Preventing Suicide

If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please call The U.S. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255) or Burke’s 24-Hour Mental Health Crisis Hotline at 800-392-8343.

Scroll for more information, or download a PDF factsheet here.

The effects of suicide are not limited to those who die. Suicide is a serious public health problem that has shattered the lives of millions of people, families, and communities nationwide. A variety of strategies are available for individuals and organizations across the United States to help prevent suicide.


90 percent of people that attempt suicide have a mental illness.


Risk Factors

Although suicide can affect anyone, the following populations are known to have an increased risk for suicidal behaviors:

  • Individuals with mental illnesses, including depression, and/or substance use disorders
  • Individuals bereaved by suicide
  • Individuals in justice and child welfare settings
  • Individuals who engage in nonsuicidal self-injury
  • Individuals who have attempted suicide
  • Individuals with medical conditions
  • Individuals who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT)
  • Members of the Armed Forces and veterans
  • Men in midlife and older men

REAL - Veterans Suicide

Veterans make up a very small portion of the population, but a much larger portion of Americans that die each year from suicide.


Warning Signs

Everyone can play a role in preventing suicide by being aware of the warning signs of suicidal behaviors:

  • Talking about wanting to die, being a burden to others or feeling hopeless, trapped, or in unbearable pain
  • Looking for a way to kill oneself
  • Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs
  • Acting anxious, agitated, or reckless
  • Sleeping too little or too much
  • Withdrawing or feeling isolated
  • Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge
  • Displaying extreme mood swings

What You Can Do

If you believe someone is at risk of suicide:

  • Ask them if they are thinking about killing themselves. This will not put the idea into their heads or make it more likely that they will attempt suicide.
  • Call the U.S. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255)
  • Take the person to an emergency room or seek help from a medical or mental health professional
  • Remove any objects that could be used in a suicide attempt
  • If possible, do not leave the person alone

For More Information

For additional information about the National Strategy for Suicide Prevention, visit the websites below:

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