by andrew ponce

Suicide is a tragic event with strong emotional repurcussions for its survivors and for families of its victims. More than 42,000 people in the U.S. killed themselves in 2014, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, making it the 10th leading cause of death overall. Although most federally-funded suicide prevention programs focus on helping teenagers, recent years have seen a spike in rates among middle-aged people. Men are especially at risk, with a suicide rate nearly four times higher than that of women.

These are the warning signs of suicide. Suicide does not have one single cause. Certain factors like substance abuse and untreated depression can lead to higher risk of suicide just as having a robust social circle can help protect you from suicide. Read more about the warning signs, risk factors and protective factors of suicide. Warning signs are indicators that a person may be in acute danger and may urgently need help.

1) Talking about wanting to die or to kill oneself;

2) Looking for a way to kill oneself;

3) Talking about feeling hopeless or having no purpose;

4) Talking about feeling trapped or being in unbearable pain;

5) Talking about being a burden to others;

6) Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs;

7) Acting anxious, agitated, or reckless;

8) Sleeping too little or too much;

9) Withdrawing or feeling isolated;

10) Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge; and

11) Displaying extreme mood swings.

Risk factors do not cause or predict a suicide, rather they are things that make it more likely an individual will consider, attempt or die by suicide.

1) Mental disorders, particularly mood disorders, schizophrenia, anxiety disorders and certain personality disorders

2) Alcohol and other substance use disorders

3) Hopelessness

4) Impulsive and/or aggressive tendencies

5) History of trauma or abuse

6) Major physical or chronic illnesses

7) Previous suicide attempt

8) Family history of suicide

9) Recent job or financial loss

10) Recent loss of relationship

11) Easy access to lethal means

12) Local clusters of suicide

13) Lack of social support and sense of isolation

14) Stigma associated with asking for help

15) Lack of health care, especially mental health and substance abuse treatment

16) Cultural and religious beliefs, such as the belief that suicide is a noble resolution of a personal dilemma

17) Exposure to others who have died by suicide (in real life or via the media and Internet)

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