Crisis Support

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

1-800-273-8255


Crisis Text Line

Text NAMI to 741-741 to connect with a trained crisis counselor to receive free, 24/7 crisis support via text message.


NAMI HelpLine

Call 1-800-950-NAMI (6264) M–F, 7 a.m.–3 p.m. PT for free mental health info, referrals and support.


Find a Local NAMI

Facts

75% of all people who die by suicide are male.

Although more women than men attempt suicide, men are nearly 4x more likely to die by suicide.

Suicide is the second leading cause of death for people ages 10-34 and the fourth leading cause of death for people 35-54

The overall suicide rate in the U.S. has increased by 31% since 2001

46% of people who die by suicide had a diagnosed mental health condition

While half of individuals who die by suicide have a diagnosed mental health condition, research shows that 90% experienced symptoms.

In 2017, suicide was:

– the second leading cause of death for American Indian/Alaska Natives between the ages of 10-34.

– the second leading cause of death for African Americans, ages 15-24.

– the leading cause of death for Asian Americans, ages 15-24.

– the second leading cause of death for Hispanic people in the U.S., ages 15-34.

American Indian/Alaska Native adults die by suicide at a rate 20% higher than non-Hispanic white adults.

Lesbian, gay and bisexual youth are four times more likely to attempt suicide than straight youth.

Transgender people are 12 times more likely to attempt suicide than the general population.

10% of young adults say they experienced suicidal thoughts in the past year.   (Facts via NAMI)

Warning Signs

  • Increased alcohol and drug use
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Withdrawal from friends, family and community
  • Dramatic mood swings
  • Impulsive or reckless behavior
  • Suicidal behaviors are a psychiatric emergency. If you or a loved one starts to take any of these steps, seek immediate help from a health care provider or call 911:
  • Collecting and saving pills or buying a weapon
  • Giving away possessions
  • Tying up loose ends, like organizing personal papers or paying off debts
  • Saying goodbye to friends and family

Know the Signs is an interactive tool to help loved ones recognize the signs of suicidal ideation, along with a helpful guide for talking to someone about suicide.

If you are unsure, a licensed mental health professional can help assess.

Risk Factors

Research has found that 46% of people who die by suicide had a known mental health condition. Several other things may put a person at risk of suicide, including:

  • A family history of suicide
  • Substance abuse. Drugs can create mental highs and lows that worsen suicidal thoughts.
  • Intoxication. More than 1 in 3 people who die from suicide are under the influence of alcohol at the time of death.
  • Access to firearms
  • A serious or chronic medical illness
  • Gender. Although more women than men attempt suicide, men are nearly 4 times more likely to die by suicide.
  • A history of trauma or abuse
  • Prolonged stress
  • A recent tragedy or loss

Help in a Crisis If You Are Feeling Suicidal

We want to make sure that you get the help you need.

Please know that you are not alone. There are many (free) resources (discussion groups, social media platforms, crisis hotlines, emotional support warmlines, etc.) where you can reach out to either talk with someone confidentially about your feelings and/or share and learn from others. And with psychotherapeutic and psychiatric treatments available, there is no reason for you to continue to suffer and be prevented from successful recovery to live a full and content life.

If ever you are concerned that you may be in danger of hurting yourself and are not able to stay safe, please do not hesitate to go the nearest emergency room or call 911 for help.

You can also contact The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255), which has trained crisis workers available 24/7 who will talk with you about your feelings and work with you to develop a plan for staying safe.

If communicating via text is a more comfortable approach, NAMI maintains a partnership with the Crisis Text Line, available 24/7 in the United States. You can reach the Crisis Text Line by texting NAMI to 741741 and a trained crisis worker will respond within minutes. The Crisis Text Line is a free, confidential service that is available 24/7 in the United States.

Speaking of Suicide.com is a website for individuals and their loved ones and survivors that provides extensive information on resources for help. In particular, the website provides extensive information in its Friends and Family section on how to talk with and help someone who is having suicidal thoughts.

Additional resources that may be of help:

American Association of Suicidology is a National clearinghouse/directory for suicide resources, statistics, etc. Maintains a support group finder for attempt survivors and loss survivors.

My 3 is a downloadable app recommended by the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline that creates a safety plan for those experiencing suicidal thoughts, including whom to contact when having suicidal ideation.

Now Matters Now is an online resource that provides support for coping with suicidal thoughts through teaching skills based on DBT; includes videos of personal stories.

The Buddy Project aims to prevent suicide and to provide self-harm alternatives by pairing teens through social media as buddies and raising awareness for mental health.

Help in a Crisis for a Loved One

  • If someone you know is imminent danger of hurting themselves or someone else, please do not hesitate to take them to the nearest emergency room or call 911 for help.
  • Loves ones, can contact The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255), which has trained crisis workers available 24/7 who can guide you through options to help your loved one with their thoughts of suicide.

Steps You Can Take to Help

When a suicide-related crisis occurs, friends and family are often caught off-guard, unprepared and unsure of what to do. The behaviors of a person experiencing a crisis can be unpredictable, changing dramatically without warning.

There are a few ways to approach a suicide-crisis:

  • Talk openly and honestly. Don’t be afraid to ask questions like: “Do you have a plan for how you would kill yourself?”
  • Remove means such as guns, knives or stockpiled pills
  • Calmly ask simple and direct questions, like “Can I help you call your psychiatrist?”
  • If there are multiple people around, have one person speak at a time
  • Express support and concern
  • Don’t argue, threaten or raise your voice
  • Don’t debate whether suicide is right or wrong
  • If you’re nervous, try not to fidget or pace
  • Be patient

Like any other health emergency, it’s important to address a mental health crisis like suicide quickly and effectively. Unlike other health emergencies, mental health crises don’t have instructions or resources on how to help or what to expect (like the Heimlich Maneuver or CPR). That’s why NAMI created Navigating a Mental Health Crisis: A NAMI Resource Guide for Those Experiencing a Mental Health Emergency, so people experiencing mental health emergencies and their loved ones can have the answers and information they need when they need it.

If your friend or family member struggles with suicidal ideation day-to-day, let them know that they can talk with you about what they’re going through. Make sure that you adopt an open and compassionate mindset when they’re talking. Instead of “arguing” or trying to disprove any negative statements they make (“Your life isn’t that bad!”), try active listening techniques such as reflecting their feelings and summarizing their thoughts. This can help your loved one feel heard and validated.

Let them know that mental health professionals are trained to help people understand their feelings and improve mental wellness and resiliency. Psychotherapy, like cognitive behavioral therapy and dialectical behavior therapy, can help a person with thoughts of suicide recognize ineffective patterns of thinking and behavior, validate their feelings and learn coping skills. Suicidal thoughts are a symptom, just like any other — they can be treated, and they can improve over time. Suicide is not the answer. There is hope.

Also: How to Ask Someone About Suicide (NAMI blog post)

More Resources

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention offers helpful guidance on how to help When Someone is at Risk.

Be the One to Help Save a Life (CDC)

Additionally, Speaking of Suicide.com is a website for individuals and their loved ones and survivors that provides extensive information on resources for help. In particular, the website provides extensive information in its Friends and Family section on how to talk with and help someone who is having suicidal thoughts.

Additional resources that may be of help:

American Association of Suicidology is a National clearinghouse/directory for suicide resources, statistics, etc. Maintains a support group finder for attempt survivors and loss survivors.

Know the Signs offers an interactive tool to help loved ones recognize the signs of suicidal ideation, along with a helpful guide for talking to someone about suicide.

My 3 is a downloadable app recommended by the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline that creates a safety plan for those experiencing suicidal thoughts, including whom to contact when having suicidal ideation.

Now Matters Now is an online resource that provides support for coping with suicidal thoughts through teaching skills based on DBT; includes videos of personal stories.

The Buddy Project aims to prevent suicide and to provide self-harm alternatives by pairing teens through social media as buddies and raising awareness for mental health.

More Sources for Mental Health Help

Guide to navigating a mental health crisis

Supporting Youth Mental Health (NAMI blog post)

Find your local NAMI California affiliate to find out about our free support groups, classes, and education programs

More from NAMI

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