Hope for suicide prevention through action

Suicide claimed the lives of almost 46,000 people in the United States in 2020.[1] It is the second leading cause of death for children aged 10–14 and adults aged 35–44, and the third leading cause of death for young people aged 15–24.[1]

Now is the time to raise awareness and reduce the stigma surrounding suicide. Learn more about the warning signs and what you can do if you suspect someone is thinking about suicide. Be the one to save a life.

Know the warning signs

  • Hopelessness
  • A negative view of self
  • Aggressiveness and irritability
  • Making suicide threats
  • Increased alcohol or drug use
  • Withdrawing from friends, family and society
  • Trouble sleeping or sleeping all the time
  • Changes in mood or behavior
  • Feeling like a burden to others and giving things away

Take time to reach out

You can help give someone hope by showing that you care. Notice what is going on with people in your life—a family member, friend, colleague or even a stranger. By stepping closer and reaching out, you can become aware of those around you who may need help. You do not need to tell them what to do or have solutions. Simply making the time and space to listen to someone talk about their experiences of distress or suicidal thoughts can help.

Don’t be afraid to ask someone if they are suicidal

You may not think it is your place to intervene, you may be afraid of not knowing what to say and/or you may be worried about making the situation worse. Offering support can reduce distress, not worsen it. When someone is upset, they are often not looking for specific advice. What you can do is listen without judgment, be compassionate, and know about resources to get help like the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline (call, text or chat).

Additional suicide prevention resources and webinar recording

If you missed our live webinar, “The role of mental health recovery in suicide prevention,” on September 22, you can still access the recording to hear the inspiring recovery story from Stacey Volz, CPRP, CPS, Magellan Healthcare family support coordinator and a person who lives with mental health challenges and has lived through multiple suicide attempts. I was also on the panel and shared my knowledge and professional experience in addressing mental health and substance use challenges to prevent suicide, along with Andrew Sassani, MD, Magellan Healthcare chief medical officer, California, HAI and MHS, and Samuel Williams, MD, MBA, FAPA, Magellan Healthcare medical director.

Visit Magellanhealthcare.com/Prevent-Suicide for more information and materials to learn more and spread awareness about suicide prevention.


[1] National Institute of Mental Health, “Suicide” information

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