According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States. With suicide being a major public health concern, it is important to become familiar with who suicide affects, recognize risk factors, learn the warning signs, find steps to take to help prevent suicide, and know how to get help.
Who does it affect?
Suicide affects all ages, races, ethnicities, sexual orientation, and gender identities.
What are the risk factors?
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, at least 90 percent of all people who die by suicide suffer from one or more mental disorders, such as depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, impulsivity, eating disorders, or alcoholism. These risk factors do not cause or predict a suicide or suicide attempt, but these mental health disorders make it more likely that someone will consider, attempt, or die by suicide.
What are the warning signs?
There is not one single factor that contributes to suicide, but there are warning signs that may indicate someone may be in danger and need to seek help. Some warning signs may include talking about suicide, withdrawing from social interactions, increased use of drugs and/or alcohol, and extreme mood swings. Warning signs may not always be obvious and can vary from person to person.
For more information on suicide warning signs, visit the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.
What are some steps to take to help prevent suicide?
Suicide often requires a combination of individuals to come together and provide support for someone who is struggling. Ways to help reduce suicide can include maintaining strong social connections with relationships that are meaningful, getting help and treatment when needed, and becoming educated on coping and problem-solving skills.
How to show support?
Everyone can play a role in spreading awareness about suicide prevention and mental health, and there are a lot of ways to help make a difference. Consider volunteering at a local crisis center, make a donation to a suicide prevention organization, or participate in a local walk, such as Out of Darkness. You could also sign up for a training such as QPR to learn skills and know how to respond to someone in a crisis.
Spread the word through materials, prevention ribbons, or lifeline logos available from the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.
Where does one get help?
Seek help from a trained professional when needed. Being a compassionate, listening ear is a helpful and effective way to provide support to anyone who may be struggling. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline provides free and confidential emotional support and is available 24/7 across the United States.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
Phone: 800-273-TALK (8255)
Crisis Text Line: text TALK to 741741