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If you are looking for information about suicide, this may be helpful to you. The risk factors and warning signs of suicide are listed here. How to help someone who may be suicidal and resources for help are also provided.
What factors increase the risk of suicide?
Psychiatric diagnosis such as depression, bipolar, anxiety, or schizophrenia
Past suicide attempts or self harm
Feeling hopeless or alone
Access to a gun or lethal means to harm oneself
Acting in an impulsive or angry way
Drug or alcohol abuse
Contact with others who have recently died by suicide
History of trauma or abuse
Young adults and elderly are at higher risk than others
Males are at higher risk for committing suicide, while females attempt suicide more often
A family history of suicide or violence
Single, divorced, and widowed are at higher risk than married
A recent loss (death or divorce) or anniversary of a loss
Major hard life events (loss of job, moving to a new place)
What are the warning signs of suicide?
Thinking about suicide
Threatening suicide, talking about it, or having a wish to die
Having a plan to commit suicide
Behaviors that suggest thoughts of suicide (talking or writing about death, giving away personal possessions, getting the means to kill oneself)
Depression and low mood
Increased alcohol or drug use
Hopelessness, desperation or feeling there is no way out
Impulsive dangerous behaviors
Changes in sleeping and eating habits
Decline in work or school function
Loss of interest in activities someone used to enjoy
Sudden lift in spirits after being depressed
Lack of concern about personal welfare
Feeling like a burden to others
Searching online for ways to commit suicide
What should you do if you think someone may be suicidal or you feel suicidal?
Call for help (see next page) or talk with a professional if you are concerned.
Take any warning sign of suicide seriously.
Talk openly with the person you are concerned about. Ask the person if he or she is thinking about suicide or killing themselves. Know that asking a person if she is thinking about suicide will not give them the idea to kill themselves.
Stay close to the person until help arrives or the risk has passed.
Remove guns and medicines that might be used in an attempt.
Who should you call for help?
If you are concerned about someone or yourself, you should act on your concern. It is better to err on the side of being too concerned than to do nothing. In many cases, suicide can be prevented. You may call the psychiatrist or therapist (or their on-call coverage) working with the person or yourself.
If it is an emergency, call 911.
National Suicide Prevention line
You may call your local or county behavioral health department. It is often part of your local or county human service department. You may find the phone number in the phone book, on the internet, or by calling 411.
For Dane County Residents
Journey Mental Health Center of Dane County has a 24-hour Suicide Crisis Line
for emergencies at (608) 280-2600.
There are several resources at University Hospital and Clinics. Call the Emergency Room at (608) 262-2398.
Crisis Text Line
This is a free, 24/7, confidential text message service for people in crisis. Text HOME to 741741.