Other names: Suicide and suicidal thoughts


Suicide, taking your own life, is a tragic reaction to stressful life situations — and all the more tragic because suicide can be prevented. Whether you're considering suicide or know someone who feels suicidal, learn suicide warning signs and how to reach out for immediate help and professional treatment. You may save a life — your own or someone else's.



Suicidal thoughts have many causes, often linked to feeling overwhelmed by life situations. There may also be a genetic link to suicide.


Risk factors for suicide include feeling hopeless, experiencing stressful life events, substance abuse problems, underlying psychiatric disorders, family history of mental disorders, and more.


Before seeing a doctor for suicidal thoughts, make a list of key information, medications you're taking, questions for your doctor, and be prepared to answer detailed questions about your feelings and behaviors.


  1. What are some common symptoms of suicidal thoughts?

Talking about suicide, withdrawing from social contact, mood swings, etc.

  1. When should you see a doctor if you're feeling suicidal but not immediately thinking of hurting yourself?

Reach out to a close friend or loved one, contact a minister or call a suicide hotline.

  1. What are some risk factors for suicide?

Feeling hopeless, experiencing stressful life events, substance abuse problems, etc.

  1. How can you help someone who is feeling suicidal?

Have an open and honest discussion about your concerns and offer encouragement and support.

  1. What are some lifestyle and home remedies to help prevent suicidal feelings?

Get the treatment you need, establish a support network, remember that suicidal feelings are temporary.

  1. What are some emergency steps to take if someone has attempted suicide and is injured?

Call 911 or your local emergency number immediately.

  1. What treatments may be involved in managing suicidal thoughts in nonemergency situations?

Psychotherapy, medications, addiction treatment, family support and education.

  1. Why is it important not to skip therapy sessions or doctor's appointments when dealing with suicidal thoughts?

Consistent treatment helps manage symptoms and reduces the risk of suicidal feelings returning.

  1. What should you do if you notice warning signs of suicidal thoughts returning?

Contact your doctor or therapist immediately to address any changes in how you feel.

  1. How can you eliminate potential means of killing yourself to reduce the risk of acting on suicidal thoughts?

Get rid of any potential means such as firearms or dangerous medications; involve family members in medication management if needed.