Suicide Prevention PDF Print E-mail

Depression is a leading cause of suicide. If you believe that someone is suicidal or may cause harm to self or others, seek immediate help. Call their mental health clinician, take them to the closest emergency room, or call 1-800-273-8255 (1-800-273-TALK).

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-TALK) connects callers to the closest available crisis center and also offers online chat.

Warning Signs of Suicide
Helping Someone Who Is Suicidal
Ways to Help Prevent a Suicide

Warning Signs of Suicide

  • Talking about suicide
  • Talking about hopelessness and worthlessness
  • Being preoccupied with death
  • Suddenly being happier and calmer
  • Making unusual visits or calling people one cares about
  • Making arrangements or putting one's affairs in order
  • Giving things away.

Helping Someone Who Is Suicidal

Ask if the person with depression feels suicidal. By asking, you will not cause the person to take his or her life.

If you think someone is suicidal:

  • Tell them you are concerned they may take their own life
  • Ask them if they are going to kill themselves
    • If yes, ask them if they have a plan (the more detailed the plan, the greater the likelihood that they will act on that plan)
  • Get help immediately! Call a suicide hotline (1-800-273-8255), 9-1-1, or their mental health clinician.
  • Do not leave the person alone.

Ways to Help Prevent a Suicide

  1. Watch for suicidal behavior. Ask regularly if your loved one feels suicidal. Your question will not give the person the idea or cause the person to take his or her life. Other suicidal behaviors include:
    • Making verbal suicidal threats ("You'd be better off without me.")
    • Feeling hopeless or helpless
    • Talking about death or having a preoccupation with death
    • Engaging in risk-taking behavior
    • Giving away possessions
    • Lacking interest in future plans
  2. Make your home safe. Remove all guns and weapons from the house, or at least lock them up. Approximately 57 percent of all suicides are completed using a firearm. In a home where there is a gun, it is five times more likely that someone living in that home will take his or her life compared to a home without a gun. Other potentially harmful items such as ropes, cords, sharp knives, alcohol and other drugs, medications, and poisons should also be removed.
  3. Watch for signs of drinking. If someone has depression, feels suicidal, and drinks a lot of alcohol, the person is more likely to take his or her life. If someone is drinking, you need to discuss this with the clinician.
  4. Develop a suicide emergency plan. Discuss who you will contact if the person with depression feels suicidal. Discuss with the clinician what you should do and where you should take the person if he or she feels suicidal. The clinician will have specific recommendations.
 


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If you or someone you know is in crisis, call 800-273-TALK or 911 immediately.