Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States. Mental health conditions are often seen as the cause of suicide, but according to the CDC, more than half of the people who have died from suicide did not have a known mental health condition at the time of their death. Other factors that often contribute to suicide are relationship problems, problematic substance abuse, financial issues, physical health problems, or a past or impending personal crisis.
There are ways to help prevent suicide and it is important that everyone in the community knows how to identify warning signs.
- Feeling like a burden
- Being isolated
- Increased anxiety
- Feeling trapped or in unbearable pain
- Increased substance abuse
- Looking for a way to access lethal means
- Expressing hopelessness
- Talking about (or posting on social media) wanting to die
- Making plans for suicide
If you think someone may be at risk, do the following:
- Ask. Do not just assume someone is having suicidal thoughts. Have a conversation with that person, letting them express his or her feelings.
- Listen. Offer your friend a listening ear, free of judgement. If you think he or she may be in immediate danger, make sure they are not left alone.
- Tell. The person may ask you to keep your conversation private, but it is crucial that you get them some help by notifying someone such as a parent or a doctor.
If you are struggling with thoughts of suicide, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline provides free and confidential support 24/7 and can be reached at 1-800-273-8255.