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Suicide Prevention FAQs

AFSP lists U.S. and international suicide bereavement support groups as a public service to loss survivors. We do not run, recommend, endorse or fund any of the groups listed.

What are the warning signs of suicide?

Generally, changes in behavior or the presence of new behaviors can indicate that a person may be thinking of suicide, especially if these behaviors are related to feelings of pain or loss.

Warning signs may be exhibited verbally through statements a person makes or through their behaviors or mood.

Are certain people at a higher risk for suicide?

The presence of certain risk factors can increase a person’s suicide risk. Risk factors may be health-related, environmental, and historical. Some risk factors include family history of trauma, mental health conditions like depression and other mood disorders, and access to lethal means. There are also many factors that can help protect people from suicide. These protective factors can include having access to behavioral health care, connectedness to family and community, sense of purpose or meaning in life, and cultural and personal beliefs that promote life.

Does talking to someone make them think about suicide?

No, talking about suicide with someone will not cause them to become suicidal. Having an honest conversation with compassion and without judgment will show your loved one that you care about them. If someone survives a suicide attempt, does that mean they weren’t serious or it wasn’t a real attempt? Any self-harm with the intent to die should be taken seriously, and survivors should be supported. There are many resources available to help support someone after their suicide attempt.

What if my friend doesn’t want to get help?

It’s important to listen to your friend’s concerns. They may have had past negative experiences with healthcare providers. Remind them that treatments are updated often, and that not all healthcare providers are the same; it’s worth trying again. Offer to go with them when appropriate. You can at least provide the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline number (1-800-273-TALK) and the Crisis Text Line number (Text TALK to 741-741). Aside from encouraging your friend to seek help, continue to be a kind, caring person in their life. Offer to provide appropriate support like running an errand for them or bringing them a meal. 

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