Suicide Is a Mental Health Crisis We Can Address Now

Learn the warning signs of suicide and prevention resources can make a huge difference.

Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States, but it's also one of the most preventable. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), suicide prevention is multifaceted; there's no one thing you should or shouldn't be doing. Economic factors such as household financial security, an increase in health insurance coverage for mental health needs, feelings of connection within an individual's community, and stronger identification of those at risk, among other things, all work together to reduce suicide risks nationwide. 

These solutions may sound impossible, but the power of one person can make a meaningful difference in another's life. One of the most effective l actions you can take today is to familiarize  yourself with suicide warning signs, risk factors, and learn how to approach more difficult conversations with loved ones.


Risk factors, according to the CDC, include:

  • Family history of suicide
  • Family history of child maltreatment
  • Previous suicide attempt(s)
  • History of mental disorders, particularly clinical depression
  • History of alcohol and substance abuse
  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Impulsive or aggressive tendencies
  • Cultural and religious beliefs (e.g., belief that suicide is noble resolution of a personal dilemma)
  • Local epidemics of suicide
  • Isolation, a feeling of being cut off from other people
  • Barriers to accessing mental health treatment
  • Loss (relational, social, work, or financial)
  • Physical illness
  • Easy access to lethal methods
  • Unwillingness to seek help because of the stigma attached to mental health and substance abuse disorders or to suicidal thoughts

Suicide Warning Signs Include:

  • 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 Resources 

Season 11 of The Dr. Oz Show is all about the power of one person making a difference. An excellent suicide prevention resource that echoes this sentiment is BeThe1To.com. It provides five actionable steps anyone can take to help prevent suicide, including asking difficult questions like, "How do you hurt?" or "How can I help?" and listening to someone's needs who may be in crisis. You can read more about the five action steps on their resource website.

If you or a loved one is exhibiting any of these warning signs, here are additional resources that can help: 

Exactly How to De-Escalate Aggression From a Stranger

Follow security Expert Bill Staton's important advice to keep yourself safe.

Have you ever had a tense interaction with a stranger in public? Perhaps your shopping carts accidentally knocked into each other or there was a misunderstanding in communication and the other person gets angry. You may wonder how you can de-escalate the aggression and exit the situation safely. So security expert Bill Stanton has your go-to advice for staying alert and protecting yourself in the face of verbal aggression and physical attacks.

THE INITIAL INTERACTION

Bill Stanton: "It always starts with something small, like someone being too close to you, or even more common, you get bumped by a shopping cart. You want to look at their eyes first -it may reveal emotional changes. But you can't rely on just that. Look at what their trunk is doing; a person's torso will reveal their intent. Body language like raising hands, heightened expression, tense shoulders — these are natural responses to a person who is feeling threatened and will escalate. They may begin to zero in on the space between you and them, and their voice will get louder and louder. You want to read this before it gets further and becomes explosive."

Keep Reading Show less