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Suicide: ​The Risk Factors, Warning Signs, ​and What to Do
Posted 09/21/2020 08:39PM

Suicide: The Risk Factors, Warning Signs,
and What to Do if you are Worried

September is National Suicide Prevention Month. Suicidal thoughts can affect anyone regardless of age, gender or background. Nearly 50,000 people die by suicide each year. The 2015 Youth Risk Behaviors Survey revealed that 8.6% of youth grades 9-12 reported that they had made at least one suicide attempt in the past 12 months. By middle school many students either know someone who has had suicidal thoughts, or have experienced those thoughts themselves.

Risk Factors

Risk factors for suicidal thoughts include a recent or serious loss and a mental health disorder, especially a mood disorder such as depression. In addition, prior suicide attempts and alcohol or substance use disorders can increase a person's risk of suicide. The stigma associated with seeking mental health help can make things even more complicated and make it less likely that a person will get the help they need.

Protective Factors

Schools provide many protective factors against suicidal thoughts such as strong connections with caring adults and a positive peer community. Schools also try to equip students with social-emotional learning skills such as coping skills and ability to recognize and regulate negative emotions. Other protective factors are strong connections with family, friends and the community as well as good role models and good problem-solving skills.

Warning Signs

Talking about suicide or making statements about feeling hopeless, helpless or worthless can be warning signs that someone is feeling suicidal. Deepening depression or a preoccupation with death in conversation writing or drawing can also be warning signs. Another sign is when someone starts taking unnecessary risks or exhibiting self-destructive behaviors. Other warning signs can include:

  • Giving away belongings
  • Withdrawing from friends and family
  • Having aggressive or hostile behavior
  • Neglecting personal appearance
  • Running away from home
  • A change in personality (such as from upbeat to quiet

What To Do If You Are Worried

If you become worried about someone having suicidal thoughts here are some crisis resources:

  • CRISIS TEXT LINE: Text HOME to 741741
  • SUICIDE PREVENTION LIFELINE: Call 1-800-273-8255

To learn more or to support suicide awareness & prevention campaigns please visit the following resources:

James F. Smith Elementary School

  • 2220 Woodbury Ln.
  • |
  • San Jose, CA 95121
  • |
  • Phone: 408-532-2150
  • |
  • Fax: 408-532-2165
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