what to look out for
Risk factors, warning signs to look out for
There's no single cause for suicide.
However, there are risk factors and warning signs to look out for that could save a life.
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Depression is the most common condition associated with suicide, according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, or AFSP.
Conditions like depression, anxiety, and substance problems, especially when unaddressed, increase risk for suicide.
Risk factors, or characteristics that could increase the chance of someone taking their own life, also include:
Mental health conditions: Depression, substance use problems, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, personality traits of aggression, mood changes and poor relationships, conduct disorder, anxiety disorders
Serious physical health conditions including pain
Traumatic brain injury
Access to lethal means including firearms and drugs
Prolonged stress, such as harassment, bullying, relationship problems or unemployment
Stressful life events, like rejection, divorce, financial crisis, other life transitions or loss
Exposure to another person’s suicide, or to graphic or sensationalized accounts of suicide
Previous suicide attempts
Family history of suicide
Childhood abuse, neglect or trauma
A change in behavior or the presence of entirely new behaviors is considered a warning sign by the AFSP.
"This is of sharpest concern if the new or changed behavior is related to a painful event, loss, or change. Most people who take their lives exhibit one or more warning signs, either through what they say or what they do," according to AFSP
Warning signs, according to the AFSP, include:
If a person talks about:
Having no reason to live
Being a burden to others
Behaviors that may signal risk, especially if related to a painful event, loss or change:
Increased use of alcohol or drugs
Looking for a way to end their lives, such as searching online for methods
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
People who are considering suicide often display one or more of the following moods:
Loss of interest
If you are having thoughts of suicide, crisis and support services are available.
Call 988 to reach the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline, free and confidential support.
To reach the Veterans Crisis Line, dial 800-273-8255 and press 1.
Individuals can also text to connect with a crisis counselor through the Crisis Text Line. Text TALK to 741741 to text with a trained crisis counselor for free, 24/7.
Other resources include:
SAMHSA Treatment Referral Hotline (Substance Abuse): 1-800-662-HELP (4357)
RAINN National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-HOPE (4673)
National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline: 1-866-331-9474
The Trevor Project: 1-866-488-7386
Also visit your:
Primary care provider
Local psychiatric hospital
Local walk-in clinic
Local emergency department
Local urgent care center
Finding mental health care
Call 9-1-1 if you are in need of emergency help.