Preventing Suicide


Suicide CAN be prevented and help IS available. Suicide affects both the person thinking about suicide and his or her friends and family. By recognizing the risk factors, warning signs for suicide, and knowing what to do if you or someone you know is thinking about suicide, the devastating effects of suicide can be reduced. The most important thing to remember is to GET HELP!


Facts about suicide

  • Suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death for 15- to 24-year-olds
  • 1 in 25 suicide attempts succeed
  • Girls think about and attempt suicide about twice as often as boys, but boys are more likely than girls to die from suicide


A person is more at risk for committing suicide if he/she has these risk factors:

  • Mental disorders such as depression, bipolar disorder
  • Alcohol and drug use
  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Inclination to act on impulse
  • Having tried to commit suicide before
  • A family history of suicide
  • Having lost a loved one
  • Lack of support from family and peers
  • Physical, emotional or sexual abuse
  • Having access to weapons


Warning signs for suicide:

  • Talking about suicide
  • Talking about hopelessness, feeling trapped, feeling unbearable pain, anger or desire for revenge
  • Talking about having no reason to live or being a burden to others
  • Looking for ways to commit suicide
  • Preparing for death
  • Depression and mood swings
  • Changes in sleeping or eating patterns
  • Changes in personality
  • Increasing risky behaviors
  • Increasing use of drugs and alcohol
  • Withdrawing socially and losing interest in friends
  • Losing interest in activities
  • Giving away valued possessions


What to do if you suspect someone you know is thinking about suicide

  1. Talk openly and ask questions.
    Asking someone if he or she is having thoughts about suicide is not easy. You can try by saying” I have noticed that you …………….. Have you ever thought about hurting or killing yourself?”
  2. Listen to what they have to say, let them know that you care about them but do not promise to keep their suicidal thought a secret. You can suggest a suicide hotline or for them to chat with someone online. When these hotlines are called, a trained crisis worker will answer. The person in distress can share his or her problems with the worker. The worker can also talk about available mental health resources. All calls are free and confidential. A list of suicide hotlines and resources are listed below.


Program Website and Chat Phone Number
Asian LifeNet Hotline  1-877-990-8585
(Cantonese, Mandarin, Japanese, Korean, Fujianese)
I’m Alive
Lifeline Crisis Chat
National Hopeline Network 1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433)
1-800-442-HOPE  (1-800-442-4673)
National Suicide Hotline  1-800-273-TALK
(1-800-273-8255) More than 150 languages offered
San Francisco Suicide Prevention  (415) 781-0500
Youthline – Counseling for Teens by Teens 1-877-968-8491
  1. Tell an adult you trust about the situation as soon as possible. They can assist you in getting the professional help that the person needs to deal with personal issues that have caused them to become suicidal.


If someone you know is at immediate risk for suicide, call 911 right away. Don’t leave the person alone. Wait with them until help arrives. Be aware that in emergency situations, hospitalization may be necessary.


Where can I find more information on suicide prevention?