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A Suicide Prevention Toolkit

Thoughts of suicide affect a striking number of people, and tens of thousands of people die a preventable death at their own hand every year. Here’s some information you need to know if self-harm has crossed your mind:

Emergency Resources to Know

If you’re thinking of ending your life, find someone to talk to before you take action. No matter where you live, there’s a crisis helpline available to you.

  • The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255) is a nationwide hotline you can call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. On the other end you’ll find trained staff who can lend an ear and direct you to help in your area. If you’re not ready to talk, you can turn to the Lifeline’s online chat function instead. You’ll still get the assistance of a real person, but you may find it less intimidating than talking aloud.
  • The National Hopeline Network (1-800-442-4673) is a non-profit suicide helpline that offers 24/7 support through volunteers trained in crisis intervention. Hopeline also offers an online chat through their partner site, IMAlive.
  • LGBT youth struggling with suicidal thoughts can reach out to The Trevor Project (1-866-488-7386) for a safe, accepting person to talk to. You can also reach counselors through TrevorChat, an online instant messaging platform, or via text message by texting “Trevor” to 1-202-304-1200.
  • Available in the U.S. (1-877-565-8860) and Canada (1-877-330-6366), the Trans Lifeline provides crisis intervention for transgender people, by transgender people.
  • The Crisis Text Line offers suicide prevention support via text message. Persons in crisis can text trained crisis counselors at 741741 for help getting through rough moments at any hour, day or night.

There are also countless local crisis hotlines. If you’d prefer to talk to someone in your area, take a look at this list of helplines by state.

If you’re in immediate danger, call 911 to get help from a first responder trained in crisis intervention before you reach out to a helpline. Suicidal thoughts are an emergency, so don’t think you’re wasting anyone’s time by reaching out.

Numbers to Know

If you’re dealing with thoughts of suicide, there’s a good chance you’re feeling very isolated in this world. When you’re in the depths of a mental health crisis it can seem devastatingly challenging to find a way out, including reaching out for help. But the truth is, you’re not alone.

  • Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S., with over 44,000 people taking their lives every year. It’s the number one cause of death among people aged 10 to 34.
  • Over 8 million people are estimated to have had suicidal thoughts in the past year, with 2.3 million coming up with a plan and one million attempting suicide.
  • Two-thirds of people who commit suicide are suffering from depression at the time of their death.
  • Adults aged 45 to 64 have the highest suicide rate, and senior citizens over age 85 are a close second. While young people are less likely to commit suicide, gay, lesbian, and bisexual youth are four times as likely to attempt suicide than their heterosexual peers. Youth questioning their sexuality are twice as likely to attempt.
  • 41 percent of transgender and gender nonconforming people will attempt suicide at some point in their lives. This is nearly ten times the national suicide attempt rate.
  • A prior suicide attempt is the biggest risk factor for death by suicide. Ongoing care, such as psychotherapy, inpatient treatment, and emotional support from friends, family, and even a service dog can help prevent future attempts.

Suicide is a tragedy that affects the lives of countless people around the world, but when equipped the proper support and mental health treatment, the devastating effects of suicide can be prevented.

Article and research by Jennifer Scott ~ Jennifer shares stories about the ups and downs of her anxiety and depression at SpiritFinder.org.

Image by Lee Miller

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