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Suicide: Know the Warning Signs, Know How to Help

Suicide is a leading cause of death in America and can be preventable if everyone can recognize the warning signs, knows how to help, and becomes familiar with resources available in the community.

Know the risk factors and warning signs

There are certain characteristics that could make it more likely a person could consider suicide.

Consider contacting a mental health professional or hotline if you, or someone you know, is exhibiting one or more of these behaviors:

  • Hopelessness
  • Rage, uncontrolled anger, seeking revenge
  • Acting reckless or engaging in risky activities, seemingly without thinking
  • Feeling trapped, like there’s no way out
  • Increased alcohol or drug use
  • Withdrawing from friends, family and society
  • Anxiety, agitation, unable to sleep or sleeping all the time
  • Dramatic mood changes

If there is an immediate health or safety risk, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency department.

Anyone can contact the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline if they are experiencing mental health-related distress or are worried about somebody who may need crisis support.

A trained crisis counselor is available through 988, a resource that is confidential, free, and accessible 24 hours a day, every day. More information is available at

Anyone who thinks they're having a medical emergency should not hesitate to seek care. Federal law ensures that anyone who comes to the emergency department is treated and stabilized, and that their insurance provides coverage based on symptoms, not a final diagnosis. 

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