Suicide Prevention and Awareness

The Power of Suicide Prevention and Awareness

Suicide Prevention and Awareness

Suicide prevention begins with recognizing the warning signs and taking them seriously. Watch for these indicators that a loved one may be struggling with their mental health and/or contemplating suicide.

Suicide Warning Signs

  1. Increased use of drugs and alcohol
  2. Acting recklessly
  3. Giving away their possessions
  4. Increase in aggression
  5. Sleeping too much or too little
  6. Calling to say goodbye
  7. A sudden change from being happy to being sad
  8. A sudden change from being sad to being happy (this is often overlooked, but sometimes a sudden improvement in mood is because they've made the decision that their suffering is going to end.)
  9. Increased irritability, rage, or anxiousness
  10. Comments about feeling trapped, depressed, or like they're a burden to others
  11. Comments about suicide

What can you do to help?

If you recognize any of the signs or are worried about a friend or loved one, ask them if they are OK and if they are contemplating suicide. It might make you uncomfortable, but no one is ever going to be mad at you for asking them how they are doing.

There's a documentary about people who have jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge and survived. All 25 survivors said that as soon as they jumped, they wished they hadn't. They just wanted someone to have that conversation with them.

Asking someone about suicide sounds hard, but it's so easy to do. "Hey, I've noticed something going on with you. Are you OK? Are you thinking about suicide?"

For some reason, there is a stigma around asking people directly about suicide. People think it will give them ideas, but research has proven over and over that's not true. If someone is considering suicide, being asked about it is often a relief. It helps them to not feel so crazy and alone. All of a sudden you are joining with them and that's very powerful when we're trying to keep people alive.

If someone does tell you they've been considering suicide, listen non-judgmentally, tell them you are there for them, ask what you can do to help, and connect them to a professional. If they've gotten to the point in the conversation where they are telling you they have a plan, notify law enforcement and don't leave them alone.  

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For additional support, visit our Mental Health Resources page for a comprehensive guide to resources and information for parents, children, teens, and adults.


Christy Wilkie, LCSW

Christy Wilkie, LCSW, therapist, provides therapy for children and adolescents, ages 5-25, who have complex behavioral health issues. She combines her extensive clinical expertise with a belief in kids, and has a unique ability to find and develop their strengths. She works hard to be an ideal therapist for her clients, doing what is best to fit their needs. She earned her master’s degree in Social Work from Indiana University–Purdue University in Indianapolis, IN. She is also certified in Structured Psychotherapy for Adolescents Responding to Chronic Stress (SPARCS).

Dakota Family Services is a highly trusted and respected outpatient clinic providing psychology, psychiatry, and therapy in North Dakota. Our community of compassionate mental health professionals help children, adolescents, and adults improve their overall mental health and well-being through a personalized approach, trusted expertise, and unconditional presence. We offer in-office counseling in Fargo and Minot and online therapy for those who prefer to meet from the comfort of their own home. To schedule an appointment, or to learn more, call 800-201-6495.

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