In the pursuit of safety for our clients and staff, Community Reach Center is committed to promoting suicide awareness and prevention in our community. As a proud partner of the Zero Suicide movement, Community Reach Center was the first to host the two-day Zero Suicide Academy in Colorado. We know that having the conversation with loved ones about suicide risk is difficult. However, if someone you know is exhibiting behaviors that lead you to wonder if they are contemplating suicide, it’s important to talk to them. You may need to muster the courage to ask the question directly and nonjudgmentally: “Are you thinking of killing yourself?” If they answer “yes”, follow up immediately by asking if they have a plan as to how and when they intend to do it. If they answer “yes”, that is a clear indicator that they are at imminent risk and need to access crisis services immediately. Take the person to one of the Colorado Crisis Services walk-in centers or a hospital emergency room immediately, or call 911.
Although it may feel awkward, asking the question is a powerful way to acknowledge his or her pain and suffering, which can be a life-saving source of hope and support to them. Please see below for information on suicide warning signs and risk factors, followed by resources and tools that are available for consumers and their support systems.
Suicide Warning Signs
While a person may attempt or complete suicide without having exhibited any warning signs, in many cases there are indicators that they are contemplating taking action. In general, significant changes in behavior or new behaviors, especially related to painful life events, may be cause for concern and heightened suicide awareness.
Specific suicide warning signs include:
- Talk of self-injury or suicide
- Searching for the means to attempt suicide (information, weapons, etc.)
- Expressing feelings of hopelessness or of being a burden to others
- Talk of unbearable pain or feeling trapped
- Withdrawing from loved ones
- Increased use of drugs or alcohol
- Sleeping too little or too much
- Selling or giving away important possessions
- Irritation or aggressive behavior
- Connecting with people to “say goodbye” (even if that sentiment is not expressed)
Suicide Risk Factors
Some people are at a higher risk of attempting or completing suicide based on certain conditions in their life. These factors include their health, living environment and behavioral history. Being familiar with suicide risk factors is important, because they can help you determine when to practice a greater degree of suicide awareness around someone you are concerned about.
Specific suicide risk factors include:
- Mental health conditions such as depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorders, schizophrenia, mood disorder, aggression and difficulty establishing or maintaining relationships
- Traumatic brain injury
- Chronic and/or painful health issues
- Access to the means of attempting or completing suicide such as weapons, drugs, etc.
- Previous suicide attempts
- Current or past abuse, bullying or harassment
- Frequent or ongoing unemployment or financial troubles
- Stressful life events such as the death of a loved one, divorce or loss of a significant relationship, foreclosure, etc.
- Suicide of a friend or family member
General resources and information:
- Simple Tips for Starting the Conversation around Mental Health and Suicide:
- Colorado Specific Crisis Resources:
- Suicide Prevention Resource Center:
- Ways to Get Involved in Suicide Prevention in the Community:
- 24/7 Crisis Line Resource and Stories of Recovery
- Portraits and Stories of Suicide Attempt Survivors
- Mental Health First Aid
Resources for youth: