Suicide is a reaction to intense feelings of loneliness, worthlessness, hopelessness, or depression. Threats or attempts of suicide are calls for help. Knowing the warning signs and being prepared to answer these calls for help could prevent many suicides.  If you are someone you care about is at risk for suicide, click here for crisis or prevention resources.

Why people commit suicide
Problems that seem overwhelming may lead a person to think the only solution is to end his or her life. Suicide also can take place indirectly when a person’s reaction to a problem leads him or her to act recklessly or ignore serious illness.

The following are some stressful situations that can trigger suicidal feelings: 

High risk groups
While suicide knows no social or cultural boundaries, members of some groups are more prone to attempt or commit suicide than others. You do not have to have a mental illness to have suicidal feelings.

The following are considered high-risk groups: 

Suicide among young people. 
Suicide is one of the leading causes of death among people ages 15 to 24. Young people are especially susceptible to suicide because they can experience many of the same stresses that face adults, in addition to the pressures of growing up. However, young people usually lack the network of support many adults have or a perspective on life and experience in dealing with problems that come with age.

Warning signs

Most people give warning signs that they are contemplating taking their own lives. Some warning signs are: 

How you can help

One of the misconceptions of suicide is that someone who has decided to take his or her life is beyond help. In most cases, the crisis period when a person is actually considering taking his or her life is limited. The person can be helped past this period. Another misconception is that mentioning suicide may give the person the idea. If someone is showing warning signs of being suicidal, that person has already thought about it. Talking frankly about it can actually help prevent a person from acting on the idea.

Here are ways to help: 

What else to do?

People who attempt suicide also face the stigma attached to it by society. This stigma causes discrimination in employment, housing, health care, and in the ability to buy health insurance. By learning more about mental illness and the effectiveness of treatment, this discrimination can end, removing the stigma that acts as a barrier to successful treatment.  You can help end the stigma and educate yourself with our free, 20-minute training Ask, Listen, Refer.

Adapted from information from the Missouri Advisory Council for Comprehensive Psychiatric Services.