Suicide Prevention: Know the Warning Signs

Individuals, families, and communities are affected by suicide every day — 44,000 Americans die by suicide each year. Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States. It is the second leading cause of death for Americans between the ages of 10 and 34.

Suicide is also preventable. Preventing suicide starts with recognizing who is at risk and knowing the warning signs.

Suicide is preventable. Know the warning signs for yourself and for those around you. Reach out to those with suicidal thoughts and feelings, and know when to seek help. Click To Tweet

Who is at risk?

Some people are more likely to die by suicide than others.

  • Men are four times more likely than women to die by suicide.
  • LGBTQIA+ youth are four times as likely to attempt suicide than other young people.
  • People with a family history of suicide are at an increased risk.
  • Previous suicide attempts increase a person’s risk for suicide.
  • A history of mental health problems increases suicide risk; 90% of teens who die by suicide have a mental health problem.
  • Factors such as economic hardship, social isolation, and alcohol and substance abuse can increase suicide risk.

Suicide prevention starts with knowing the warning signs

Suicide is preventable. For every suicide there are an estimated 30 attempts, and 80% of teens who die by suicide show warning signs.

Learn to identify the warning signs for yourself and for those around you.

  • Talking about suicide or wanting to die
  • Threatening suicide or self-harm
  • Looking for ways to cause self-harm or attempt suicide
  • Expressing that life has no meaning
  • Sudden changes in mood or behavior, especially after loss or tragic event
  • Giving away belongings
  • Acting anxious or frustrated
  • Showing intense anger or desire for revenge
  • Social withdrawal
  • Changes in sleep — sleeping too much or too little
  • Engaging in risky behavior
  • Increased use of drugs or alcohol
  • Disinterest in planning for the future

Talk to someone if you notice these warning signs in yourself or in someone you know. You can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 800-273-8255, or talk to your doctor. Your primary care physician can connect you with a mental health professional.