Suicide Prevention Resources We All Need

Suicide Prevention Resources We All NeedPin
Suicide Prevention Resources We All Need

Updated 1/30/2024

If you or someone you know is feeling suicidal or just needs someone to talk to, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. Or you can call or text 988 in the U.S.

September is National Suicide Prevention Month. The following graphic from the Center For Disease Control (CDC), shows suicide statistics up through 2020.

CDC Suicide statistics graphicPin
CDC Suicide statistics graphic

The most shocking fact is, in the United States alone, suicide takes one life every 11 minutes! This is so tragic! According to sociologist Jason Manning, suicides don’t happen at the same rates all over the United States and are not only due to depression. For example, in the last decade suicide deaths in rural areas have increased by over 30%. He cites events like financial ruin, shame, broken relationships, and strife as important factors in suicide attempts and deaths. He says we need to “rethink suicide prevention.”

These realities suggest that suicide prevention involves much more than increasing the availability of therapists and prescriptions. It requires providing economic development and financial assistance to those in distress. People can help by strengthening communities and building social ties. Additionally, they can provide moral support, alternative means of conflict resolution and escape routes from abusive relationships.

Jason Manning Associate Professor of Sociology, West Virginia University

Check out his article for more information: Why do people die by suicide? Mental illness isn’t the only cause – social factors like loneliness, financial ruin and shame can be triggers

Suicide Prevention For Those Contemplating Suicide

What People Who’ve Been Suicidal Want to Tell Someone Who’s Suicidal Today,” lists 16 thoughts or actions that can help you or a loved one stay. Here’s three of them.

#2 is “Find one thing you want to stay for.”

“The one thing keeping me alive was the fact that I hadn’t seen the Grand Canyon. Now that I’ve seen it, I look forward to going back.” — PostSecret

#10 is “Turn your pain into art.”:

“Duct tape, nails, superglue… all played a part in my suicide plan. I decided to turn the tables and create art from them.” — Susan

Suicide Survivor ArtworkPin
Susan created artwork about her pain.

I loved #13 “You are not your thoughts.”:

Your thoughts don’t define you as a person. You’re worthy of love and living. In those moments when it feels like all hope is lost, just keep swimming. There’s light at the end of the tunnel. Sometimes you’ve just gotta squint to see it.” — Brittany L.

Sadly, the above article is no longer available, but I found this one 10 Things To Know From Those Who Have Attempted Suicide which has some good ideas for how to help a suicidal friend or loved one.

  • “Allow them to express their feelings by listening to them and accepting them.
  • Be active. Remove potential means to help prevent suicide, and consult individuals or organizations specializing in crisis intervention and suicide prevention.
  • Be non-judgmental
  • Don’t act shocked or remain secretive.
  • Show interest, support, availability, and involvement.”

Depression Resources

If you’re struggling with depression, there are many resources available to you. Check out my previous post about depression resources here:

Alcohol, Drugs & Suicide

According to this WebMD article, “Addiction to alcohol or drugs increases the risk of suicide. People who abuse drugs or have an alcohol addiction are up to 14 times more likely to die by suicide than others.”

For more information check out their article, What to Know About Addiction and Suicide.

Alternatives to Suicide

Carlene Byron wrote the article Why ‘Suicide Alternatives’ Are My Best Suicide Prevention about her experience living with suicidal thoughts for over 7300 days. She talks about how she finished college and holds down a job despite feeling suicidal for that long. She lists the things she did instead of suicide. You can read her article here: Alternatives to Suicide: Strategies for Staying Alive

Signs to Look For In Yourself and Others

  • Feeling like a burden
  • Being isolated
  • Increased anxiety
  • Feeling trapped or in unbearable pain
  • Increased substance use
  • Looking for a way to access lethal means
  • Increased anger or rage
  • Extreme mood swings
  • Expressing hopelessness
  • Sleeping too little or too much
  • Talking or posting about wanting to die
  • Making plans for suicide

From #BeThere to Help Prevent Suicide at

The Five Steps For Suicide Prevention

Even though suicide is a serious problem, “it is possible to reduce deaths from suicide like we have reduced heart disease fatalities and other leading causes of death. For every person who dies by suicide annually, there are another 316 people who have thought seriously about suicide who don’t kill themselves, and nearly 60 who have survived a suicide attempt. The overwhelming majority of these individuals will go on to live out their lives.”

The following five steps can help prevent suicides. 

  • First, Ask. “Are you thinking about suicide?” [This] “communicates that you’re open to speaking about suicide in a non-judgmental and supportive way.”
  • Be There. “This could mean being physically present for someone, speaking with them on the phone when you can, or any other way that shows support for the person at risk.”
  • Keep Them Safe. If the person tells you they’re thinking about suicide, further questions need to be asked to find out if the person has a plan and the means to carry out that plan. *Having access to a gun increases a person’s risk of dying by suicide.
  • Help Them Connect. If the person is thinking about suicide, and/or is in distress, help them get in touch with a suicide text or phone hotline. Currently in the United States, people can call or text 988 for crisis help. They may also need help to connect with mental health resources like individual or group therapy.
  • The last step is Follow Up. “After your initial contact with a person experiencing thoughts of suicide, and after you’ve connected them with the immediate support systems they need, make sure to follow-up with them to see how they’re doing. Leave a message, send a text, or give them a call.”

Read HOW AND WHY THE 5 STEPS CAN HELP to learn more about each step.

Resources for Veterans, LGBTQ+, Minorities, etc.

The following article has resources for specific populations, like youth, post-partem moms, veterans, neurodivergent individuals, seniors, and people of color.

Their most important tip is to make a safety plan before you get very depressed and suicidal.

 Having a safety plan ready for when/if you feel depressed or suicidal can be a lifesaver. Safety plans can include coping strategies, supports in your life, what others can do if you’re in crisis, and more.

Jessica White, Community Mental Health Worker & Case Manager

Make the world a better place with kindness and fairness

Our world can be a dark and scary place for many people. Each one of us can spread kindness and love to those around us. Check out The Mighty’s article 44 Ways to Spread the Love on World Suicide Prevention Day for ideas on how to do this.

But don’t stop there. Advocate and use your vote to promote equal access to quality education, and jobs that pay a living wage. Speak up against inequality. Learn how to resolve conflicts in a healthy way. Volunteer, as you’re able, with local community organizations that help the needy and/or provide vital skills to children. Work on improving your own mental health so you can inspire others to be brave and do the same. Your life matters!

I hope this post has given you the info you need to help prevent suicide in your friends and loved ones. Read the resources and share with everyone you know. Together, we can reduce suicides.

Till next time, Kathy

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By Kathryn

I'm a writer, disabled registered nurse, and former home school parent of 6 children ages 19 to 32. I'm also a domestic abuse survivor.

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