Suicide Prevention

  • Often, what appears to be a single event is actually “the last straw” when added to other stressors, depression and/or hopelessness.  Suicide is the result of a long-term “wearing-away”, an erosion of a person’s ability to cope.  The following Warning Signs are taken from the Yellow Ribbon Suicide Prevention Program website at

  • Suicide victims are not trying to end their life – they are trying to end the pain!

Warning Signs

    • Acting differently than they normally do
    • Talking about wanting to die or to kill oneself
    • Looking for a way to kill oneself, such as searching online or buying a gun
    • Talking about feeling hopeless or having no reason to live
    • Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain
    • Talking about being a burden to others
    • Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs
    • Acting anxious or agitated; behaving recklessly
    • Sleeping too little or too much
    • Withdrawing or feeling isolated
    • Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge
    • Displaying extreme mood swings
    • Giving away possessions

Risk Factors

    • Previous Suicide Attempt
    • Problems with school or the law
    • Breakup of a romance
    • Unexpected pregnancy
    • A stressful family life. (having parents who are depressed or are substance abusers, or a family history of suicide)
    • Loss of security…fear of authority, peers, group or gang members
    • Stress due to new situations; college or relocating to a new community
    • Failing in school or failing to pass an important test
    • A serious illness or injury to oneself
    • Seriously injuring another person or causing another person’s death (example: automobile accident)
    • Major loss…of a loved one, a home, divorce in the family, a trauma, a relationship

How you can Help

  • How to Help if you think someone is thinking of hurting or killing themselves:

    • DON’T be afraid to ask “Are you thinking about hurting or killing yourself?”
    • Asking does NOT plant the idea but it DOES give the person a chance to talk about their feelings and take some of the power out of how they feel so they can get help.
    • DO take a “Yes” answer seriously and take steps to support and help.
    • DO stay with the person and get someone to help with the situation—a counselor, teacher, pastor, community therapist.
    • DO NOT try to handle the problem with the suicidal person yourself—make sure a caring adult professional is notified.