Prevention & Warning Signs

You Are Not Alone. Support is Available.

If you are in crisis, call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

    ADAA is Here to Help:


    Suicide Warning Signs

    People who kill themselves exhibit one or more warning signs, either through what they say or do. The more warning signs, the greater the risk. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention offers the following helpful guide:

    What to Watch For if You Feel Someone is at Risk:

    If a person talks about:

    • Being a burden to others
    • Feeling trapped
    • Experiencing unbearable pain
    • Having no reason to live
    • Killing themselves

    Specific behaviors to look out for include:

    • Increased use of alcohol or drugs
    • Looking for a way to kill themselves, such as searching online for materials or means
    • Acting recklessly
    • Withdrawing from activities
    • Isolating from family and friends
    • Sleeping too much or too little
    • Visiting or calling people to say goodbye
    • Giving away prized possessions
    • Aggression

    People who are considering suicide often display one or more of the following moods:

    • Depression
    • Loss of interest
    • Rage
    • Irritability
    • Humiliation
    • Anxiety

    Prevention: 5 Action Steps for Helping Someone in Emotional Pain:

    1. Ask: “Are you thinking about killing yourself?” It’s not an easy question but studies show that asking at-risk individuals  if they are suicidal does not increase suicides or suicidal thoughts.
    2. Keep them safe: Reducing a suicidal person’s access to highly lethal items or places is an important part of suicide prevention. While this is not always easy, asking if the at-risk person has a plan and removing or disabling the lethal means  can make a difference.
    3. Be there: Listen carefully and learn what the individual is thinking and feeling. Findings suggest acknowledging and talking about suicide may in fact reduce rather than increase  suicidal thoughts.
    4. Help them connect: Save the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline’s number in your phone so it’s there when you need it: 1-800-273-8255 (TALK). You can also help make a connection with a trusted individual like a family member, friend, spiritual advisor, or mental health professional. If you are outside of the U.S., please visit the International Association for Suicide Prevention for a database of international resources.
    5. Stay Connected: Staying in touch after a crisis or after being discharged from care can make a difference. Studies have shown the number of suicide deaths goes down when someone follows up with the at-risk person

    It may also be helpful to save several emergency numbers to your cell phone. The ability to get immediate help for yourself or for a friend can make a difference.

    • The phone number for a trusted friend or relative
    • The non-emergency number for the local police department
    • The Crisis Text Line: 741741
    • The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)

    ADAA and SAVE have collaborated to bring you this helpful suicide prevention infographic. We encourage you to download and share this infographic with your communities. 



    Did You Know?

    • Suicide affects all age groups, including children. More people die from suicide than from automobile accidents. It was the tenth leading cause of death in the United States in 2016, according to the most recent available statistics from the Centers for Disease Control; that year saw nearly 45,000 deaths for Americans ages 10 and older.
    • ADAA conducted a 2015 survey with the American Foundation of Suicide Prevention and the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention, which indicated that although the large majority of Americans are interested in seeking mental health care, they also face great challenges in both finding and affording treatment. Read more about the survey and key findings.
    • The FCC approved (July 15, 2020) the use of a new a three-digit suicide prevention hotline - 988.  The process to implement the number will take two years. Telecom and voice service companies will be mandated to have a 988 hotline by July 16, 2022. Read more here.

    If you are in crisis, call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

    Suicide Support, Treatment, and Resources

    AFSP_Logo_Blue100-64-17-0_800x182.jpg     NIMH logo.gifSAVE correct logo_0.png


    Evidence-based Tips & Strategies from our Member Experts
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