Every 11 minutes someone dies by suicide in the United States. Think about that for a second. By the time you unload the dishwasher, complete the short drive to work, or vacuum your living room someone has died by suicide. It is the leading cause of death in the United States according to the CDC. It affects all ages; it is the second leading cause of death among the ages of 10-14 and 25-34.
Death by suicide is complex and not tied to a single reason. Contributing factors may include individual life stresses mixed with known risk factors (childhood trauma, substance use, chronic pain, seasonal and other mental health disorders).
Our Role in Prevention
We all play a part in prevention. Knowing the warning signs and taking action are powerful tools. Asking a person directly about suicide does not increase the likelihood of an attempt. In fact, it could save a life! Tips on how to talk about it can be found on the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). For those struggling alone with thoughts of suicide, talking about it is a relief.
- Talking about suicide. Both direct and indirect statements about wanting to die are warning signs. Direct statements include “I want to die” or “I just wish I could end it all”. Subtle statements or veiled threat examples are “I am just too tired to go on” or “This will all end soon”.
- Feelings of hopelessness, sadness, rage, agitation.
- Changes in behaviors (increase/decrease in appetite or sleep patterns, using drugs/alcohol more often, withdrawing from friends and family, giving away personal belongings, increase in dangerous activities).
- History of mental illness (depression, anxiety, bipolar, addiction).
These warning signs are an opportunity to act! If you or someone you know is struggling with thoughts of self harm, seek help as soon as possible.
- National Suicide and Crisis Lifeline – Dial or text 988
- Crisis Text Line – Text HOME to 741741 to connect with a Crisis Counselor 24/7
- Colorado Crisis Services call 1-844-493- TALK (8255)
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline call 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
- How to talk to suicide
- Preventing Suicide in Youth
- Farm and Ranch Family Stress and Depression: A Checklist and Guide for Making Referrals
- Tips for Talking to College Students