suicide_blog_post_1.jpegEight out of ten people considering suicide give some sign of their intention before an attempt. Finding out that someone is considering suicide can be very frightening—but it’s also an opportunity to connect them to the lifesaving care they need. When we know what these signs are, we have the power to help prevent suicide.

If you notice someone exhibiting one of these signs, or experiencing one of these risk factors, take action and seek help as soon as possible. Remember that you know those close to you the best—look out for any changes to what’s normal for them. You just might save a life. Warning signs can include:

  • Verbal or digital threats of suicide and/or hopelessness. According to Mental Health America, those who talk about suicide are 30 times more likely to make a suicide attempt. If someone is making verbal threats (or makes threats on social media) and has access to any type of item with which to hurt him or herself, call 911 immediately.
  • Changes in substance use. A sudden increase in alcohol or drug use is usually indicative of something negative going on. Take the time to check in and find out what’s spurring this change in behavior.
  • Social withdrawal and lack of interest in making plans. If you notice that someone is increasingly spending time alone, or shows no interest in making future plans, this could signal depression, which can be a risk factor for suicide.
  • Reckless behavior. Acting on impulse without thought for the consequences—like drinking and driving or engaging in promiscuous behavior—could be a sign of a bigger issue.

It’s also important to be aware of the risk factors for suicide. According to the Suicide Prevention Lifeline, “risk factors are characteristics that make it more likely that someone will consider, attempt, or die by suicide.” Risk factors can include:

suicide_blog_post_2.jpgIf someone you know is experiencing a mental health issue, where do you turn for help? Reach out to one of these trusted resources:

Remember that is help available—because no one should have to go through suicidal feelings alone.

Ben Borja, M.D., is medical director of Crisis Services at Sheppard Pratt Health System.


Posted by Elizabeth George on

Very well said Dr. Borja. Suicide is an action that can be preventable and you have given great awareness and resources in this article. It is right in saying that everyone should know the signs of suicide ideation and planning. As human beings, we should be there for people with a cry for help. Because there always will be a cry for help and we need to acknowledge it.

Posted by Monica Butler on

We do have the power to help prevent suicide and now we can all be ambassadors for saving lives. Thank you for sharing the crisis text line – this is a great feature for us all! Dr. Borja I appreciate this article and plan to share with others. It's direct and to the point; young people need to understand there are no do-overs in suicide. Thanks for taking the time to write this.

Posted by Vernita Riggins on

My granddaughter was at Sheppardpratt last year for about a week. Her mom did not follow through with getting her into therapy. She has attempted again to hurt herself.

What can I do as her grandmother. I feel helpless. She talks about killing herself. She needs help, her mom wants her in a facility. Your facility would be a good place for her. What can I do?

Posted by Sheppard Pratt Health System on

Hi Vernita - we recommend calling our Therapy Referral Service line. They can be reached at 410-938-5000, Monday - Friday, between 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. They can help you find the right program for your granddaughter and walk you through how to get her into that program. Please let us know any questions.

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