are feeling suicidal or know someone who is, please call
1.800.SUICIDE (784-2433) or please
The Forever Decision.
could chat with someone here ...
Confidential, anonymous on-line chat for
support in a difficult time. A place to talk about any
type of problem or stress, including family or relationship
problems, depression, anxiety, thoughts of suicide or if you
are worried about a friend. Crisis Chat specialists
will listen without judgment and help you figure out your
For the Prevention of Suicide
and Depression Awareness for Students
Know the warning signs.
Five Warning Signs for Depression in Teens:
sadness or hopelessness,
often accompanied by anxiety.
pleasure/interest in social and sports activities.
little or too much.
weight or appetite.
Three Steps Parents Can Take:
child help (medical or mental health professional).
child (listen, avoid undue criticism, remain connected).
informed (library, local support group, Internet).
Four Steps Teens Can Take:
friend's actions seriously.
your friend to seek professional help, accompany if
Talk to an
adult you trust. Don't be alone in helping your friend.
Someone, Tell Anyone.
We need to get help for your friend ASAP.
Seeking Professional Help
You can make a difference by helping those in need find a
knowledgeable mental health professional.
For clinical referrals, contact the American Psychological
Association at 1-800-964-2000, or visit their website at
then click on "Find a Psychologist."
For a psychiatric referral, contact the American Psychiatric
Association at (202) 682-6325 or go to the website at
click on "Public Information," then click on "Choosing a
For a crisis hotline directory, go to the American
Association of Suicidology (AAS) website at
call the First Call Crisis Hot Line (for Vermont) -
In An Acute Crisis...
Call 911 or take the person to an emergency room or walk-in
clinic at a psychiatric hospital. Do not leave the person
alone until help is available.
For More Information:
Call the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention at
1-888-333-AFSP, or visit
help a suicidal friend
- Take it
Myth: “The people who talk about it don't do it.”
Studies have found that more than 75% of all completed
suicides did things in the few weeks or months prior to
their deaths to indicate to others that they were in
deep despair. Anyone expressing suicidal feelings needs
immediate attention.Myth: “Anyone who tries to kill
himself has got to be crazy.” Perhaps 10% of all
suicidal people are psychotic or have delusional beliefs
about reality. Most suicidal people suffer from the
recognized mental illness of depression; but many
depressed people adequately manage their daily affairs.
The absence of “craziness” does not mean the absence of
“Those problems weren't enough to commit suicide
over,” is often said by people who knew a completed
suicide. You cannot assume that because you feel
something is not worth being suicidal about, that the
person you are with feels the same way. It is not how
bad the problem is, but how badly it's hurting the
person who has it.
Remember: suicidal behavior is a cry for help.
Myth: “If a someone is going to kill himself,
nothing can stop him.” The fact that a person is
still alive is sufficient proof that part of him wants
to remain alive. The suicidal person is ambivalent -
part of him wants to live and part of him wants not so
much death as he wants the pain to end. It is the part
that wants to live that tells another “I feel suicidal.”
If a suicidal person turns to you it is likely that he
believes that you are more caring, more informed about
coping with misfortune, and more willing to protect his
confidentiality. No matter how negative the manner and
content of his talk, he is doing a positive thing and
has a positive view of you.
willing to give and get help sooner rather than later.
Suicide prevention is not a last minute activity. All
textbooks on depression say it should be reached as soon
as possible. Unfortunately, suicidal people are afraid
that trying to get help may bring them more pain: being
told they are stupid, foolish, sinful, or manipulative;
rejection; punishment; suspension from school or job;
written records of their condition; or involuntary
commitment. You need to do everything you can to reduce
pain, rather than increase or prolong it. Constructively
involving yourself on the side of life as early as
possible will reduce the risk of suicide.
Give the person every opportunity to unburden his
troubles and ventilate his feelings. You don't need to
say much and there are no magic words. If you are
concerned, your voice and manner will show it. Give him
relief from being alone with his pain; let him know you
are glad he turned to you. Patience, sympathy,
acceptance. Avoid arguments and advice giving.
“Are you having thoughts of suicide?”
Myth: “Talking about it may give someone the
idea.” People already have the idea; suicide is
constantly in the news media. If you ask a despairing
person this question you are doing a good thing for
them: you are showing him that you care about him, that
you take him seriously, and that you are willing to let
him share his pain with you. You are giving him further
opportunity to discharge pent up and painful feelings.
If the person is having thoughts of suicide, find out
how far along his ideation has progressed.
the person is acutely suicidal, do not leave him alone.
If the means are present, try to get rid of them.
Detoxify the home.
Persistence and patience may be needed to seek,
engage and continue with as many options as possible. In
any referral situation, let the person know you care and
want to maintain contact.
It is the part of the person that is afraid of more
pain that says “Don't tell anyone.” It is the part that
wants to stay alive that tells you about it. Respond to
that part of the person and persistently seek out a
mature and compassionate person with whom you can review
the situation. (You can get outside help and still
protect the person from pain causing breaches of
privacy.) Do not try to go it alone. Get help for the
person and for yourself. Distributing the anxieties and
responsibilities of suicide prevention makes it easier
and much more effective.
crisis to recovery.
Most people have suicidal thoughts or feelings at
some point in their lives; yet less than 2% of all
deaths are suicides. Nearly all suicidal people suffer
from conditions that will pass with time or with the
assistance of a recovery program. There are hundreds of
modest steps we can take to improve our response to the
suicidal and to make it easier for them to seek help.
Taking these modest steps can save many lives and reduce
a great deal of human suffering.
Conditions associated with increased risk of suicide
- Death or terminal illness of relative or
- Divorce, separation, broken relationship,
stress on family.
- Loss of health (real or imaginary).
- Loss of job, home, money, status,
self-esteem, personal security.
- Depression. In the young depression may be
masked by hyperactivity or acting out behavior.
In the elderly it may be incorrectly attributed
to the natural effects of aging. Depression that
seems to quickly disappear for no apparent
reason is cause for concern. The early stages of
recovery from depression can be a high risk
period. Recent studies have associated anxiety
disorders with increased risk for attempted
and behavioral changes associated with suicide
- Overwhelming Pain: pain that threatens to
exceed the person's pain coping capacities.
Suicidal feelings are often the result of
longstanding problems that have been exacerbated
by recent precipitating events. The
precipitating factors may be new pain or the
loss of pain coping resources.
- Hopelessness: the feeling that the pain will
continue or get worse; things will never get
- Powerlessness: the feeling that one's
resources for reducing pain are exhausted.
- Feelings of worthlessness, shame, guilt,
self-hatred, “no one cares”. Fears of losing
control, harming self or others.
- Personality becomes sad, withdrawn, tired,
apathetic, anxious, irritable, or prone to angry
- Declining performance in school, work, or
other activities. (Occasionally the reverse:
someone who volunteers for extra duties because
they need to fill up their time.)
- Social isolation; or association with a
group that has different moral standards than
those of the family.
- Declining interest in sex, friends, or
activities previously enjoyed.
- Neglect of personal welfare, deteriorating
- Alterations in either direction in sleeping
or eating habits.
- (Particularly in the elderly)
Self-starvation, dietary mismanagement,
disobeying medical instructions.
- Difficult times: holidays, anniversaries,
and the first week after discharge from a
hospital; just before and after diagnosis of a
major illness; just before and during
disciplinary proceedings. Undocumented status
adds to the stress of a crisis.
- Previous suicide attempts, “mini-attempts”.
- Explicit statements of suicidal ideation or
- Development of suicidal plan, acquiring the
means, “rehearsal” behavior, setting a time for
- Self-inflicted injuries, such as cuts,
burns, or head banging.
- Reckless behavior. (Besides suicide, other
leading causes of death among young people in
New York City are homicide, accidents, drug
overdose, and AIDS.) Unexplained accidents among
children and the elderly.
- Making out a will or giving away favorite
- Inappropriately saying goodbye.
- Verbal behavior that is ambiguous or
indirect: “I'm going away on a real long trip.”,
“You won't have to worry about me anymore.”, “I
want to go to sleep and never wake up.”, “I'm so
depressed, I just can't go on.”, “Does God
punish suicides?”, “Voices are telling me to do
bad things.”, requests for euthanasia
information, inappropriate joking, stories or
essays on morbid themes.
ABOUT WARNING SIGNS
of the population at any one time does not have many of the
warning signs and has a lower suicide risk rate. But a lower
rate in a larger population is still a lot of people - and
many completed suicides had only a few of the conditions
listed above. In a one person to another person situation,
all indications of suicidality need to be taken seriously