Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the US. Understanding and recognizing warning signs can help someone at risk. Here’s what you can do.

Know the Warning Signs

Warning signs can include:

  • Sleeping too much or too little
  • Feeling hopeless or trapped
  • Withdrawing from activities and social contact
  • Daily routine changes
  • Increased use of drugs
  • Mood swings

Understand Why They’re Feeling This Way

  • Ask
    • Do not be afraid to directly ask a person you suspect may be at risk if they are experiencing suicidal thoughts.
  • Connect With Them
    • Providing ongoing support can help them establish a safety net they can rely on. Exploring their situation from their point of view shows that you want to understand.
  • Follow up
    • Continue to check up on the person at risk and see how they’re feeling. A call or text can go a long way.

Provide Them With Suicide Outreach Programs

There are many organizations that provide valuable resources in suicide prevention. If the person at risk has no one to ask for help at the time, these resources can help.

  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-TALK(8255)) – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
  • American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP)
  • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
  • Suicide Awareness Voices of Education (SAVE)
  • Suicide Prevention Resource Center
  • Yellow Ribbon Suicide Prevention Program

For Immediate Help

If a person has recently attempted suicide:

  • Don’t leave them alone.
  • Call 911 or take them to the nearest emergency room.
  • Try to find out if they are under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  • Tell one of their family members or friends what is going on.

References

  1. Participate. National Suicide Lifeline Prevention. Accessed August 29, 2018.
  2. Suicide: what to do when someone is suicidal. Mayo Clinic. January 31, 2018. Accessed August 29, 2018.