LEARN RISKS, SIGNS & THE 5 STEPS
Risk factors are characteristics that make it more likely that someone will consider, attempt, or die by suicide. They can't cause or predict a suicide attempt, but they're important to be aware of.
A prior suicide attempt
Depression and other mental health disorders
Substance abuse disorder
Impulsive and/or aggressive tendencies
Job or financial loss
Loss of relationship(s)
Family history of a mental health or substance abuse disorder
Family history of suicide
Family violence, including physical or sexual abuse
Having guns or other firearms in the home
Being in prison or jail
Being exposed to others’ suicidal behavior, such as a family member, peer, or media figure
Being between the ages of 15 and 24 years or over age 60
Local clusters of suicide
Lack of social support and sense of isolation
Stigma associated with asking for help
Lack of healthcare, mental health & substance abuse treatment
LEARN THE WARNING SIGNS
Warning signs can help you recognize if a loved one is at risk for suicide, especially if behavior is new, has increased, or seems related to a painful event, loss, or change.
Talking about suicide or death
Talking about wanting to die
Talking about feeling hopeless, or having no reason to live
Looking for ways to kill themselves online, stockpiling pills, or acquiring lethal items like firearms, ropes, etc
Talking about great guilt or shame
Talking about feeling trapped, feeling there are no solutions, or feeling unbearable pain, physical or emotional
Talking about being a burden to others
Using alcohol or drugs more often
Acting anxious or agitated
Withdrawing from family and friends
Changing eating and/or sleeping habits
Showing rage or talking about revenge
Risky or reckless behavior
Giving away possessions & pets
Saying goodbye to friends and family
Putting affairs in order, making a will
HOW YOU CAN HELP:
TAKE THE 5 STEPS
“Are you thinking about killing yourself?” It’s not an easy question but studies show that asking someone if they are suicidal does not increase suicidal thoughts.
2. Be There
Listen to what they are feeling and thinking. Listen with compassion and empathy, and without dismissing or judging. Research suggests acknowledging and talking about suicide may reduce rather than increase suicidal thoughts.
3. Keep Them Safe
Prioritize safety. Ask if the person has a plan for suicide. Help put time and space between someone in crisis and lethal means, such as firearms, poison, or other deadly means. Reducing a suicidal person's access to lethal items or places is an important part of suicide prevention.
4. Help Them Connect
Help them connect to a support system, whether it's 1-800-273-TALK (8255) and the Crisis Text Line (741741), or it's trusted family members, friends, coaches, clergy, co-workers, or therapists, so they have a network to reach out to for help 24/7.
5. Follow Up
Check-in with the person. Making contact over the days and weeks following a crisis can make a difference in keeping them alive. Studies have shown suicide deaths go down when someone follows up with the person experiencing thoughts of suicide.
Suicide reports and trends can help make us aware of who may be most at-risk and where to focus efforts, as well as whether we are making progress or falling behind.
REGIONAL & STATE ORGANIZATIONS.
Virginia's government agencies and nonprofit organizations provide information and services to prevent suicide.
Virginia Dept of Health
Virginia Dept of Behavioral Health & Developmental Services
NAMI Northern Virginia
Helpline 571.458.7310 x 102
Our Minds Matter
Becky Love Foundation
Ryan Bartel Foundation
Eric Monday Foundation
Loudoun nonprofit supporting teens & parents
United States federal government agencies conduct research, report on health data, convene experts, and set federal guidelines to prevent suicide.
Substance Abuse & Mental Health Administration
Centers for Disease Control
National Institute of Mental Health
Suicide Prevention Resource Center
The Trevor Project
24/7 free support for LGBTQ youth
Society for the Prevention of Teen Suicide
National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention
The Jed Foundation
Protecting emotional health & preventing suicide for youth
National Alliance for the Mentally Ill
Making educators partners in preventing suicide
American Association of Suicidology
Mental health awareness and education for students with college chapters