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Every September, mental health organizations across the country recognize Suicide Prevention Awareness Month as a time to increase awareness, share resources, and spread hope. Suicide affects everyone, regardless of age, race, socioeconomic status, or gender identity. As a community mental health provider for people of all ages, Independence Health and Therapy urges everyone to read up on the warning signs and develop a mental health crisis plan for their loved ones.

Suicidal thoughts or ideations should be discussed with a mental health professional immediately. Often these thoughts are a result of an undiagnosed or unaddressed mental health condition. A mental health professional will work to identify and address these conditions before they develop into a crisis situation. Psychotherapy, like cognitive behavioral therapy and dialectical behavior therapy, can help a person with thoughts of suicide recognize ineffective patterns of thinking and behavior, validate their feelings and learn positive coping skills. Suicidal thoughts are a symptom, just like any other — they can be treated, and they can improve over time.

Know the risk factors: According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), some of the risk factors for suicide include:

  • A family history of suicide
  • Substance use: Drugs can create mental highs and lows that worsen suicidal thoughts.
  • Intoxication: Analysis from the CDC indicates around 1 in 5 people who die by suicide had alcohol in their system at the time of death.
  • Access to firearms
  • A serious or chronic medical illness
  • Gender: Although more women than men attempt suicide, men are 4x more likely to die by suicide.
  • A history of trauma or abuse
  • Prolonged stress
  • A recent tragedy or loss

NAMI also created a robust crisis guide titled “Navigating a Mental Health Crisis: A NAMI Resource Guide for Those Experiencing a Mental Health Emergency” which can be downloaded in English or Spanish using the links below.

If you are experiencing a mental health crisis, call or text 988 or chat to reach the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline.

Navigating a Mental Health Crisis: A NAMI Resource Guide for Those Experiencing a Mental Health Emergency

Download the Crisis Guide as a PDF in ENGLISH or SPANISH