In many cases, suicide can be prevented. Learn the risk factors and warning signs, which include depression, change in personality, self-harm behavior recent life crisis and conversation about wanting to die. If a family member or friend talks about suicide, take them seriously. Listen without judgement and encourage them to seek professional help .
Suicide is death caused by self-inflicted injury with the intent to die.
Suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the U.S. One person dies by suicide about every 11 minutes. It is the second leading cause of death among people ages 10 to 34, the fourth leading cause of death among people ages 34 to 54 and the fifth leading cause of death among people ages among those ages 45 to 54.
Groups of people who have higher rates of suicide include:
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Although you may not know what might cause a friend or loved one to attempt suicide, there are at least some common characteristics to be aware of.
Known factors that increase an individual’s risk of suicide include:
Community, cultural, societal factors
Some of the more common warning signs that a person may be thinking of ending their life include:
In many cases, suicide can be prevented. The best way you can help prevent suicide is to:
People who receive support from caring friends and family and who have access to mental health services are less likely to act on their suicidal impulses than are those who are isolated from support.
If your friend or loved one is not in immediate danger but is talking about suicide and is showing risk factors for harming themselves, take them seriously. If you can, remove any objects that can be used in a suicide attempt. Encourage them to call – or call together – support services such as the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline: 988. Conversations are with a skilled, trained counselor and are free and confidential and available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
If the friend or loved one appears to be extremely distressed, don’t leave the person alone. Try to keep the person as calm as possible and get immediate help. Call 911 or take the person to an emergency room.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
If someone you know is exhibiting warning signs for suicide, don’t be afraid to ask if he or she is depressed or thinking about suicide. Listen without judging. In some cases, your friend or family member just needs to know that you care and are willing to hear them talk about how they are feeling. Encourage them to seek professional help.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 06/18/2021.
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