How to Help Someone Who is Suicidal

On average, there are 132 suicides in the USA per day. White males account for 7 of every 10 suicides. The rate of suicide is highest in middle age.

September is National Suicide Prevention Month. All month, mental health advocates, prevention organizations, survivors, allies, and community members unite to promote suicide prevention awareness, and learn how to help someone who is suicidal.

Jonas Hill Hospital is committed to this cause.

We can all help prevent suicide. By learning about mental health and the issue of suicide, you can help others. Learning about support services and talking about suicide with loved ones at risk makes you a lifeline. Learning how to reduce access to self-harm and how we can follow up with those we love can prevent the next suicide attempt. You can be the one to help.

Know the Risk Factors

Risk factors are traits or behaviors of a person or their environment that increase the likelihood of suicide risk. Having some risk factors does not mean someone is suicidal. It simply means that they are at a higher risk.

Major risk factors for suicide include:

  • Prior suicide attempts
  • Depression
  • Knowing someone who died by suicide
  • Social isolation
  • Chronic disease and disability
  • Mood disorders, including traits of aggression and impulsive
  • Alcohol and substance abuse

A person’s medical history and environment play a factor in suicide, too. You aren’t privy to everything that happens in someone’s life, but understanding risk factors give you a starting point.

  • History of trauma and abuse
  • Major physical illness and pain
  • Family History
  • Stressful life events such as loss of a job and divorce
  • Someone else in their life or media committing suicide
  • Prolonged trauma, including bullying and other types of abuse
  • Access to firearms and drugs

People who have attempted suicide before or have a family history of suicide are at a far higher risk of a successful one. Keep communication going, even if sometimes they are resistant.

Know the Warning Signs

Warning signs and risk factors are very different. Warning signs are easier to pinpoint because it is what they are saying and how they are acting in the moment. It has little to do with the past and everything to do with right now at this moment.

Warning signs for suicide include:

  • Talking about wanting to die
  • Looking for ways to die, including reckless behavior
  • Talking about feeling hopeless with nothing to look forward to
  • Feeling trapped
  • Believes and talks about being a burden to others
  • Acting overly anxious or agitated
  • Sleeping too little (or too much)

Research shows people who are having thoughts of suicide feel relief when someone asks how they are in a caring way. Findings suggest acknowledging and talking about suicide may reduce suicidal ideation rather than increasing those thoughts.

Jonas Hill is Here to Help

You are not alone. Supportive services are out there to help you and your loved one during a horribly difficult time. Jonas Hill offers immediate counseling along with inpatient and outpatient services. Suicide is a quiet killer. You are heard here.


Jonas Hill Hospital & Clinic, a division of Caldwell Memorial Hospital provides our community with safe, dignified and integrated care for adult patients experiencing an acute mental health need. We provide hope, treatment, and healing through a holistic program of evidence-based psychiatric treatment, team-based medical care, and education provided by engaging and dedicated professionals in a safe and healing environment. Contact us today for more information. A safe space to heal.