Suicide Prevention: Know the Signs

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While we observe Suicide Prevention Month in September, suicide is a topic we need to be talking about every month of the year.

According to a recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suicide is a serious public health problem that affects people of all ages. In fact,

  • Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death for Americans overall and the second leading cause of death among young people aged 10–34.

  • Suicide rates increased more than 30 percent in half of states since 1999.

  • In 2016, nearly 45,000 lives were lost to suicide across the United States.

And, deaths from suicide are only part of the problem.

  • More than 1.3 million adults self-reported a suicide attempt.

  • Almost 10 million adults self-reported serious thoughts of suicide.

To help prevent suicide, one of the most important steps we all can take is to know the signs that someone is in pain and may need help. The signs may be subtle, but they will appear through conversation, actions, and/ or social media posts. In particular, be aware if someone is

  • Talking about death or suicide

  • Increasing alcohol or drug use

  • Exhibiting uncontrolled anger

For older adults, additional signs include someone seeking ways to self harm, a preoccupation with death, and/ or withdrawal from daily life.

For teens, changes in sleep patterns, withdrawal, and/ or reckless behavior should be warning flags.

Should you notice one of more of these warning signs in a friend, loved one, co-worker, or acquaintance—especially if the behavior is new, increasing, or seems related to a traumatic event —please speak up.

To learn more and for additional resources, please visit

To reach out for help, please reach out to these 24/7 crisis hotlines:

  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)

  • National Crisis Text Line: Text “Home” to 741741

  • San Mateo County/ StarVista Crisis Hotline: 650-579-0350

  • Butte County Behavioral Health Crisis Line (Butte County): 1-800-334-6622 or 530-891-2810

  • Solano County Crisis Line: 707-428-1131

  • San Francisco Suicide Prevention Crisis Line: 415-781-0500 or 1-800-273-8255

  • Santa Clara County Suicide & Crisis Hotline: 1-855-278-4204