Suicide Prevention

suicide statistics

Thoughts of suicide can be frightening. But by reaching out for help or checking in with friends and
family, we can avoid devastating outcomes.

Suicide is the second leading cause of death among people aged 10 to 14. It is the third leading cause of death among people aged 15 to 24. And it is the twelfth leading cause of death among people overall.

In most cases, when a person commits suicide, they have typically been struggling with depression and/or a substance abuse disorder and are resorting to suicide as an escape from their pain. But this tragic decision can always be avoided.

The licensed behavioral health professionals working for RWJBarnabas Health's Behavioral Health services across New Jersey take suicide very seriously, and want you to know that there is always a way to prevent these tragedies. Most importantly, it’s critical to be aware of the warning signs of a person considering suicide.

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Warning Signs

Among the people who die by suicide, 46 percent have a diagnosed mental health condition and 90 percent have experienced symptoms of a mental health condition. Below are some warning signs that can indicate that a person may be considering suicide:
  • Changes in eating and sleep habits
  • Loss of interest in usual activities
  • Pulling away from friends and family members
  • Alcohol and drug use
  • Not caring about personal appearance
  • Fixation on death and dying
  • Stomachaches, headaches, and extreme tiredness
  • Apathy toward work, school, and community
  • Feelings of boredom
  • Lack of focus
  • Lack of response to praise

An individual may show signs of plans to commit suicide, including the following:

  • Phrases like: ”I want to kill myself," or "I'm going to kill myself,” or "I won't be a problem much longer," or "If anything happens to me, I want you to know..."
  • Gives away favorite possessions and throws away important belongings
  • Becomes suddenly cheerful after a period of depression
  • May express bizarre thoughts
  • Writes one or more suicide notes

Threats of suicide communicate desperation and a cry for help. These behaviors and statements should be taken very seriously. Any person who expresses thoughts of suicide should be evaluated immediately.

strategies to help someone at risk

What Can You Do to Help Prevent a Person From Committing Suicide?

  • Take the person seriously.
  • Involve other people. Contact friends and family members.
  • Express concern.
  • Listen attentively.
  • Ask direct questions.
  • Acknowledge the person's feelings.
  • Offer support.
  • Don't promise confidentiality.
  • Don't leave the person alone.
  • Take the person to the nearest emergency room, contact a mental health professional, or call 911 immediately.
  • Keep possibly harmful objects hidden.
  • Prepare for possible hospitalization, if the health care provider advises.

There are a variety of treatments available to patients dealing with suicidal thoughts or tendencies. RWJBarnabas Health's Behavioral Health services, in partnership with Rutgers University Behavioral Health Care, offer the most comprehensive mental health services in the state, from personalized inpatient care to outpatient treatment and support groups.

RWJBarnabas Health and Rutgers University Behavioral Health Care logos

How to Get Help

If you start thinking about suicide, there are many ways to reach out for help.

Connect with a Behavioral Health CliniciaN