While there isn't a single cause of suicide, there are risk factors and warning signs that may increase likelihood of an attempt. Knowing what they are and how to help can save lives.
Help is available 24/7. Reach out now. Here are places to call, text, or go:
Depression and thoughts of suicide can impact a person's life in different ways. Not everyone experiences depression and suicidal tendencies the same way. Some people may have behavioral changes while others experience physical changes. These are some signs that may indicate someone is depressed or considering suicide:
Depression alone or in combination with substance abuse, aggressive behavior, and/or anxiety is found in over half the people who die by suicide. If depression is present, substance abuse, anxiety, impulsivity, and rage may significantly increase risk. Depression and substance abuse can be a particularly dangerous combination. Suicide may also be triggered by stressful events such as failing an exam, losing one's job, interpersonal loss, crises in significant relationships, and changes in body chemistry. These are some signs of acute risk:
If you notice any of the above warning signs in a friend or loved one, you have reason to be concerned. There are ways that you can be helpful to someone who is thinking of taking their life.
If someone is at imminent risk, call 911 or take the person to the nearest hospital emergency room. Ensure that the person is not left alone.
Consider options for restricting the person's access to lethal means such as firearms or pills. If there is a firearm present, police can remove it when they arrive. The Oregon State Police will place it in safe keeping (not with crime evidence). If the person does not want to relinquish their firearm, a gun lock can be obtained as described above.
While you are waiting for help to arrive, you can use the steps listed above for guidance. Allow the person to express their feelings. Listen. Offer kindness and words of encouragement.