More than 38,000 people in the United States die by suicide every year. It is the country’s 10th leading cause of death. There are more than 1,000 suicides a year on college campuses across the U.S. Suicide is often characterized as a response to a single event or set of circumstances. Suicide is real and occurring in our communities. The following information gives insight and support for friends and family.
Risk factors for Suicide:
Previous suicide attempts
Family history of suicide
Serious medical condition or extreme pain
Highly stressful life situation (i.e., losing someone close, a break-up, getting bullied, financial loss, or unemployment)
Access to lethal methods of suicide
Immediate access to weapons
Vulnerable states of mind such as intoxication or in times of crisis
These factors are associated with the prevention of suicidal behavior or thinking:
- Coping or problems solving skills
- Support through ongoing health or mental health care
- Family or friends that provide a sense of belonging and genuine care
- Access to resources and encouragement to seek help or support
- The ability for others to recognize and respond to signs of risk
- Reasons for living
How can you help someone?
If you know someone whom you think may be suicidal, show that you care by:
Listening to them with sincere concern for their feelings. Do not offer advice, but let them know that they are not alone.
Share your feelings with them. If you feel that they may make a reckless decision, tell them that you are concerned. They need to know that they are important to you and that you care.
Inquire if they have had suicidal thoughts or if they have made a suicide plan in a straightforward and caring manner. If you feel you cannot ask the question, find someone who can.
Myths about Suicide
Myth: People who talk about suicide don’t kill themselves.
Fact: People who think or talk about suicide are expressing their pain to others in an effort to receive compassion. Most suicidal people will admit to their feelings if questioned directly. Don’t let the moment pass, take their comments seriously.
Myth: Discussing suicide may cause someone to consider doing it or make their situation worse.
Fact: Most suicidal people are truthful and relieved when you ask about their feelings. Asking someone if they’re suicidal will not give them an idea that they haven’t already thought about. If you suspect a friend or loved one is thinking or talking about suicide, tell them you want to help. Be
non-judgmental and open, this makes sharing easier.
Myth: Telling someone to “cheer up” or “you’ll get over it” usually helps.
Fact: Trying to cheer someone up or minimizing their situation only makes them feel more misunderstood and ashamed of their thoughts or feelings. It’s important to listen and take them seriously.
Myth: There’s nothing you can do to help someone who really wants to die.
Fact: People who think about suicide don’t really want their lives to end, they just want the pain to stop. Your support could be the most important lifeline to a friend or loved one.
Seek help as soon as possible by contacting a mental health professional or by calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK if you or someone you know exhibits any of the following signs:
- Threatening to hurt or kill oneself or talking about wanting to hurt or kill oneself
- Looking for ways to kill oneself by seeking access to firearms, available pills, or other means
- Talking or writing about death, dying or suicide when these actions are out of the ordinary for the person
- Feeling hopeless, feeling rage or uncontrolled anger or seeking revenge
- Acting reckless or engaging in risky activities-seemingly without thinking
- Feeling trapped-like there’s no way out
- Increasing alcohol or drug use
- Withdrawing from friends, family, and society
- Feeling anxious or agitated being unable to sleep, or sleeping all the time
- Experiencing dramatic mood changes
- Seeing no reason for living or having no sense of purpose in life
NMHU Campus Violence Prevention Program
NMHU Campus Police
NM Crisis & Access Line
1.855.662.7474 (24 hrs crisis)
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
(Offers Specialized Services for Veterans)
1.800.273.8255 (24 hrs crisis)
New Mexico Behavioral Health
Institute Community Based Services
505.425.1048 (24 hrs crisis)
Crisis Response Hotline of Santa Fe
Suicide Prevention Chat Line
Participants at the 2nd Annual Out of the Darkness Run for Suicide Awareness Month