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45 Suicide Prevention Resources
Suicide is a leading cause of death in the United States, making suicide prevention resources some of the most valuable and impactful interventions available. Following is our comprehensive list of suicide prevention resources and strategies meant to support those impacted and prevent suicide.
Implementing Effective Suicide Prevention Strategies
In 2020, nearly 46,000 deaths were due to suicide.1 Many thousands more think about suicide or attempt it. A total of 1.2 million people attempted suicide in 2020, and an estimated 12.2 million considered suicide.1
What can we do to turn the tide on these numbers? Fortunately, suicide is preventable. But this requires everyone to play a role in implementing effective prevention strategies. The CDC recommends seven overarching strategies to focus on at the national, community, and individual levels.2
- Strengthen economic supports.
- Strengthen access and delivery of suicide care.
- Create protective environments.
- Promote connectedness.
- Teach coping and problem-solving skills.
- Identify and support people at risk.
- Lessen harms and prevent future risk.
What do these strategies look like in practical measures? The CDC makes further recommendations for how to implement these strategies at all levels and in all areas of society.3
The federal government can track suicides to understand trends and identify those at greatest risk. Policy makers can also develop and implement suicide prevention strategies and support local and state partners to prevent suicide.
State and Community Level
There are many practical ways to prevent suicide at the local level. First, identify those at risk. Then, teach coping and problem-solving skills for managing jobs, relationships, and health concerns.
Communities can also educate people about creating safe environments, such as storing medications and firearms. Activities that bring people together are also helpful, to connect people so they don’t feel alone.
Local organizations can also connect at-risk people to mental healthcare services and offer options for temporary assistance for those struggling financially.
Employers can help prevent suicide by promoting employee health and well-being. This may involve putting plans in place to respond to employees who show potential warning signs. Employers can also encourage workers to seek support and offer referrals to mental health services.
Healthcare System Level
To prevent suicide, healthcare systems can provide care focused on patient safety and suicide prevention. They can provide effective treatment that is affordable and accessible to all. They can also train healthcare providers in treatments for patients at risk of suicide.
A look at current suicide statistics reinforces the need to implement these strategies.
Suicide rates in the U.S. increased in nearly every state from 1999 through 2016. In half the states, suicide rates went up more than 30%.3 Here’s an overview of recent numbers:
Suicide statistics in 2020:4
- 45,979 people died by suicide
- 2 million adults seriously thought about suicide
- 2 million adults made a plan to commit suicide
- 2 million adults attempted suicide
- 54% of people who died by suicide did not have a known mental health condition.
- The suicide rate among males was 4x higher than among females.
For every suicide death, there are:4
- 4 hospitalizations for suicide attempts
- 8 emergency department visits related to suicide
- 27 self-reported suicide attempts
- 275 people who seriously considered suicide
Three methods account for a majority of suicide deaths:4
- Firearms – 52.8%
- Suffocation – 27.2%
- Poisoning – 12.0%
Suicide Prevention Among College Students
As with the rest of the population, suicide is a leading cause of death among college students. For this segment of the population, it is the second most common cause of death.5 Since the 1950s, the suicide rate among young adults ages 15-24 has tripled.6
These young adults are in the process of making a challenging transition from childhood environments to adult responsibilities. They are in the midst of career and relationship decisions and are often far from home. The pressures of academia, social situations, finances, and the future can become overwhelming.
Risk Factors for College Students
Risk factors for suicide among college students include personal and environmental factors. These include: behavioral health disorders; individual characteristics such as hopelessness, anger, and loneliness; stressful life circumstances; family instability or history of suicide; and negative school/community factors such as lack of access to care or exposure to discrimination.
For many students, a depressive disorder plays a role in their suicidal risk. Researchers have found that up to 16% of college students report being diagnosed with a depressive disorder, and over 90% of people who commit suicide have a diagnosable mental disorder.7
Protective Factors for College Students
A major protective factor for students is social support. Enhancing this protective factor can be an effective part of suicide prevention. This support includes parental involvement and connectedness to family, social support from friendships and romantic relationships, and concern, understanding, and care from teachers, mentors, workplace supervisors, and other influential adults. Strengthening supportive factors can help decrease the risk of suicide as well as other risks such as substance abuse, violence, and academic failure.
To keep support strong while students are attending college, parents and family can take the following steps.
- Stay involved. Attend performances, sporting events, and other activities when possible. Communicate with faculty if you sense the student’s grades are dropping or they are dropping out of extra-curricular activities.
- Stay in touch. This might be via text, phone, Facetime, or other communication methods. The point is to let them know they still have family support, even long distance.
- Ask open-ended questions. Don’t pry or panic if you sense trouble. Ask open-ended questions and listen carefully to their answers and tone.
- Promote self-care. Encourage the student to take good care of themselves. This might mean taking naps, eating nutritious foods, or taking breaks. Send healthy care packages to help them with these efforts.
- Share your struggles. Offer “I’ve been there” encouragement so they know you are interested in their struggles, you understand what they’re going through, and they feel seen and heard.
Differing Rates of Suicide Among Various Groups
Suicide risk can be present among people of any age, socioeconomic status, ethnicity, or sex. However, certain subgroups of the U.S. population have significantly higher rates of suicide than the general population.
Suicide Rates By Age
Older adults have the highest suicide rate in the nation.8
- Adults 75 and older have the highest suicide rate (19.1 per 100,000).8
- Men 75 and older have the highest rate (40.5 per 100,000) compared to other age groups.8
- Older, non-Hispanic white men have the highest suicide rate compared to other ethnic men their age (47.8 per 100,000). 8
Among middle-aged adults: 8
- Adults aged 35-64 account for 47.2% of all suicides in the country. 8
- Suicide is the 9th leading cause of death for this age group. 8
- Among middle-aged men, suicide rates are highest for non-Hispanic American Indian or Alaskan Native men (36.0 per 100,000). 8
- Among middle-aged women, suicide rates are highest among white women (10.5 per 100,000). 8
Suicide Rates Among People With Disabilities
- In 2021, adults with disabilities were 3x more likely to report suicidal thoughts in the past month compared to those without disabilities (30.6% vs. 8.3%).8
- Increased mental distress among this population is a risk factor for suicide. 8
Suicide Rates By Industry and Occupation
The CDC has found that the suicide rate among employees in certain industries is significantly higher than the general population. 8 The following industries have the highest suicide rates:
- Mining, Quarrying, and Oil & Gas Extraction – Males: 54.2 per 100,0008
- Construction – Males: 45.3 per 100,0008
- Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing, & Hunting – Males: 36.1 per 100,0008
- Transportation and Warehousing – Males: 29.8 per 100,000; Females: 10.1 per 100,0008
The suicide rate is also higher than the general population in the following occupations:8
- Construction & Extraction – Males: 49.4 per 100,000; Females: 25.5 per 100,000
- Installation, Maintenance, & Repair – Males: 36.9 per 100,000
- Arts, Design, Entertainment, Sports, & Media – Males: 32.0 per 100,000
- Transportation & Material Moving – Males: 30.4 per 100,000; Females: 12.5 per 100,000
- Protective Service – Females: 14.0 per 100,000
- Healthcare Support – Females: 10.6 per 100,000
Suicide Rates By Geographic Region
Suicide rates also differ by geographic region. Rural areas experience significantly higher rates of suicide than urban areas.8
- Large central metropolitan areas: 10.9 per 100,0008
- Large fringe metro areas: 12.5 per 100,0008
- Medium metro areas: 15.3 per 100,0008
- Small metro areas: 17.2 per 100,0008
- Micropolitan: 18.3 per 100,0008
- Non-metro: 20.5 per 100,0008
- Suicide rates in rural areas are highest among non-Hispanic AI/AN males (59.6 per 100,000).8
Suicide Rates in the LGBTQIA+ Community
Researchers have found that people who identify as sexual minorities have higher rates of suicide attempts than heterosexuals.8
- 4% of high school students identifying as lesbian, gay, or bisexual reported attempting suicide in the prior 12 months. This rate is 4x higher than the rate among heterosexual students.
- The rate of self-reported suicide attempts among sexual minorities ages 18-25 is 5.5%.
- The rate of self-reported suicide attempts among sexual minorities ages 26-49 is 2.2%.
To help prevent suicide among LGBTQIA+ individuals, the following suicide prevention resources are available:
- American Foundation for Suicide Prevention: The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) is the leading national not-for-profit organization exclusively dedicated to understanding and preventing suicide through research, education, advocacy, and to reaching out to people with mental disorders and those impacted by suicide.
- The Trevor Project: This organization provides confidential support for LGBTQ+ youth in crisis, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
- TrevorLifeline 866-4-U-TREVOR (1-866-488-7386): Crisis intervention and suicide prevention phone service available 24/7/365
- TrevorChat: Confidential online instant messaging with a Trevor counselor, available 24/7. Access via computer.
- TrevorText – Text START to 678-678: Confidential text messaging with a Trevor counselor, available 24/7/365. Standard messaging rates may apply.
- SAGE LGBT Elder Hotline: Connects older members of the LGBTQ community with friendly, helpful responders. Confidential support and crisis response available 24/7.
- SAGE LGBT Elder Hotline 1-877-360-LGBT (5428)
Suicide Rates Among Veterans
Veterans represent a disproportionate number of suicide deaths in the U.S. This population often faces extreme environments and traumatic situations that put them at higher risk of mental health issues and suicidal tendencies.
- Veterans have an adjusted suicide rate 52.3% higher than non-veteran U.S. adults.
- People who have served in the military account for 13.7% of suicides among U.S. adults.
- In 2019, 1.6% of former active-duty service members aged 18-25 years reported making a suicide attempt during the prior 12 months.
The following Veteran-specific resources are available to provide suicide prevention and other support for this population.
- Homelessness Hotline: 877-424-3838. A crisis line for veterans who are currently experiencing homelessness or at risk of homelessness. Family members and supporters of veterans at risk can also call.
- Lifeline for Vets: Call 888-777-4443. Provided by the National Veterans Foundation. Offers crisis management and support for veterans in need.
- Suicide Prevention Lifeline: This site offers main crisis line info (800-273-8255) and additional resources for veterans and service members in crisis.
- Veterans Crisis Line: 800-273-8255 – Call for confidential crisis support. For Veterans and their loved ones. Available 24/7.
Suicide Rates Among Minority Groups
Minority populations often face unique struggles based on cultural, discriminatory, or individual challenges. A look at recent statistics reveals that suicide rates vary among different ethnic minorities.8
- Age-adjusted rates are highest among non-Hispanic AI/AN people (23.9 per 100,000).
- Among non-Hispanic white people, the rate is 16.9 per 100,000.
- Suicide is the 9th leading cause of death among AI/AN people.
- Non-Hispanic AI/AN people have a higher rate of suicide (23.9 per 100,00) than Hispanic AI/AN people (2.0 per 100,000).
- The suicide rate among non-Hispanic AI/AN males ages 15-24 is 68.4 per 100,000.
- Suicide is the 12th leading cause of death for both Hispanic and non-Hispanic people of all races.
- Between 2019 and 2020:
- Age-adjusted suicide rates decreased 4.5% among non-Hispanic white people.
- Age-adjusted suicide rates increased 4.0% among non-Hispanic black people.
- Age-adjusted suicide rates increased 6.2% among non-Hispanic AI/AN people.
Culturally sensitive resources are crucial to provide support for these minority populations. Fortunately, many organizations offer relevant suicide prevention resources for BIPOC, Native American, and AAPI individuals and families.
What Are the Warning Signs of Suicide?
A crucial piece of suicide prevention is knowing what signs to look for in suicidal individuals.9 Watch for the following red flags that could indicate someone is suicidal.
- Feeling like a burden to others
- Feeling trapped
- Experiencing unbearable pain
- Increased substance use
- Seeking access to lethal means
- Increased anger or rage
- Extreme mood swings
- Feelings of hopelessness
- Sleeping too much or too little
- Talking about wanting to die
- Posting about wanting to die
- Making plans for suicide
Steps to Help Someone at Risk of Suicide
If you notice the above warning signs and are concerned someone is at risk of suicide, take the following steps.
- Ask – Don’t be afraid to bring it up. Ask the person if they are thinking about suicide.
- Keep them safe – Reduce their access to lethal means, such as firearms and toxic substances.
- Be there – Listen to their concerns and needs. Be with them.
- Help them connect – Point them to ongoing support, such as the National Suicide Lifeline and other resources on this page.
- Follow up – Check in on them regularly to see how they are doing.
Downloadable Resources: Suicidal Behavior Assessment Quizzes
Unfortunately, suicide is a serious problem that is more common than we’d like to acknowledge. It is also a threat that needs to be handled with delicacy. Print the following self-assessment quizzes to test your understanding of the signs of suicidal risks and how to handle them.
*Addictions.com self-assessment quizzes are not intended to be used as a diagnostic tool. Only a trained medical professional, such as a doctor or mental health professional, can accurately diagnose mental health conditions. These medically-reviewed self-assessments are designed to help you evaluate your personal well-being or that of a loved one and determine if a consultation with a professional might be helpful.
List of National Suicide Prevention Resources
Many foundations, non-profits, and professionals have developed support resources focused on suicide prevention. Following are some of the top resources available for those at risk and others who want to help those at risk.
Suicide Prevention Crisis Lines
- Crisis Text Line: Text 741741 from anywhere in the U.S. 24/7. Connect with a trained counselor for support during crisis.
- Suicide and Crisis Lifeline: Call or text 988. Available for those who are experiencing mental health-related distress or are worried about someone else who might need support. Callers can connect with a trained crisis counselor for free, confidential support 24/7/365. Note: This line was previously 1-800-TALK, which will continue to function indefinitely.
- Trans Lifeline: 877-565-8860. This grassroots hotline provides direct emotional and financial support to trans people in crisis. It offers peer support for trans individuals given by trans individuals. The lifeline is available daily 7am-1am PST. Volunteers may be available during off hours.
- Trevor Lifeline: 1-866-488-7386 or text START to 678678. The Trevor Project is a national organization that offers crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to LGBTQ+ youth, with an emphasis on POC. This lifeline is available 24/7.
- Veterans Crisis Line: Call 800-273-8255 or text 838255 – Offers confidential crisis support. Responders are specially trained to work with Veterans and their loved ones. Available 24/7.
SAMHSA Suicide Prevention Prevention Resources
- #BeThe1To: This is the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline’s message for National Suicide Prevention Month and beyond. This organization and its partners work to prevent suicide through actions that promote healing and give hope. The aim is to prevent suicide by learning how to help oneself and others and to seek support when its needed.
- Comprehensive Approach to Suicide Prevention: This model offers nine strategies that form a comprehensive approach to suicide prevention. This model was adapted from one developed for campuses by SPRC and the Jed Foundation, which drew from the U.S. Air Force Suicide Prevention Program. Each of the nine strategies is based on a broad goal that is accomplished through various programs, policies, practices, and other possible activities.
- National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention: This is the nation’s public-private partnership for suicide prevention. The alliance works with more than 250 partners to advance the National Strategy for Suicide Prevention. The organization focuses on transforming health systems and communities and changing the conversation about suicide.
- SAMHSA’s Suicide Prevention Resource Center: This hub offers data, research, and strategies about suicide and its prevention. The site is searchable by resource type, population, location, and other filters, to find programs, fact sheets, tool kits, and other resources regarding suicide.
- SPRC’s Effective Suicide Prevention Model: A four-minute video offering an overview of SPRC’s model, which includes strategic planning, keys to success, and the comprehensive approach. The emphasis of this model is to understand the problem of suicide and combine efforts to create change. The goal is to execute the prevention efforts that are most effective.
- Strategic Planning Approach to Suicide Prevention: An overview of the six-step planning approach. This approach can be applied to any aspect of a program at any point. The goal is to guide suicide prevention programs, activities, and other efforts to make them as effective as possible.
- Zero Suicide: The aim of this effort is to improve suicide care within health systems. The organization’s foundational belief is that suicide deaths for individuals who are under the care of healthcare systems are preventable. Zero Suicide provides a practical framework for system transformation to provide safer suicidal care.
Professional Suicide Prevention Resources
- 2012 National Strategy for Suicide Prevention – Goals and Objectives for Action: This downloadable booklet lays out the strategic directions, goals, and objectives that are designed to work together to prevent suicide across the nation. The strategy aims to guide suicide prevention actions in the U.S.
- AAP Suicide Prevention Resource Library for Pediatric Health Care Providers: This resource offers guidance to pediatricians and pediatric health care providers to help them identify youth at risk for suicide.
- Sources of Strength: This youth suicide prevention project aims to harness the power of peer social networks to prevent suicide. The goal is to change unhealthy norms and increase help-seeking behaviors. The program focuses on strengthening multiple sources of support so young people have ample strengths to rely on when times get tough.
- SPRC’s Resources and Programs Repository: This resource repository offers information on multiple types of suicide prevention programs. The searchable database offers tools for education, screening, treatment, and environmental change.
- The Relationship Between Bullying and Suicide – What We Know and What It Means: This downloadable document offers science-based, action-oriented information to help leaders improve schools’ understanding of and ability to prevent bullying and suicide-related behavior.
- Think, Act, Grow in Action Webinar – Sources of Strength: This 40-minute episode of The HHS Office of Adolescent Health’s Successful Strategies for Improving Adolescent Health webinar series discusses the application of the Sources of Strength program.
Youth and Family Suicide Prevention Resources
- #Chatsafe – A Young Person’s Guide for Communicating Safely Online About Suicide: This guide was developed to provide support to those who might need to respond to suicide-related content posted by someone else, and for those who want to share their own feelings and experiences with suicidal thoughts or behaviors.
- Help a Friend in Need – A Facebook and Instagram Guide: Facebook and Instagram have partnered with The Jed Foundation and The Clinton Foundation to create this guide. It shares potential warning signs that a friend might be in emotional distress and need help.
- Seize the Awkward: This campaign encourages teens to embrace awkward silences and teaches them how to use those moments to reach out to a friend. The focus is on starting conversations about how they’re feeling. The site offers tips and conversation guides to help people help those in need.
- What to Do If You’re Concerned About Your Teen’s Mental Health – A Conversation Guide: This downloadable guide is designed to help parents and families who are concerned about their teen’s mental health and emotional well-being. The guide equips parents to talk with their children about how they are feeling.
- Youth Mental Health First Aid: This site is designed to teach parents, family members, caregivers, teachers, school staff, peers, neighbors, and health and human service workers how to help adolescents who are experiencing mental health challenges or crises.
Suicide Prevention Resources for College Students
- American Association of Suicidology: This association aims to promote the understanding and prevention of suicide and support those who have been affected by it. This is accomplished through the advancement of suicidology as a science, encouraging the development and application of effective suicide prevention strategies, and sharing accurate information about suicidal behaviors with the public.
- IMAlive: This nonprofit organization focuses on suicide prevention, awareness, and education. They provide help through online crisis chat, educational on-campus and virtual college events, and awareness campaigns.
- Jed Foundation: This is the nation’s leading organization that works to prevent suicide among college students. The foundation works to promote emotional health among college students and protect the mental health of students nationwide. The site offers information for those who need help or want to help, and are looking for additional resources.
- Mental Health is Health: This MTV Entertainment Group is an initiative that aims to normalize conversation on mental health and create a connection to resources. The aim is to inspire people to take action, after recognizing that we all have mental health and need to take care of it just as we do our physical health.
- National Center for Injury Prevention and Control: This arm of the CDC helps protect people from violence and injury. The organization researches best practices to prevent violence and injuries, and uses science to create real-world solutions to keep people safe and healthy.
- ULifeline: An online resource for college mental health. Provides suicide and depression resources for college students and a helpline for those with more serious mental health issues such as suicidal thoughts and how to help suicidal friends.
Additional Suicide Prevention Resources
- Framework for Successful Messaging: This site provides tools and guidance for anyone who develops and shares suicide-related content. The framework outlines four critical issues to consider when messaging to the public about suicide.
- National Recommendations for Depicting Suicide: These recommendations come from representatives in the entertainment and suicide prevention fields. The goal is to help members of the entertainment industry tell balanced and authentic stories about suicide and suicide prevention.
- Suicide Prevention Services of America: This organization’s mission is to open minds, save lives, and restore hope through prevention and intervention, using advocacy, education, and collaboration. The agency offers a 24-hour phone hotline, counseling, depression screening, workshops, prevention training, support groups, intervention in schools, and annual awareness events.
- Facts About Suicide. (2022, July 25). CDC. https://www.cdc.gov/suicide/facts/index.html
- Prevention Strategies. (2022, July 5). CDC. https://www.cdc.gov/suicide/prevention/index.html
- CDC’s National Vital Statistics System; CDC Vital Signs, June 2018. (n.d.). https://www.cdc.gov/vitalsigns/pdf/vs-0618-suicide-H.pdf
- Suicide Data and Statistics. (2022, June 28). CDC. https://www.cdc.gov/suicide/suicide-data-statistics.html
- Rosiek, A., Rosiek-Kryszewska, A., Leksowski, Ł., & Leksowski, K. (2016a). Chronic stress and suicidal thinking among medical students. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 13(2). https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph13020212
- Rosiek, A., Rosiek-Kryszewska, A., Leksowski, Ł., & Leksowski, K. (2016b). Chronic stress and suicidal thinking among medical students. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 13(2). https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph13020212
- Welcome to Governors State University in Chicago’s Southland. (n.d.). Governors State University. Retrieved September 26, 2022, from https://www.govst.edu/suicide-prevention/
- Disparities in suicide. (2022, August 5). CDC. https://www.cdc.gov/suicide/facts/disparities-in-suicide.html
- Warning signs of suicide. (n.d.-b). National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). Retrieved September 26, 2022, from https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/warning-signs-of-suicide