Suicide PreventionLearn the warning signs and how to help suicidal individuals
Who is at risk for suicide?
Men are at a higher risk for suicide compared to females; however females are more likely to attempt suicide. Older adult males especially have some of the highest rates of suicide in our state.
In Utah, one older adult aged 65+ dies from suicide every week. Utahns aged 85+ were also more likely to report thoughts of hurting themselves or that they would be better off dead than other age groups.
Many adults who have died by suicide had a diagnosed mental illness. Approximately 1 in 15 Utah adults have had serious thoughts of suicide. Most, but not all, people who die by suicide exhibit warning signs. Knowing the warning signs is a really important piece of suicide prevention.
What are some of the risk factors for suicide, especially among older adults?
There are often age-specific circumstances and stressors surrounding suicide deaths. Older adults who died by suicide were more likely to suffer from physical health problems than other age groups. Risk factors may also include:
- social isolation
- alcohol or substance use disorders
- history of depression or mental illness
- job/financial/relationship loss.
We know that protective factors such as access to effective care, restricted access to highly lethal means (like drugs or firearms), and strong family or community support lessen the chance that someone will attempt or die from suicide.
What are some of the warning signs for suicide?
Some warning signs for immediate risk include threatening to hurt or kill oneself; actively seeking access to lethal means such as firearms; or talking or writing about death, dying, or suicide. In these cases, you should call 9-1-1.
Some additional warning signs include feeling that there’s no reason for living or no sense of purpose in life; anxiety or sleep disturbances; hopelessness; withdrawal from friends and family; rage or uncontrolled anger; reckless behavior or engaging in risky activities; dramatic mood changes; and increased substance use.
What can you do to help someone who is suicidal?
A lot of people may feel that they can’t or shouldn’t talk about suicide or that if they bring up suicide with someone that it may encourage the behavior, but that’s not the case. Asking about suicide may be the best thing you can do. Listen and let them know that there is hope.
What else should we know?
Suicide is preventable and everyone can play a role in suicide prevention. Definitely visit utahsuicideprevention.org, to learn more.
Is there a number people can call for help?
If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, help is available 24/7 by calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline or the UNI CrisisLine. If someone is showing signs of immediate risk, call 9-1-1.