Recognize the signs. Know what to do.
- Mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety or bipolar disorder
- Drug or alcohol abuse
- Previous suicide attempt
- Stressful live events such as loss of job, death in family, or relationship problems
- Prolonged stress factors such as harassment, bullying, or unemployment
- Access to firearms, drugs or other lethal means
- Family history of suicide
- Chronic health conditions/pain
- Giving away of personal items or saying goodbye to others
- Withdrawal from family or friends
- Talking or writing about suicide or death
- Getting affairs in order (paying debt, changing wills)
- Depressed, sadness, loss of interest
- Desperate comments about being a burden, feeling trapped, no reason to live
- Increased alcohol or drug use
- Self-harm behaviors (eg, cutting, risky behaviors)
- Newly attained weapon or medication
- Erratic sleep patterns
- Moods of irritability, anxiousness, anger and/or humiliation.
If someone talks about or exhibits behaviors that make you suspect the person is suicidal, follow these steps.
- Take it seriously.
- Talk to the person. Listen and show compassion. “I know you’ve had a hard time lately, how are you holding up?”
- Ask, “Are you thinking about hurting yourself?”.
- If you feel the person is suicidal, do not leave them alone. Remove all possible lethal means from the area (including firearms and medications).
- Refer the person to help (National suicide support: www.SuicidePreventionLifeline.org; Seattle-King County: www.CrisisClinic.org)
- Get help: If they don’t or can’t contact someone, do it for them.
King County Suicide Rates by Age Group and Gender, 1999-2014 (per 100,000; CDC)
King County Suicide Rates, per 100,000, 1999 - 2014 (CDC)