Help for People Who Are Thinking About Suicide

Adapted from an article from Know the Signs: Suicide is Preventable, an initiative of CalMHSA‘s Statewide Prevention and Early Intervention program, which are funded through the voter-approved Mental Health Services Act (Prop. 63).

Are you thinking of ending your life? Do you have a loved one who is thinking about suicide? 

You are not alone. If you are thinking about suicide or are concerned about someone else, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255). Trained counselors are available 24/7 to talk, answer questions, and help you navigate this challenging situation. 

There are many people fighting a very personal battle in the midst of struggles and dangers of these hard times – people who are questioning whether to continue to live through the emotional pain they are experiencing. Sometimes this pain may increase, because of fear, isolation , anxiety , and loss. 

What can be done?

First, let’s help to prevent ourselves and our loved ones from developing thoughts of suicide. Make sure that you are staying connected to your loved ones by reaching out, checking in regularly, and asking for and offering support as needed. We must also be present and patient with ourselves, asking for what we need to stay hopeful and feel connected. (Take a look at this recent blog for suggestions and resources .)

How can we tell if someone is having thoughts of suicide?

Although our face to face interactions may be limited right now, it is more important than ever to know the signs of suicide. Staying connected with regular check-ins is important. If you are worried that someone is having thoughts of suicide, the next step is to find the words and reach out. The websites and offers information about how to recognize warning signs and have a conversation.

What can we do when we or someone we know is having thoughts of suicide?

Each of us can support someone while they find their reasons for living by sharing hope and letting them know they are not alone. You don’t need to focus on “fixing the problem” or convincing them to stay, instead focus on being present and reaching out or listening as they search for their own reasons for living. There are resources to help such as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (800.273.8255). The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can help you identify strategies to help keep them or yourself safe. 

Resources :  

  • SAMHSA’s Disaster Distress Line: 1-800-985-5990 or text "TalkWithUs" to 66746 to connect with a trained crisis counselor. For Spanish, call 1-800-985-5990 and press 2 or text "Hablanos" to 66746. For other languages, call 1-800-985-5990 and indicate your preferred language to be connected with an interpreter .
  • Crisis Text Line: Text "EMM" to 741-741, available in English only.
  • National Helpline ( substance abuse and mental health ): Call 1-800-662-4357 for service referrals in English and Spanish.
  • Teen Line: Text “TEEN” to 839863 between 6:00pm-9:00pm PST for teen-to-teen education and support, available in English only.
  • The Peer -Run Warm Line: Call 855-845-7415 for peer -run non-emergency emotional support, available in English only.
  • Older Californians can call the Friendship Line California for free crisis intervention hotline and a warmline for non-emergency emotional support: Call 1-888-670-1360, available in English only.