This Issue

Suicide: Out of the darkness

The tough road for those left behind

Suicide:
A preventable loss of life

Q & A

Need more information?


What puts a person at risk for suicide?

  • Depression or other mental health disorders

  • Substance abuse

  • Family history of mental disorder or substance abuse

  • Family violence, including physical or sexual abuse

  • Firearms in the home

  • Family history of suicide

  • Exposure to suicide of family members, peers or celebrities

  • Gender — occurs in almost four times as many males as females

  • Race — more common in American Indians and whites, but the number is increasing among blacks

  • Age — more common in people under the age of 24 and 65 and older

  • Incarceration

  • Previous attempts

Suicide is not a normal response to these risks and can often be prevented by appropriate treatment for the mental or substance abuse disorder.

What puts a person at risk for suicide?

Don’t keep it to yourself!
If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide,
make a call instead.
Telephone Number Organization Hours of Availability
800-273-TALK (8255) Nat’l Suicide Prevention Lifeline 24 hours a day
800-981-HELP (4357) Boston Emergency Service Team 24 hours a day
800-784-2433 Nat’l Suicide Prevention Lifeline 24 hours a day
617-247-0220 Samaritans 24 hours a day
877-870-HOPE (4673) Samaritans 24 hours a day
800-252-TEEN (8336) Samaritans – for teens 24 hours a day
866-508-HELP (4357) Massachusetts Suicide Prevention Lifeline 8 AM to 11 PM


Pay attention to the warning signs!
  • Threatening to hurt or kill oneself or talking about wanting to hurt or kill oneself

  • Looking for ways to kill oneself by seeking access to firearms, available pills or other means

  • Talking or writing about death, dying or suicide

  • Feeling hopeless

  • Feeling rage or uncontrolled anger or seeking revenge

  • Acting reckless or engaging in risky activities — seemingly without thinking

  • Feeling trapped — like there’s no way out

  • Increasing alcohol or drug use

  • Withdrawing from friends, family and society

  • Feeling anxious, agitated or unable to sleep or sleeping all the time

  • Experiencing dramatic mood changes

  • Giving away belongings or getting affairs in order

  • Seeing no reason for living or having no sense of purpose in life

Source: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

Pay attention to the warning signs!

Don’t keep it to yourself!

What should you do if you think
someone is thinking of suicide?
  • Take the threat seriously

  • Let the person know you care

  • Ask questions

    Are you thinking about killing yourself?
    Do you think you might hurt yourself today?
    Have you thought of ways that you might hurt yourself?
    Do you have pills or weapons in the house?

  • Do not leave him or her alone

  • Remove potential tools for suicide

  • Tell him or her that you will get help

  • Call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room

  • Call 800-273-TALK — the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

What should you do if you think
someone is thinking of suicide?

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Need more information?

It’s a call or click away …


American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
www.afsp.org • 888-333-AFSP (2377)

National Organization for People of
Color against Suicide

www.nopcas.com • 202-549-6039

American Association of Suicidology
www.suicidology.org • 202-237-2280

Suicide Prevention Action Network
(SPAN) USA

www.spanusa.org • 202-449-3600

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
www.cdc.gov/ViolencePrevention/suicide
800-232-4636 (CDC-INFO)



What puts a person at risk for suicide?

  • Depression or other mental health disorders

  • Substance abuse

  • Family history of mental disorder or substance abuse

  • Family violence, including physical or sexual abuse

  • Firearms in the home

  • Family history of suicide

  • Exposure to suicide of family members, peers or celebrities

  • Gender — occurs in almost four times as many males as females

  • Race — more common in American Indians and whites, but the number is increasing among blacks

  • Age — more common in people under the age of 24 and 65 and older

  • Incarceration

  • Previous attempts

Suicide is not a normal response to these risks and can often be prevented by appropriate treatment for the mental or substance abuse disorder.