Reach Out. Find Hope.

Resources

Whoever you are, and whatever you do, you have a role to play in preventing suicide.

Signs of Emotional Distress, Mental Health Problems, and Suicide

These signs may mean that someone is at risk for suicide. Risk is greater if the behavior is new, or has increased, and if it seems related to a painful event, loss, or change:

  • Talking about wanting to die or kill oneself
  • Looking for a way to kill oneself
  • Talking about feeling hopeless or having no reason to live
  • Talking about feeling trapped or being 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

from http://www.samhsa.gov/suicide-prevention

What You Can Do

If you believe someone may be thinking about suicide:

  • Ask them if they are thinking about killing themselves. (This will not put the idea into their head or make it more likely that they will attempt suicide.)
  • Listen without judging and show you care.
  • Stay with the person (or make sure the person is in a private, secure place with another caring person) until you can get further help.
  • Remove any objects that could be used in a suicide attempt.
  • Call SAMHSA’s National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) and follow their guidance.
  • If danger for self-harm seems imminent, call 911.

from http://www.samhsa.gov/suicide-prevention

Risk Factors for Suicide

A combination of individual, relational, community and societal factors contribute to the risk of suicide. Risk factors are those characteristics associated with suicide—they might not be direct causes.

Risk Factors

  • Family history of suicide
  • Family history of child maltreatment
  • Previous suicide attempt(s)
  • History of mental disorders, particularly clinical depression
  • History of alcohol and substance abuse
  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Impulsive or aggressive tendencies
  • Cultural and religious beliefs (e.g., belief that suicide is noble resolution of a personal dilemma)
  • Local epidemics of suicide
  • Isolation, a feeling of being cut off from other people
  • Barriers to accessing mental health treatment
  • Loss (relational, social, work, or financial)
  • Physical illness
  • Easy access to lethal methods
  • Unwillingness to seek help because of the stigma attached to mental health and substance abuse disorders or to suicidal thoughts

from http://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/suicide/riskprotectivefactors.html

Protective Factors for Suicide

Protective factors buffer individuals from suicidal thoughts and behavior. To date, protective factors have not been studied as extensively or rigorously as risk factors. Identifying and understanding protective factors are, however, equally as important as researching risk factors.

Protective Factors

  • Effective clinical care for mental, physical, and substance abuse disorders
  • Easy access to a variety of clinical interventions and support for help seeking
  • Family and community support (connectedness)
  • Support from ongoing medical and mental health care relationships
  • Skills in problem solving, conflict resolution, and nonviolent ways of handling disputes
  • Cultural and religious beliefs that discourage suicide and support instincts for self-preservation

from http://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/suicide/riskprotectivefactors.html

Materials

CrisisLink Textline posters

Additional Suicide Prevention Resources

Youth

  • Active Minds – a student club that empowers students to change the perception about mental health on college and high school campuses
  • Bystander Revolution – a campaign “to take the power out of bullying”
  • CrisisLink – provides suicide and crisis hotline and textline, support to communities in the aftermath of trauma, and community education
  • Friend2Friend - is a FREE 30-minute online simulation that gives high school-aged youth a chance to practice helpful ways to talk with a friend who may be struggling with psychological distress. Open to Fairfax County residents only.
  • ok2talk – an online community for teens and young adults struggling with mental health problems and encourage to talk about what they’re experiencing by sharing their personal stories of recovery, tragedy, struggle or hope (In Spanish: http://ok2talk.org/es)
  • Heads Up – youth concussion prevention campaign and program
  • ReachOut – information and support to help teens and young adults facing tough times and struggling with mental health issues, with all content written by teens and young adults
  • StopBullying.gov – resources to prevent and address bullying
  • This is My Brave – real people sharing their stories of mental illness
  • Trevor Project - national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) young people ages 13-24
  • You Matter – a movement to spread the word that your problems, your worries, your fears, and above all you—unique and real you—matter
  • No one wants to lose a young person to suicide. http://www.youthsuicidewarningsigns.org/

Family and Friends

  • The Way Forward: Pathways to hope, recovery, and wellness with insights from lived experience - A National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention resource on how to provide services and supports to Attempt Survivors
  • Prevention Toolkit – a collection of suggestions, tools, and resources to assist families, school staff, PTAs, community- and faith- based organizations, social clubs, and others in promoting the well-being of youth
  • This is My Brave – real people sharing their stories of mental illness
  • In Our Own Voice – a NAMI presentation by consumers that creates awareness about what is involved in recovery from mental illness
  • Change Direction – a collection of concerned citizens, nonprofit leaders, and leaders from the private sector who have come together to create a new story in America about mental health, mental illness, and wellness by promoting awareness of the signs of emotional distress
  • Bring Change 2 Mind – a campaign to end the stigma and discrimination surrounding mental illness through widely distributed public education materials and programs
  • At-Risk trainings – free online trainings on recognizing signs of distress and connecting youth with the help they need
  • Fairfax Mental Health First Aid & Loudoun Mental Health First Aid – an 8-hour course that teaches you how to help someone who is developing a mental health problem or experiencing a mental health crisis. The training helps you identify, understand, and respond to signs of mental illnesses and substance use disorders.
  • Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) - training that teaches participants to provide suicide first aid by teaching effective intervention skills and building suicide prevention networks in the community
  • Webinar: Helping children and youth recover from tragic losses: tips for parents and educators
  • Webinar: Non-Suicidal Self-Injury in Adolescents
  • Safe Handling of Medications – guidelines for safe handling and proper disposal of medicines, which prevents drug abuse and poisoning
  • Means Matter – tips on reducing access to lethal means by people at risk of suicide
  • Asking Saves Kids – campaign promoting a simple idea with the potential to help keep kids safe: ask, “Is there an unlocked gun in your house?” before sending your child over to play
  • StopBullying.gov – resources to prevent and address bullying
  • Beyond Blue Family Guide to Youth Suicide Prevention – an Australian resource for parents to be aware of the warning signs and risk factors of suicide so they can identify these signs in young people and help them find support
  • Man Therapy – a resource to help men with any problem that life sends their way, something to set them straight on the realities of suicide and mental health, and in the end, a tool to help put a stop to the suicide deaths of so many of our men
  • Heads Up – youth concussion prevention campaign and program
  • CrisisLink – provides suicide and crisis hotlines, support to communities in the aftermath of trauma, and community education
  • I Need a Lighthouse - The mission of I Need A Lighthouse, Inc. is to significantly reduce the loss and suffering from teen and young adult depression, suicide, and suicidal behavior through educational programs and community partnerships.

Older Adults

The LGBTQ Community

  • Trevor Project - national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) young people ages 13-24
  • Step In Speak Up! –online training to help concerned adults support youth who may be struggling due to harassment or exclusion related to sexual identity, sexual orientation or other differences (Fairfax link)
  • Welcoming Schools – professional development tools, lessons aligned with the Common Core State Standards, and many additional resources for elementary schools on embracing family diversity, avoiding gender stereotyping and affirming gender, and ending bullying and name-calling
  • Suicide Prevention Among LGBT Youth: A Workshop for Professionals Who Serve Youth – a free workshop kit to help staff in schools, youth-serving organizations, and suicide prevention programs take action to reduce suicidal behavior among lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) youth
  • Many Voices – a black church movement for gay and transgender justice
  • CrisisLink – provides suicide and crisis hotlines, support to communities in the aftermath of trauma, and community education

Community-Based Organizations, Including Houses of Worship and Social Services Providers

Schools, Including Colleges

First Responders

  • Fairfax Mental Health First Aid & Loudoun Mental Health First Aid – an 8-hour course that teaches you how to help someone who is developing a mental health problem or experiencing a mental health crisis. The training helps you identify, understand, and respond to signs of mental illnesses and substance use disorders.
  • Crisis Intervention Training – law enforcement based crisis intervention training for helping those individuals with mental illness
  • Lethality Assessment Program – method for law enforcement and other community professionals to identify victims of domestic violence who are at the highest risk of being seriously injured or killed by their intimate partners, and immediately connect them to the local domestic violence service program
  • CrisisLink – provides suicide and crisis hotlines, support to communities in the aftermath of trauma, and community education

Health Care Providers

  • Suicide Prevention Resource Center Best Practices Registry – a source of information about evidence-based programs and treatments; expert and consensus statements; and programs, practices, and policies whose content has been reviewed according to specific standards and that address specific objectives of the National Strategy for Suicide Prevention
  • SAMHSA: Suicide Prevention – an overview of suicide, including risk factors, warning signs, screenings, assessments, and other tools
  • At-Risk in Primary Care – a CME-approved online training that prepares primary health care providers to screen patients for mental health and substance abuse disorders, perform brief interventions using motivational interviewing techniques, and refer patients to treatment (Fairfax link)
  • At-Risk in the ED – a CME-approved online training that prepares emergency department personnel to screen patients for mental health and substance abuse disorders, perform brief interventions using motivational interviewing techniques, and refer patients to treatment (Fairfax link)
  • Practice Exposure Therapy – online training for mental health providers to learn why and how to apply prolonged exposure (PE) therapy with adult patients suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). (Fairfax link)
  • Means Matter – tips on reducing access to lethal means by people at risk of suicide
  • Suicide Prevention and the Clinical Workforce: Guidelines for Training
  • CALM: Counseling on Access to Lethal Means – workshop designed to help providers implement counseling strategies to help clients at risk for suicide and their families reduce access to lethal means, particularly (but not exclusively) firearms
  • Suicide Safe – suicide prevention app for mobile devices and optimized for tablets, helps providers integrate suicide prevention strategies into their practice and address suicide risk among their patients
  • Suicide Assessment Five-Step Evaluation and Triage (SAFE-T) – assists clinicians in conducting a suicide assessment using a 5-step evaluation and triage plan to identify risk factors and protective factors, conduct a suicide inquiry, determine risk level and potential interventions, and document a treatment plan
  • SPARK Talks – Short, Provocative, Action-oriented, Realistic, and Knowledgeable videos of leaders in the suicide prevention movement, each describing a new development or direction in the field that can have an impact on suicide
  • SAMHSA's Concept of Trauma and Guidance for a Trauma-Informed Approach – introduces a concept of trauma and offers a framework for how an organization, system, service sector can become trauma-informed
  • Heads Up – youth concussion prevention campaign and program
  • CrisisLink – provides suicide and crisis hotlines, support to communities in the aftermath of trauma, and community education
  • Suicide Screening and Assessment – provides approaches to evaluating suicide risk and links to resources that offer additional guidance on choosing and implementing suicide screening and assessment programs

The Military Community

  • Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury – suicide and risk reduction programs, policies and surveillance activities to reduce the impact of suicide on service members and their families
  • Virginia Veteran and Family Support – monitors and coordinates behavioral health, rehabilitative, and support services through an integrated, comprehensive and responsive system of public and private partnerships for Virginia veterans
  • Family of Heroes – free online resiliency training for military families to learn what to expect from your veteran’s return from deployment and how to manage common challenges in adjusting to post-deployment life.
  • Code of Support – engages and leverages resources to ensure that service members, veterans and their families receive the support they need
  • Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America – provides one-on-one support for transitioning veterans
  • CrisisLink – provides suicide and crisis hotlines, support to communities in the aftermath of trauma, and community education

Businesses and Employers

  • Interactive Screening Program – an innovative way to reach people most at risk and connect them with the support, information, and help they need
  • CrisisLink – provides suicide and crisis hotlines, support to communities in the aftermath of trauma, and community education

The Media and Entertainment Industries

  • Recommendations for Reporting on Suicide – best practices for media coverage of suicide, which can influence behavior negatively by contributing to contagion or positively by encouraging help-seeking
  • Webinar: Responsible Communication After a Youth Suicide – tailored for communications professionals, this webinar focuses on effective communication strategies and covers methods to connect impacted persons to effective support services within school settings, and in the community.
  • Picture This: Depression and Suicide Prevention – guide for creators in the entertainment industry which addresses issues within the realm of depression and suicide prevention, as identified by mental health experts, advocates, policy-makers, and others working to improve public awareness about and reduce instances of depression and suicide
  • Action Alliance Framework for Professional Messaging – resource to help people messaging about suicide to develop messages that are strategic, safe, positive, and make use of relevant guidelines and best practices

Local and National Organizations and Agencies

Local Data on Suicide

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