Suicide Prevention

Adapted from National Institute on Mental Health Suicide Prevention


  • Call 9-1-1 in an emergency
  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273- TALK (8255)
  • Crisis Text Line – 741741 and text HELLO
    • Both are free and available 24/7
    • All communication is confidential


  • Ask “are you thinking about killing yourself?”
    • Asking the question does not increase suicides or suicidal thoughts.
  • Keep the person safe by reducing access to lethal items or places.
  • Stay with the person, listen carefully and acknowledge their feelings.
  • Contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255.
    • Contacting a trusted individual or mental health professional is also useful.
  • Stay connected and follow up with the person after a crisis.


  • Suicide is preventable.
  • Many people have risk factors and signs and symptoms listed below but do not attempt suicide. New or increased behaviors increase the risk.
  • Suicidal thoughts or actions are signs of extreme distress, not a bid for attention, and should never be ignored.
  • In 2019, suicide was the 10th leading cause of death in the nation.
  • Suicide rates are highest among men 85 and older than any other age group.
  • Suicide attempts by older individuals are more likely to result in death because they plan more carefully, the plan is less likely to be discovered, and being elderly makes recovery more difficult.
  • Suicide and suicide attempts affect the well-being of the individual as well as loved ones, friends, co-workers, and the community.
  • 90% of people who attempt suicide and survive never go on to die by suicide.


  • Depression or other mental health disorder
  • Substance abuse disorder
  • Chronic pain
  • A prior suicide attempt
  • Family history of a mental disorder
  • Family history of suicide
  • Family violence including physical or sexual abuse
  • Guns or firearms in the home
  • Recent release from prison or jail
  • Being exposed to other’s suicidal behavior including family, peers, or celebrities.


  • Talking about wanting to die or wanting to kill themselves.
  • Talking about feeling empty, hopeless, or having no reason to live.
  • Making a plan for a way to kill themselves, such as searching for a lethal method online, stockpiling pills, or buying a gun.
  • Talking about guilt or shame.
  • Talking about feeling trapped or that there are no solutions.
  • Feeling unbearable emotional or physical pain.
  • Talking about being a burden to others.
  • Using alcohol or drugs more often.
  • Withdrawing from family and friends
  • Changing eating 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, changing from very sad to very calm or happy.
  • Giving away important possessions.
  • Saying goodbye to family and friends.
  • Putting affairs in order, making a will.


  • Immediate interventions
    • Consult a mental health expert.
    • Create a personalized safety plan that limits access to lethal means.
    • Determine coping strategies and resources for use in a crisis.
  • Psychotherapy
  • Medication
  • Behavioral health care management