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Fast Facts

Learn more about crisis issues like suicide, self-harm, and depression, including how to get help.

Suicide: Warning Signs, Fast Facts, and Risk Factors

 

The most important fact to know: Suicide is preventable.

Every 16.2 minutes, one person dies of suicide — which means that every year we have the chance to save approximately 30,000 lives. In order to save these lives, it’s crucial that we understand the combination of factors that can lead to suicide.

In order to prevent suicide, we first have to learn how to recognize the warning signs and risk factors of suicide.

Suicide Warning Signs

Nearly all people who die by suicide show warning signs. If you think someone might be at risk, ask them if they’re thinking about suicide. Even if they aren’t, you’re opening up the conversation and letting them know that you’re available to talk about these things.  

Suicidal Behavior: What They Say

A person with suicidal thoughts may talk about":

  • Killing themselves

  • Feeling hopeless

  • Having no reason to live

  • Being a burden to others

  • Feeling trapped

  • Unbearable pain (physical or emotional)


Suicidal Behavior: What They Do

A person actively contemplating suicide might engage in impulsive behavior. This might mean that they:

  • Start using more alcohol and drugs

  • Look for ways to end their lives, including online searches for possible methods

  • Withdraw from activities

  • Isolate from family, friends, and loved ones

  • Sleep too much or too little

  • “Say their goodbyes” to others

  • Give away valued possessions

  • Become aggressive

  • Become fatigued

Suicidal Behavior: How They Feel

A person with suicidal impulses might struggle with many overwhelming emotions. These include feeling:

  • Depressed

  • Anxious

  • Uninterested in activities they once enjoyed

  • Irritable

  • Humiliated

  • Agitated

  • Enraged

Crisis Text Line can is committed to reducing suicide. If you or someone you know is thinking about suicide, text a Crisis Counselor at 741741, or use the mobile text button below. We’re here to support you.

Suicide Risk Factors

Risk factors for suicide are internal or external conditions that increase the likelihood of a suicide attempt. Consider each factor if you suspect someone you know is at risk.

Health Risk Factors for Suicide

Some of the health factors that can leave a person at a higher suicide risk include mental and physical health conditions such as:

  1. Depression

  2. Substance abuse problems

  3. Bipolar disorder

  4. Schizophrenia

  5. Conduct disorder

  6. Anxiety disorder

  7. Chronic pain or other serious health condition

  8. Traumatic brain injury

Environmental Risk Factors for Suicide

Several circumstances in a person’s world can increase their likelihood of a suicide attempt. These include:

  1. Access to lethal means

  2. Prolonged stress

  3. Stressful life events or major life changes

  4. Exposure to suicide, including loss of a loved one or graphic portrayal in media

Historical Rick Factors for Suicide

Personal connections to suicide or trauma can greatly increase somoene’s risk of suicide. Three key risk factors experts and mental health professionals look for are:

  1. Previous suicide attempts

  2. Family history of suicide

  3. Childhood abuse, neglect, or trauma

Suicide Statistics

  • Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death overall in the US

  • For those between the ages of 10 and 25, suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death

  • There were more than twice as many suicides (47,173) in the United States as there were homicides (19,510)

  • Men are four times more likely to complete suicide than women

  • American Indian and Alaskan Natives are at the highest risk of suicide, with 1.1% of those identifying as such dying by suicide

Suicide and LGBTQ+ Youth

  • 92% of those identifying as transgender who have attempted suicide did so before the age of 25

  • LGBTQ+ youth are five times more likely to attempt suicide than their heterosexual peers

  • LGBT youth who come from rejecting families are 8.4 times more likely to attempt suicide as those who come from accepting families

How You Can Prevent Suicide

If you’re concerned that someone may be dealing with suicidal thoughts take your concerns seriously. Here are some tips for starting a conversation about suicide from our friends at Seize the Awkward:

  • Listen. The most important thing you can do is let the person know that you’re here to listen. They may feel uncomfortable with their thoughts; listening without judgment lets them know that it’s okay to feel the way they’re feeling

  • Ask how you can help. Give the power back to the person that’s struggling. Ask how you can be helpful, whether it’s sitting with them when they’re lonely or helping them choose a doctor.

  • Avoid giving advice. Trying to rush through fixing the situation can make it seem like you’re not available to listen.

  • Keep it casual. This is a friend that you care about, not a formal interview. Have the conversation just like you would any other talk.

  • Let them open up at their pace. If they’re not ready to talk, let them know that you’re here to listen whenever they’re ready.

  • Encourage them to reach out for help. Whether it’s from a doctor or by texting a Crisis Counselor at 741741, sometimes external support can make all the difference.

  • If you believe the person is at critical and immediate risk, call 911

We all can work to reduce suicide.

 
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