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NIH MedlinePlus the Magazine, Trusted Health Information from the National Institutes of Health

Preventing Suicides

Who's at Risk?

Men are four times more likely than women to die from suicide. However, three times more women than men attempt suicide. In addition, suicide rates are highest among young people and those over age 65.

A Sad Soldier

Primary risk factors for suicide include:

  • Prior suicide attempt
  • Family history of mental disorders
  • Alcohol or other substance abuse
  • Family history of suicide
  • Family violence, including physical and/or sexual abuse
  • Firearms in the home (the method used in more than half of all suicides)

Warning Signs

If someone talks about suicide, you should take it seriously. Urge them to get help from their doctor or the emergency room, or call 911 or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (800-273-8255).

For members of the military and veterans, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs lists the primary warning signs as:

  • Thinking about hurting or killing yourself
  • Looking for ways to kill yourself
  • Talking about death, dying, or suicide
  • Self-destructive behavior, such as drug abuse

Family members and friends of members of the military or veterans who notice any of the following additional warning signs should help the individual seek help:

  • Expressing feelings of hopelessness, like there's no way out
  • Anxiety, agitation, sleeplessness, mood swings
  • Feeling that there is no reason to live
  • Rage or anger
  • Engaging in risky activities without thinking
  • Increasing alcohol or drug abuse
  • Withdrawing from family and friends
Read More "Preventing Suicides" Articles

Preventing Suicides in the Military / Who's at Risk? / Young People and Suicide—the College Scene

Winter 2010 Issue: Volume 5 Number 1 Page 6