Knowledge truly is power. Some of the most powerful ways to engage in suicide prevention involve the use of factual information about suicide while having supportive conversations with others.
Working Together to Prevent Suicide
There are many factors that contribute to suicide that range from the personal to the societal. For this reason, prevention requires complex and multifaceted approaches.
At the CAST Program, we believe that both individual and community action are essential for preventing suicide. By providing the necessary information and training, communities can become safer from suicide.
When community members come together – each with their unique skills and abilities – the results of the group can be far greater than each person’s effort alone.
It’s Time to Start Talking About Suicide
There is a great deal of stigma associated with suicide in our society. The misconceptions and myths surrounding suicide result in people fearing, avoiding, and/or distancing themselves from talking about it.
We know that avoidance is not effective. Despite what many believe, safe and respectful talk about suicide will not increase someone’s risk or ‘plant ideas’ in someone’s head.
Instead, safe and respectful talk creates room for conversation, connection, and an opportunity to reach out and get appropriate help.
Hope, Purpose, Connection – We All Need It
Those who die by suicide (the act of intentionally causing one’s own death) typically have experienced an unbearable amount of pain and feelings of hopelessness and helplessness.
They may also have felt a lack of connection to their social environment, even if there were caring people around them. Thoughts of suicide grow in the perceived absence of hope and purpose.
Suicide is not a moral weakness or a character defect. Those who have died by suicide were in a place of extreme desperation, often unaware of resources that could help.
If you have lost a loved one to suicide, please know that it is not your fault and support is available. Sometimes, when people experience overwhelming feelings of pain or distress they are unable to see the love and care available around them. For more information, please see Survivors of Suicide.
Complex Contributing Factors
Suicide is a complex issue that is typically influenced by a variety of individual and societal factors. Suicide is rarely caused by a single event or loss in someone’s life.
Factors associated with increased suicide risk include loss, trauma, addiction, financial hardship, mental or physical health issues, depression, anxiety, serious illness, and/or major life changes.
One’s own personal and subjective experience of a situation(s) or stressor(s) is more important than the nature of the event itself. A situation that may not seem like a “big deal” to some, may be an extremely traumatic and challenging experience for those who are at risk.
Suicide spreads across different age, economic, social, and racial backgrounds. Unfortunately, anyone can be at risk. Suicide affects virtually everyone in some way, whether it be individually or through someone we know.
Reaching Out to Others
Those who die by suicide usually tell others in some way about their intentions. A person who dies by suicide without any warning is very rare.
Understanding warning signs and reaching out to others can make all the difference. For more information, please see Risk Factors & Warning Signs.
If you’re unsure whether someone is having thoughts of suicide, the best way to find out is to ask. If you are uncomfortable asking this question, you can connect them with someone who can. For more information, please see What To Do If Someone Is In a Crisis.
If you are worried about how someone will react, keep in mind that people are often relieved to share their thoughts of suicide with another person. Doing so gives them an opportunity to talk about the feelings and experiences that have contributed to their thoughts of suicide.
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