The worst-case outcome of unaddressed mental health struggles is the feeling of hopelessness that may lead to suicidal thoughts or attempts. The good news is that suicide is preventable, and we can use our platforms to shed light on the issue, raise awareness about warning signs, and highlight available resources for seeking help.

Need to Know

Suicide can affect anyone, regardless of age, gender, or background. It’s often linked to complex issues such as mental illness, trauma, and significant life stressors.

There is no single cause for suicide. It is multifactorial, and it’s important to recognize that all individuals have their own unique experiences.

People with mental health conditions like depression or who struggle with substance misuse are at increased risk for suicide.

Many families and communities don’t have open conversations about mental health or suicide in the same way they would about physical health.

Groups like Indigenous people, Hispanic Americans, Black Americans, and Asian Americans are less likely to reach out for help if they’re struggling, which puts them at increased risk for suicide.

You can say “suicide.” Open and honest discussion about suicide can be preventative, since it encourages people to seek help early.

Sharing certain details about suicide attempts or suicides can lead to contagion or copycat behaviors.

It’s crucial to recognize the signs of suicidal ideation, which include talking about wanting to die, feeling hopeless, withdrawing from friends and activities, and changes in mood or behavior.

Things to Avoid

Do not speculate about whether someone died by suicide if the facts aren’t available or have not been verified.

When sharing a story about suicide, avoid details about the way someone attempted or died by suicide, the means of suicide (e.g. the name of a drug), and the content of suicide notes.

Do not use language like “committed suicide” or “killed himself.” Instead use “died by suicide” or “took his own life” to prevent suicide from being equated with acts of violence or criminal behavior.

Avoid referring to suicide as “successful,” “unsuccessful,” or a “failed attempt.” Instead use “died by suicide” or “completed.”

Do not glamorize or romanticize suicide in any way. Always treat the subject with the gravity it deserves.

Avoid implying that suicide is a character flaw or that there are certain types of people who would or wouldn’t consider suicide.

Do not speculate about the reasons for someone’s suicidal thoughts or actions, since it can oversimplify the complex nature of suicide. Suicide is never the result of one simple cause or event.

Your Opportunity

Promote the idea that speaking openly and honestly about suicidal ideations with trusted friends and family will not make a person more likely to die by suicide. It could save their life.

Raise awareness of the warning signs of hopelessness or suicide.

Talk about ways to support a friend who may be hopeless or suicidal, even if they aren’t initially receptive to help.

Integrate information about free resources available to people who are suicidal, or those worried about a loved one.

Share stories of individuals who overcame suicidal thoughts with the right support and treatment, offering hope to those facing similar struggles.


988 Crisis Hotline →

Contact the Suicide and Crisis Hotline by texting or calling 988 at any time to talk to a trained counselor if you are feeling suicidal or worried about a friend.

The Trevor Project →

The Trevor Project offers phone, chat, and text support 24/7 for LGBTQIA+ individuals who are struggling emotionally or thinking about suicide. Call 1-866-488-7386 or text START to 678-678 to get started.

If you or someone you know are at immediate risk of harm, call 911 or emergency services immediately.

The Jed Foundation →

Visit the JED Mental Health Resource Center to learn more about suicide, the warning signs, and how to get help for yourself or a loved one.

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