Suicide Prevention: How to Get Help & Know the 12 Warning Signs

KNOE suicide prevention
KNOE suicide prevention(KNOE suicide prevention)
Published: Jun. 3, 2020 at 10:09 AM CDT|Updated: Sep. 7, 2022 at 11:36 AM CDT
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Need Help Now? - Dial 988!

If you are in need of immediate assistance, call or text the Suicide and Crisis Hotline at 988. Click here to reach a chat with a counselor via chatbox.

September is recognized as Suicide Prevention Month. That can mean different things to different people. It can be a time to think back on a loved one no longer with us, commit yourself to better recognizing the signs in someone else, or just reflect on your past actions. Regardless, if there’s one thing you can take away from this month, it’s that the mindfulness to prevent suicide should be with you year-round.

Below, you can find .information on what you can do to help someone else and what you can do if you need help.

Who is Affected?

The Centers for Disease Control says 45,979 people lost their lives to suicide in 2020 in the United States. That marks two years of decline after 18 straight years of increases. Comparatively, about 48,000 people died of suicide in 2018. They say more than 3 million made a plan and 1.4 million attempted suicide.

Mental health plays a factor and such issues can greatly contribute to suicide, but the CDC says suicide is more than a mental health concern. Millions of Americans with diagnosed mental health conditions have relatively normal and functional lives. Although some conditions can increase the risk factor, they alone very rarely lead to suicide. In fact, experts say a single factor of any type is rare, and a person does not have to be diagnosed with a mental health condition in order to be at risk for suicide.

"Other problems often contribute to suicide, such as those related to relationships, substance use, physical health, and job, money, legal, or housing stress. "

The CDC says everyone, from the government to the media and everyone in between, must work together to prevent future suicides. The CDC has outlined a plan of action and distributed strategies to help combat suicide, which you can read by clicking here.

From an economic standpoint, when you factor in medical costs and lost productivity, suicide and suicide attempts cost the nation nearly $500 billion in 2019.

If you or someone you know needs help, please read below. Even if you don’t know anyone who needs help, please read below, in case one day you do.

What should I do if I need help?

If you need help for yourself, the most immediate thing you can do is to call a trusted family member or friend and tell them you are thinking about it. If you don’t have anyone you can call or you don’t feel comfortable talking to someone who knows you, you can contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. They are there 24 hours a day and 7 days a week.

Dial 988 for immediate assistance.

If you are in need of immediate assistance, call or text the Suicide and Crisis Hotline at 988. Click here to reach a chat with a counselor via chatbox.

For more information on what to expect when you do reach out, go to

What are the 12 Warning Signs?

The CDC says there are 12 warning signs that you may notice before someone attempts suicide. They are:

  • Feeling like a burden
  • Being isolated
  • Increased anxiety
  • Feeling trapped or in unbearable pain
  • Increased substance use
  • Looking for a way to access lethal means
  • Increased anger or rage
  • Extreme mood swings
  • Expressing hopelessness
  • Sleeping too little or too much
  • Talking or posting about wanting to die
  • Making plans for suicide

Suicide Awareness Voices of Education has a more in-depth look at the warning signs. They also detail warning signs and risk factors for children as well as members of the LGBTQ+ community. You can read more about that by clicking here.

What can I do to help someone?

You can call the numbers above or encourage them to call.

There are also 5 Steps to help someone at risk:

  • 1. Ask.
  • 2. Keep them safe.
  • 3. Be there.
  • 4. Help them connect.
  • 5. Follow up.

Here are some suggestions for each step:

  • 1. ASK: Asking the question “Are you thinking about suicide?” communicates that you’re open to speaking about suicide in a non-judgmental and supportive way.
  • 2. KEEP THEM SAFE: After the “Ask” step, and you’ve determined suicide is indeed being talked about, it’s important to find out a few things to establish immediate safety. Have they already done something? Have they thought about how they would do it? Do they have a plan?
  • 3. BE THERE: This could mean being physically present for someone, speaking with them on the phone when you can, or any other way that shows support for the person at risk. An important aspect of this step is to make sure you follow through. Don’t over-commit.
  • 4. HELP THEM CONNECT: Helping someone with thoughts of suicide connect with ongoing supports (like the Lifeline, 800-273-8255) can help them establish a safety net for those moments they find themselves in a crisis.
  • 5. FOLLOW UP: After you’ve taken the initial steps to get them help, keep in touch with them. Leave a message, send a text, or give them a call.

These guidelines are from Find out how these can save a life by visiting: this website for longer explanations and more examples.

If you would like to join the cause to help prevent suicides, go here:

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