are in place to allow for an involuntary hospitalization of 48 hours if necessary. 

    If you or someone you know is in crisis

    It is important to note that suicide is not a normal response to stress. Suicidal thoughts or actions are a sign of extreme distress and should not be ignored.

    National Suicide Prevention Lifeline  

    Click the link below, Call 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or text the Crisis Text Line (text HELLO to 741741). Both services are free and available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. All calls are confidential. Contact social media outlets directly if you are concerned about a friend’s social media updates or dial 911 in an emergency.

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    Veterans Crisis Line: Suicide Prevention Hotline, Text & Chat  

    Click the link above, Call 1-800-273-8255, and Press 1, or Text 838255 Connect with the Veterans Crisis Line to reach caring, qualified responders with the Department of Veterans Affairs. This free support is confidential, available every day, 24/7, and serves All Veterans, All Service members, National Guard and Reserve, their family members and friends.  

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    National Domestic Violence Hotline

    For any victims and survivors who need support, click the link above, call 1-800-799-7233 or 1-800-799-7233 for TTY, or if you’re unable to speak safely, text LOVEIS to 22522.

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    Action Steps for Helping Someone in Emotional Pain

    From NIMH: National Institute of Mental Health

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