Taking care of your mental health, throughout all stages of life, is the most important thing you can do for yourself. Regardless of age, gender or background, suicidal thoughts can affect anyone. When people act on those thoughts with suicide, it is often the result of an untreated mental health condition. That is why managing your mental health is so essential.
September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. Thousands of people die from suicide each year and it is a tragic event for friends and family. Unfortunately, it is still highly stigmatized and not always talked about openly. During this month, mental health professionals and initiatives aim to raise awareness of suicide, provide resources and connect people to treatment services.
One way that you can help with suicide prevention efforts is by educating yourself on the signs of someone who may be contemplating suicide. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention acknowledges that there are risk factors and warning signs to look out for. The difference between the two is that risk factors are signs that increase the probability that a suicidal crisis will occur and warning signs indicate a suicidal crisis has already begun.
- Existing mental health conditions (such as depression, substance use)
- Serious physical health conditions
- Traumatic brain injury
- Stressful life events and prolonged stress factors (divorce, financial crisis, rejection)
- Access to lethal means (firearms, drugs)
- Exposure to another person’s suicide (in the community or the media)
- Previous suicide attempts
- Family history of suicide
- Childhood abuse, neglect, trauma
- Talking about harming themselves
- Feeling hopeless
- Expressing having no reason to live
- Feeling like a burden to others
- Feeling trapped
- Unbearable pain
- Increased use of alcohol or drugs
- Withdrawing from activities
- Searching for ways to end their life (on the Internet)
- Isolating from friends and family
- Fatigue, sleeping too much or too little
- Visiting or calling people to say goodbye
- Giving away prized possessions
- Loss of interest
- Relief/sudden improvement
Below is a list of crisis resources if you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts:
- If you or someone you know is in an emergency, call 911 immediately.
- If you are in crisis or are experiencing difficult or suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273 TALK (8255).
- You can also access the crisis text line by texting TALK to 741-741 to text with a trained crisis counselor from the Crisis Text Line for free, 24/7.
- Call CAHOOTS Crisis Assistance in Eugene at 541-682-5111.
- The Trevor Project is a support network for LGBTQ youth providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention. You can call the 24/7 TrevorLifeline at 1-866-488-7386 or access a 24-hour text line (Text “START” to 678678).
- To access the Veterans Crisis Line, send a text to 838255.
- American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
- Suicide Prevention Resources Center
- National Institute on Mental Health
- Supporting Someone Who is Suffering
- Ending the Stigma & Suicide Prevention