What to do When it Comes to Suicide Prevention

Did you know that more than 40,000 people die by suicide each year in the United States?It is the 10th leading cause of death. Suicide is complicated and tragic, but it is often preventable. Knowing the warning signs for suicide and how to get help can help save lives.

Signs and Symptoms

The behaviors listed below are just a few signs that someone may be thinking about suicide.

  • Talking about wanting to die or wanting to kill themselves
  • Talking about feeling empty, hopeless, or having no reason to live
  • Making a plan or looking for a way to kill themselves, such as searching online, stockpiling pills, or buying a gun
  • Feeling unbearable pain (emotional pain or physical pain)
  • Withdrawing from family and friends
  • Giving away important possessions
  • Saying goodbye to friends and family
  • Putting affairs in order, making a will

If these warning signs apply to you or someone you know, seek help as soon as possible. An immediate resource is the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline , 1-800-273-TALK (8255). The Lifeline is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The deaf and hard of hearing can contact the Lifeline via TTY at 1-800-799-4889. Going to the nearest emergency room can can also be the best option as you or someone you know will receive medical care immediately.

Risk Factors

Suicidal behavior is complex and there is typically no single cause. In fact, many different factors usually contribute to a person making a suicide attempt. The main risk factors are:

  • Depression, other mental disorders, or substance abuse disorder
  • Certain medical conditions or chronic pain
  • A prior suicide attempt
  • Family history of a mental disorder or substance abuse
  • Family history of suicide
  • Family violence, including physical or sexual abuse
  • Having guns or other firearms in the home
  • Being exposed to suicidal behavior from others

Many people have some of these risk factors but do not attempt suicide. It is important to note that suicide is not a normal response to stress. Suicidal thoughts or actions are a clear sign of extreme distress and should be taken seriously.

How You Can Be an Advocate for Suicide Prevention

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention offers several ways you can get involved with the fight to prevent suicide:

  • Walk to fight suicide
  • Volunteer
  • Bring suicide prevention to your school
  • Write a research grant
  • Donate to the foundation for educational programs, medication and more

Click here to learn more.

Test Smartly Labs is a Nationwide laboratory focused on overall health and well-being. 


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