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Suicide and Suicidal Behavior


Help for You

Talking with someone about your thoughts and feelings can save your life. There are steps you can take to keep yourself safe through a crisis. Call or text 988 any time or chat online with the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline to get support also find resources on:

  • Finding a therapist/support group
  • Building and using a support network
  • Making a safety plan for yourself

Help for Someone You Know

Learn how to recognize the warning signs when someone’s at risk—and what action steps you can take. If you believe someone may be in danger of suicide:

  • Call 911, if danger for self-harm seems imminent.
  • Call or text 988 to reach the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline to talk to a caring professional.
  • Ask them if they are thinking about killing themselves. This will not put the idea into their head or make it more likely that they will attempt suicide.
  • Listen without judging and show you care.
  • Stay with the person or make sure the person is in a private, secure place with another caring person until you can get further help.
  • Remove any objects that could be used in a suicide attempt.
  • Call or text 988 to reach the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline to talk to their professionals and follow their guidance.

Learn how to talk about mental health to help you speak to a loved one who you may think is experiencing any mental health concerns.

Warning Signs

The causes of suicide are complex and determined by multiple combinations of factors, such as mental illness, substance misuse, painful losses, exposure to violence, and social isolation.

Suicide Warning Signs for Adults

Suicide Warning Signs for Adults

Risk is greater if a behavior is new or has increased, and if it seems related to a painful event, loss, or change

  • Talking about or making plans for suicide.
  • Acting anxious or agitated; behaving recklessly.
  • Talking about being a burden to others.
  • Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain.
  • Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs.
  • Talking about feeling hopeless or having no reason to live
  • Sleeping too little or too much.
  • Withdrawing or feeling isolated.
  • Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge.
  • Displaying extreme mood swings.
Suicide Warning Signs for Youth

Suicide Warning Signs for Youth

It's time to take action if you notice these signs in family or friends:

  • Talking about or making plans for suicide.
  • Expressing hopelessness about the future.
  • Displaying severe/overwhelming emotional pain or distress.
  • Showing worrisome changes in behavior, particularly in combination with the warning signs above, including significant:
    • Withdrawal from or changing social connections/situations.
    • Changes in sleep (increased or decreased).
    • Anger or hostility that seems out of character or out of context.
    • Recent increased agitation or irritability.
About the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline

About the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline

The 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline is a free, confidential 24/7 phone line that connects individuals in crisis with trained counselors across the United States. There are also specialized lines for both Veterans and the LGBTQIA+ population.

You don’t have to be suicidal or in crisis to call the Lifeline. People call to talk about coping with lots of things: substance use, economic worries, relationships, sexual identity, illness, abuse, mental and physical illness, and loneliness. Here’s more about the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline:

  • You are not alone in reaching out. In 2021, the Lifeline received 3.6 million calls, chats, and texts.
  • The 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline is a network of more than 200 state and local call centers supported by HHS through SAMHSA.
  • Calls to the Lifeline are routed to the nearest crisis center for connections to local resources for help.
  • Responders are trained counselors who have successfully helped to prevent suicide ideation and attempts among callers.
  • Learn what happens when you call the Lifeline network.
  • Frequently asked questions about the Lifeline.

What We Know About Suicide in the U.S.

Suicide touches whole communities. Each person who dies by suicide leaves behind people who knew that person, along with the impact of suicide and the bereavement that follows.

Everyone has a role to play in preventing suicide. For instance, faith communities can work to prevent suicide simply by helping people navigate the struggles of life to find a sustainable sense of hope, meaning, and purpose in addition to encouraging individuals to engage in behavioral health care.

Losing a loved one to suicide can be profoundly painful for family and friends. SAMHSA’s Suicide Prevention Resource Center helps loss survivors find local and national organizations, websites, and other resources that provide support, healing, and a sense of community.

Need Help?

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988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline

Help for those strengthening their suicide prevention and mental health crisis services.

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SAMHSA's National Helpline

A free treatment referral and information service for individuals and families facing mental and/or substance use disorders.

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Suicide Prevention Resource Center (SPRC)

Designed to provide resources, programs, and trainings to those involved in suicide prevention.

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Millions of Americans have mental and substance use disorders.

Last Updated
Last Updated: 04/24/2023
Last Updated