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Recognizing the signs of a possible suicide attempt and how to help

Posted at 10:30 AM, Feb 11, 2021

In 2019, 47,000 people died by suicide. An estimated 1.3 million adults attempt suicide each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

RELATED STORY: Minor League Baseball player Drew Robinson determined to live after suicide attempt

More than one in five people who died by suicide had expressed their suicide intent before killing themselves, according to Psychiatry.org.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
If you or someone you know is in crisis, call the Lifeline (USA) at 1-800-273-8255 OR Text SIGNS to741741 for 24/7, anonymous, free crisis counseling.

Because of this, it's important to know the warning signs of possible suicide and what to do if someone you know may have suicidal ideations.


  • Talking about wanting to die or killing oneself
  • Looking for ways to die (online research etc.)
  • Talking about feeling hopeless or having no purpose
  • Talking about feeling trapped
  • Talking about being in unbearable emotional or physical pain
  • Talking about being a burden to others
  • Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs
  • Acting anxious, agitated or reckless, such as driving too fast
  • Sleeping too little or too much
  • Withdrawing from friends and family
  • Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge
  • Extreme mood swings


  • Mental disorders such as schizophrenia and anxiety disorders
  • Alcohol and other substance use disorders
  • Impulsive and/or aggressive tendencies
  • History of trauma or abuse
  • Major physical or chronic illness
  • Previous attempt
  • Family history of suicide
  • Recent job or financial loss
  • Recent loss of relationship
  • Local clusters of suicide
  • Exposure to others who have died by suicide
  • Lack of support system
  • Lack of mental health care
  • Cultural and religious beliefs


  • Be direct and open. Ask if they are thinking about suicide.
  • Listen, empathize and don’t minimize.
  • Don’t act shocked or upset.
  • Let the person know they can talk to you without being judged.
  • Don’t give advice or lecture. Be a good listener.
  • Show love and compassion.
  • Don’t push the person to open up faster than they’re comfortable.
  • Encourage the person to get help.
  • Take action if necessary. Remove the means of suicide. Call 9-1-1 or another emergency number if necessary.


According to the latest statistics, the total suicide rate in the United States has increased 35% from 10.5 per 100,000 in 1999 to 14.2 per 100,000 in 2018.

In 2018, the suicide rate among males was 3.7 times higher (22.8 per 100,000) than among females (6.2 per 100,000).

Among females, the suicide rate is highest for those aged 45 to 64 and for males, it is highest for those ages 75 and older

Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death in young people ages 10-24. It is the 10th leading cause of death overall.

In Nevada, the suicide rate is between 19.5 and 25.) per 100,000 people.

Suicide Prevention Tips from VeryWellMind.com
Suicide Prevention by HelpGuide.org
Suicide Prevention by American Psychiatric Association