Suicide Prevention (Guide)

What are some statistics about suicide?

Suicide is a major public health concern.

Over 55,000 folks died by suicide within the U. S. in 2017; it’s the 10th leading reason behind death overall.

Suicide is tragic, and is typically preventable.

Knowing the warning signs for suicide and being conscious of how to help people struggling with suicidal ideation will save lives.

What are the signs and symptoms of people that have suicidal ideation?

The behaviors listed below could be signs that somebody is considering suicide.

Ø  Talking about being eager to die or eager to kill themselves

Ø  Talking about feeling empty, hopeless, or having no reason to live

Ø  Creating a plan or searching for how to kill themselves, like looking for fatal strategies on-line, pills, or shopping for a g*n

Ø  Talking about guilt or shame

Ø  Talking about feeling cornered or feeling that there are not any solutions

Ø  Feeling unendurable pain (emotional pain or physical pain)

Ø  Talking about being a burden to others

Ø  Misuse of alcohol or medicine, especially in terms of overdoses 

Ø  Acting anxious or agitated

Ø  Retreating from family and friends

Ø  Change in sleeping habits

Ø  Showing rage or talking aboutseeking revenge

Ø  Taking risks that might result in death, like driving very quickly

Ø  Talking about or wondering about death in general

Ø  Displaying extreme mood swings, from terribly unhappy to terribly calm or happy

Ø  Giving away important possessions

If these warning signs apply to you or somebody you know, get help as soon as possible, especially if the behavior is new or has recently gotten worse.

Risk Factors for Suicide

Suicide doesn’t discriminate. Folks of all genders, ages, and ethnicities are in danger.

There is no single cause for suicidal ideation. Many factors contribute to somebody wanting to attempt suicide.

However, folks most in danger tend to share specific characteristics. The biggest risk factors for suicide are:

Ø  Previous suicide attempt(s)

Ø  A history of suicide within the family

Ø  Substance misuse

Ø  Mood disorders (depression, bipolar disorder)

Ø  Access to weapons (e.g., keeping firearms within the home)

Ø  Familial, relational or other major difficulties (for example, the breakup of a relationship or a death, educational failures, legal difficulties, money difficulties, bullying)

Ø  History of trauma or abuse

Ø  Chronic physical health problem, as well as chronic pain

Ø  Exposure to the dangerous behavior of others

Ø  Depression, different mental disorders, or drug abuse disorder

Ø  Medical conditions

Ø  Chronic pain

Ø  A previous suicide attempt

Ø  Case history of a disturbance or drug abuse

Ø  Case history of suicide

Ø  Family violence, as well as physical or statutory offense

Ø  Having g*ns or different firearms within the home

Ø  Having recently been discharged from jail or prison

Ø  Being exposed to others’ dangerous behavior, like that of members of the family, peers, or celebrities

Many people have a number of these risk factors but do not attempt suicide. It’s necessary to note that suicide isn’t a traditional response to stress.

And, dangerous thoughts or actions are proof of maximum levels of distress, and not simply a person looking for attention.

In some cases, a recent distressing event will leave folks feeling desperate, unable to ascertain what to do, and become a “tipping point” toward suicide.

A recent authority report highlights the complexities of suicide.

Whereas a psychological condition could also be a contributory issue for several folks, the report notes that “many factors contribute to suicide among those with and without psychological conditions.”

Difficulties within a relationship was the highest issue contributory to suicide, followed by a crisis within the past or future period and problematic substance use.

The Center of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that 54 percent of individuals who died by suicide did not have a notable psychological state condition.

However, several of them might have experienced psychological challenges that had not been diagnosed or disclosed to those around them.

Warning Signs of Suicide

Ø  Typically talking or writing about death, dying or suicide

Ø  Making comments about feeling hopeless, helpless or valueless

Ø  Expressions of feeling no reason for living; no sense of purpose in life; saying things like “It would be better if I wasn’t here” or “I want out.”

Ø  High levels of alcohol and/or drug misuse

Ø  Withdrawal from friends, family, and community

Ø  Reckless behavior or engaging in a lot of risky activities

Ø  Dramatic mood changes

Ø  Talking about feeling cornered or being a burden to others

Some ways to help people experiencing suicidal thoughts/ways to support people with suicidal thoughts are:

Ø  Putting them in contact with providers (e.g., calls with health care professionals)

Ø  Effective psychological care; quick access to a spread of clinical interventions

Ø  Helping them build sturdy connections with people, family, community and social establishments

Ø  Helping them build problem-solving and conflict resolution skills

As with any mental disorder, one of the most important barriers to preventing suicide is stigma, which prevents many people with mental health concerns from seeking help.

The authority report recommends a comprehensive public health approach to suicide prevention and it identifies many methods that states and communities will undertake, increasing options for temporary help for those at risk and connecting folks at risk to effective and coordinated mental and physical health care.


According to the CDC, statistics on suicide include the following:

Ø  Overall suicide rates increased from 2000 to 2015

Ø  One person dies by suicide each twelve minutes within the United States

Ø  There is one completed suicide attempt for each twenty-five unsuccessful suicide attempts

Ø  Within the older community, there is one completed suicide for every four unsuccessful suicide attempts 

Ø  Suicide is the tenth leading reason of death within the US across all ages

Ø  Within the US, rates of suicide are unit highest among people who are white, Yank Indian, or Alaskan Native American

Gender variations

Ø  Men are four times more likely to kill someone than a woman

Ø  Women are likely to have thoughts of suicide

Ø  Women are four times more likely than men to attempt suicide

Ø  Men are more likely to use a firearm to attempt suicide

Ø  Women are more likely to use some form of poison to attempt suicide

Age variations

Ø  2 in 200,000 kids ages ten to fourteen die by suicide annually

Ø  14 in 200,000 adolescents ages fifteen to nineteen die by suicide annually

Ø  25 in 200,000 young adults ages twenty to twenty-four die by suicide annually


Suicide prevention strategies and treatment depend upon a specific patient’s risk factors.

A treatment plan prescribed without considering all of the underlying mental health conditions that a person has the potential to add to dangerous thoughts and acts.

Treatment plans should focus on the mental health concern that is most prevalent first, and then focus on other conditions that a person might have.

One of the most common suicide prevention techniques is psychotherapy— conjointly referred to as talk therapy—in the forms of Cognitive-behavioral Therapy (CBT) or Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT).

Cognitive-behavioral therapy could be a common treatment possibility for people who have more than one mental health condition.

During this technique of psychotherapy, a person learns new ways to handle stress and difficult life experiences.

Throughout this form of therapy, if thoughts of suicide arise, a person will learn to direct those thoughts in a way that will prevent them from taking their own life.

Dialectical behavior modification is used to help a person acknowledge tumultuous or unhealthy feelings or actions.

Additionally, this technique of therapy introduces ways to endure tough or worrisome life experiences.

A lot of analysis is required in psychotherapy associated with suicidal ideology although, DBT, especially, has been shown to decrease the prevalence of suicide attempts. 

Medications may also be prescribed help prevent suicide; but this is controversial, as several medications used in the treatment of mental disorders have the potential to increase suicidal ideology.

Antidepressants particularly carry a risk of a possible increase in dangerous thoughts and behavior—but this risk can vary due to age.

Clinical analysis has shown that young adults increase in their risk of suicide and dangerous thoughts once taking antidepressants, however in older people, this correlation dimishes.

Increased awareness among doctors is additionally an interference technique.

Analysis indicates that several people who have committed suicide or made a suicide attempt did request medical attention within the year prior; but, warning signs might have been missed.

Increased education and awareness among medical professionals would possibly decrease suicide rates within the future.

Popular “crisis hotlines” haven’t had research performed surrounding them that indicates that their use is effective or not.

Though, one positive aspect of those hotlines is that they’re typically well-known and will hopefully increase the population’s awareness of the risk factors associated with suicidal ideology. 

Treatments and Therapies

Brief Interventions

Ø  Safety Planning: Personalized safety planning has been shown to help scale back dangerous thoughts and actions.

Patients work with a caregiver to develop a plan that describes ways in which to limit access to fatal weapons like firearms, pills, or poisons.

They arrange conjointly coping methods and other people and resources which will help the person in crisis.

Ø  Follow-up phone calls: Research has shown that when at-risk patients receive any screening, intervention, or a series of phone calls from their provider, their risk of suicide goes down.


Multiple styles of psychosocial interventions are found to assist people who have tried suicide.

These styles of interventions might stop somebody from creating another attempt.

Ø  Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) can help folks learn new ways to handle disagreeable experiences through coaching.

CBT helps people acknowledge their thought patterns and think through various alternative coping mechanisms once thoughts of suicide arise.

Ø  Dialectical behavior modification (DBT) has been shown to reduce dangerous behavior in adolescents.

DBT has especially been shown to cut back rates of suicide in adults with borderline personality disorder.

An expert trained in DBT helps an individual acknowledge his or her feelings or actions that are not serving them, and teaches the abilities required to better deal with difficulties.

FAQ’s Questions

Do people faking considering suicide in order to prove a point or to induce sympathy?

No. A suicide attempt should never be overlooked and is  a warning that something is extremely wrong.

Most of the folks who struggle with suicidal ideation do not feel that they 100% wish to die—they merely wish their pain and suffering would end.

It isn’t to try to make someone feel bad for them.

Apart from speaking with a person who is in danger, what else can we do to try and help a person suffering with suicidal ideation?

Going with someone to a counselor generally helps.

If the person refuses to come with you, you will have to speak with someone one their behalf and get them into treatment in some way.

Saving a life is much more important than violating the trust of a person who is danger.

For somebody determined to commit suicide the need to live is overshadowed by the apparent despair of their situation.




Ø  Kochanek KD, Xu J, Murphy SL, Miniño AM, Kung HC. Deaths: preliminary data for 2009. Natl Vital Stat Rep. 2011; 59(4):1–51. [PubMed]

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