It’s Time to Get Talking About Suicide
Suicide is often viewed as a taboo or awkward topic of conversation. It’s time that we change that. In fact, lives depend on it.
Each year, over 800,000 people die by suicide. That’s one person every 40 seconds around the world.(*) While this statistic can be jarring, what is even more surprising is the number of people who are unaware of the devastating impact suicide has.
With changes in the way kids talk to one another, consume mainstream media, and interact with the world around them – bullying, poor self-image, and feelings of isolation are on the rise. Now more than ever, it’s time to make suicide a topic of discussion.
Why Does Mental Health Matter?
Mental health is the overall wellness of how you think and regulate your feelings and behaviors. Mental health problems can start in children as early as 4 years of age and can present well into teens and adulthood.
Mental health issues in children can disrupt their ability to function well in their day-to-day life. It can be hard for parents to identify these mental health issues but keeping a pulse on your child’s emotions early on may prevent future mental health issues for them.
More than just keeping a pulse on things, you can be your child’s best advocate when it comes to their mental well being. Working with their care provider to identify and manage their mental health conditions early on can set them up for a positive future outcome.
What Should I look For?
As a parent or friend, there are warning signs you can look for in your friends, children, and other loved ones to get them help when they need it most. See some of the signs to look out for below.
Parents, one of the keys to making sure you can see the warning signs of mental health issues and suicidal tendencies in your child keeping the lines of communication open. Checking in early and often will reassure them that you are there to help.
Here are some things to watch out for in your children:
- Persistent sadness, especially lasting 2 or more weeks
- Avoiding social interactions
- Desire to skip/avoid school
- Hurting oneself or talking about hurting oneself
- Talking about death or suicide regularly
- Out-of-control behavior that can be harmful
- Drastic changes in mood, behavior, or personality
- Changes in eating habits
- Difficulty sleeping
- Changes in academic performance
- Outbursts or extreme irritability
Teens, checking in on your friends is critical to helping prevent suicide. Even if the conversation feels uncomfortable, it is certainly worth having. Here are some things to look out for in your friends
- Depressed or sad mood
- Disinterested in the things that used to interest them
- Talking about feeling worthless
- Giving Away personal Items
- Talking about suicide
- Talking about suicide
- Lack of sleep
- Not interested in spending time with friends
- Struggling in school
- Having a hard time with parent relationships.
Tools for Talking
We want you to be armed with tools for talking about suicide and mental health. Below you’ll find a selection of table topics for talking to your kids or friends. Also, you might find our mental health checklist helpful for providing coping mechanisms to your friends or children.
Use These Table Topics to Get Started
Need some topics to get the conversation started?
Try these table topics and use them as a way to break the ice.
- How was your day at school today?
- Have you been feeling any emotions that don’t feel good?
- Have you noticed any changes in your mood?
- Do you know what is bothering you?
- Have you been having trouble sleeping?
- How are your friends? Are any of them having a hard time?
- Is there anything going on in your life that I should know about?
- Can I do anything to help you?
- You seem withdrawn lately, can I help?
- I’m thinking about getting some coffee, can I bring you some?
- Has anything happened at school that I can help with?
Download a Mental Health Checklist Now
Here is an easy checklist to encourage your children or friends to take a pause and take care of themselves.Download Checklist
10 Ways to Reach Out Without Saying “How are you?”
- Send them something that reminds you of them
- Tell them you miss them
- Ask their opinion about something
- Remind them they are not alone
- Ask if you can help them with anything
- Ask about a recent post they made
- Acknowledge that they have been struggling
- Share what they mean to you
- Send them a playlist
- Send them a book you love
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
The Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones, and best practices for professionals. If you’re thinking about suicide, are worried about a friend or loved one, or would like emotional support, the Lifeline network is available 24/7 across the United States. You can call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or chat. https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/
Crisis Text Line
Text Line is free, 24/7 support for those in crisis. Text 741741 from anywhere in the U.S. to text with a trained Crisis Counselor. Crisis Text Line trains volunteers to support people in crisis. With over 79 million messages processed to date, they are growing quickly, but so is the need. https://www.crisistextline.org/
The Trevor Project is the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning (LGBTQ) young people under 25. The Trevor Lifeline is a crisis intervention and suicide prevention phone service available 24/7 at 1-866-488-7386. TrevorText is available by texting “START” to 678678. https://www.thetrevorproject.org/get-help-now/
TrevorSpace is an online international peer-to-peer community for LGBTQ young people and their friends. https://www.trevorspace.org/
Trans Lifeline is a national trans-led 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to improving the quality of trans lives by responding to the critical needs of our community with direct service, material support, advocacy, and education. Fighting the epidemic of trans suicide and improving overall life-outcomes of trans people the Trans Lifeline facilitates justice-oriented, collective community aid. Their peer support hotline is run by and for trans people. The line is available daily from 7 a.m.–1 a.m. PST / 9 a.m.–3 a.m. CST / 10 a.m.–4 a.m. EST. Volunteers may be available during off hours. Call 877-565-8860 to speak to someone now. https://translifeline.org/
Veterans Crisis Line
The Veterans Crisis Line is a free, confidential resource that’s available to anyone, even if you’re not registered with VA or enrolled in VA health care. The caring, qualified responders at the Veterans Crisis Line are specially trained and experienced in helping veterans of all ages and circumstances; many of the responders are veterans themselves. If you’re a veteran in crisis or concerned about one, there are caring, qualified VA responders standing by to help 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Call 1-800-273-8255 and press 1 or text 838255. https://www.veteranscrisisline.net/
Students have access to support 24/7 by calling (602)248-8336 (TEEN). To address additional needs and changed schedules during the pandemic, Teen Lifeline has also expanded the hours teens can text the hotline rather than calling. They can text to the same number from noon to 9PM Monday through Friday, or from 3PM to 9PM Saturday and Sunday. Teen Lifeline also has many other resources on their website including help for parents and help for teens. https://teenlifeline.org/
24 Hour Crisis Mobile Team
Staff provides services including crisis assessment, intervention, counseling, information and referrals, linkage with appropriate mental health services for ongoing treatment, and follow up. Call the Crisis Mobile Team at (866) 495-6735.
Crisis Response Network
Trained crisis intervention specialists are available around the clock, every day of the year, to help over the phone. If your crisis cannot be solved over the phone, CRN may dispatch mobile clinicians to meet you where you are. Call CRN at 602-222-9444.
International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP)
IASP is dedicated to preventing suicidal behavior, alleviating its effects and providing a forum for academics, mental health professionals, crisis workers, volunteers and suicide survivors. IASP now includes professionals and volunteers from more than fifty different countries. IASP is a Non-Governmental Organization concerned with suicide prevention. Call the USA Hopeline at 1-800-784-2433.
Suicide/Crisis Hotlines by County
Pima County — 1-800-796-6762 • 520-622-6000
Gila River/Ak-Chin Indian Community — 1-800-259-3449
Mohave, Coconino, Apache, Navajo and Yavapai Counties — 1-877-756-4090
SAMHSA’s Suicide Prevention Resource Center
SAMHSA’s SPRC provides accurate data, up-to-date research, and knowledge of effective strategies and interventions that are essential to our ability to prevent suicide. Find programs, toolkits, fact sheets, and other resources to help you take effective action. https://www.sprc.org/resources-programs
The foundational belief of Zero Suicide is that suicide deaths for individuals under the care of health and behavioral health systems are preventable. For systems dedicated to improving patient safety, Zero Suicide presents an aspirational challenge and practical framework for system-wide transformation toward safer suicide care. https://zerosuicide.edc.org/
#BeThe1To is the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline’s message for National Suicide Prevention Month and beyond, spreading the word about actions we can all take to prevent suicide. The Lifeline network and its partners are working to change the conversation from suicide to suicide prevention, to actions that can promote healing, help and give hope. Together, we can prevent suicide by learning to help ourselves, help others, seek consultation from trained providers (hotlines and clinicians) and to seek hospital care when necessary. https://www.bethe1to.com/
National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention
The National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention (Action Alliance) is the nation’s public-private partnership for suicide prevention. The Action Alliance works with more than 250 national partners to advance the National Strategy for Suicide Prevention. Current priority areas include: transforming health systems, transforming communities, and changing the conversation. https://theactionalliance.org/
American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
AFSP is dedicated to saving lives and bringing hope to those affected by suicide. AFSP creates a culture that’s smart about mental health by engaging in the following core strategies: Funding scientific research, educating the public about mental health and suicide prevention, advocating for public policies in mental health and suicide prevention and supporting survivors of suicide loss and those affected by suicide in our mission.
The mission of Resilient Arizona CCP is to assist individuals and communities in recovering from the psychological effects of the Coronavirus pandemic through community-based outreach, emotional support and educational services. Services are provided at no cost and are available to anyone who has been impacted by the pandemic.
World Health Organization Resource
The Department of Child Safety is here to support you in conversations surrounding suicide and mental health. You can reach out at any time to the National Childhelp Hotline at 1-800-422-4453 or the National Suicide Prevention Line at 1-800-273-8255. If you are a teen in need of assistance, you can dial the Teen Lifeline at any time: 1-800-248-TEEN (8336).
Texting services available- 1-602-248-TEEN (8336)