According to a study, researchers determined that the U.S. suicide rate is increasing in almost every state. Suicide is listed as a leading cause of death in the report, and more than half the people who died by suicide did not have a known mental health condition. The CDC says "other problems contribute to suicide, such as those related to relationships; substance use; physical health; and job, money, legal or housing stress."

When someone says they are thinking about suicide or makes comments that sound as if he or she is considering suicide, it's upsetting. You may not be sure what to do to help. You might wonder if you should take talk of suicide seriously, or if your intervention might worsen the situation. Taking action is always the best choice. 

Suicidal Thoughts

The first step is to find out whether the person is in danger of acting on suicidal feelings. Be sensitive, but ask direct questions, such as:

1. How are you coping with what's been happening in your life?

2. Do you ever feel like just giving up?

3. Are you thinking about dying?

4. Are you thinking about hurting yourself?

5. Do you think about suicide?

6. Have you ever thought about suicide before, or tried to harm yourself before?

7. Have you thought about how or when you'd do it?

Asking about suicidal thoughts or feelings won't push someone into doing something self-destructive. Rather, offering an opportunity to talk about feelings may reduce the risk of acting on suicidal feelings.

When a loved one or friend is considering suicide. But here are some common signs:

1. Getting the means to take their own life, such as buying a gun or stockpiling pills

2. Withdrawing from social contact and wanting to be left alone

3. Having mood swings, such as being emotionally high one day and deeply discouraged the next day

4. Being preoccupied with death, dying or violence

5. Changing normal routine, including eating or sleeping patterns

6. Doing risky or self-destructive things, such as using drugs or driving recklessly

For immediate help If someone has attempted suicide:

1. Don't leave the person alone.

2. Call 911 or your local emergency number right away. Or if you think you can do so safely, take the person to the nearest hospital emergency department yourself.

3. Try to find out if he or she is under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or may have overdosed.

4. Tell a family member or friend right away what's going on.

A suicidal or severely depressed person may not have the energy or motivation to find help. If the person doesn't want to consult a healthcare provider, suggest finding help from a support group, crisis center, faith community, teacher or other trusted person. 

When someone is suicidal, it seems as if nothing will make things better. Reassure the person that with appropriate treatment, he or she can develop other ways to cope and can feel better about life again. Encourage the person to avoid alcohol and drug use. They are not responsible for preventing someone from taking his or her own life, but your intervention may help the person see that other options are available to stay safe and get treatment.