Stop Suicide:
Save a Life

If you are feeling suicidal or you know someone who is demonstrating the warning signs of suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

A suicidal person may not ask for help, but that doesn’t mean that help isn’t wanted. Most people who commit suicide don’t want to die—they just want to stop hurting. In the words of suicide-survivor Kevin Hines, “I never wanted to kill myself.  I felt I had to.” 

Suicide prevention starts with recognizing the warning signs and taking them seriously. If you think a friend or family member is considering suicide, you might be afraid to bring up the subject. But talking openly about suicidal thoughts and feelings can save a life. Don’t be afraid to ask the simple question that saves lives – “Are you thinking about committing suicide?” If the answer is “yes,” then it’s time to go get help.

Can you watch/share this video on the interactions between recent research into suicide motivation and neuroscience?
Kevin Hines has one of the nation’s leading suicide prevention advocates. Watch him tell his powerful story in the above video. Kevin is about to release his memoir Cracked..Not Broke: Surviving and Thriving After a Suicide Attempt.

Some of The Warning Signs of Suicidal Behavior

  • Talking about death or suicide;
  • Talking about specific plans they’ve made to commit suicide;
  • Severe depression, hopelessness or guilt;
  • Reckless, violent, or self-destructive behavior;
  • Alcohol or drug abuse;
  • Expressing a sense of worthlessness;
  • Suddenly appearing much better, or happier, for no apparent reason;
  • Giving away personal items without reason; and
  • Loss of interest in usual sources of pleasure.

If you or someone in your family struggles with suicidal thoughts, you need a Suicide Safety Plan. Watch the video above to learn more about this simple, but effective intervention.
Suicidal thoughts are hard to understand both for the person having them and for those around them, here’s great article on suicidal thoughts and when it time to get help by Julie Fast. Julie is a critically acclaimed mental illness author who has lived with suicidal thoughts and hallucinations for over twenty years. 

If you’re worried about your own suicidal thoughts or someone else’s, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) today. A person exhibiting signs of of suicidal behavior can quickly become suicidal. If you or your loved one are in a full blown suicidal crisis. Go to the emergency room or call 911. Stay with the person until they are fully under the care of a medical professional. Suicidal thinking is basically a heart attack for the brain. Treat it like the dangerous condition that is is.

Can Suicide Be Prevented?

Suicide can be prevented and caregivers are constantly searching for better ways to help suicidal individuals. The feelings and impulses that lead people to commit suicide are complicated and may include psychological, biological and social conditions.

Up to 90 percent of all persons who commit suicide suffer from a treatable, severe mental illness. Therefore, effective long-term suicide prevention strategies usually include medication, counseling and social support usually under the supervision of a psychiatrist and a therapist. (Check out our resource guides to find the resources available across Montana).

There are many therapeutic options for treating serious mental illness, including therapy and medication to reduce suicidal behavior. Most suicidal people are focused on the present and are seeking relief from problems that seem insurmountable at the moment. They feel powerless to cope with their problems and they can’t see any hope for their future. Psychotherapy and counseling provide a way for them to recognize more options and to place their current problems in a broader context.

Social supports for individuals with mental illness such as education, peer counseling, and participation in a support group serve to build vital connections which are helpful in “holding people to life.”

Who’s At Risk?

Research shows that almost all people who kill themselves suffer from a diagnosable mental illness, a substance abuse disorder, or both. People who live with schizophrenia have a particularly high risk of suicide with nearly half attempting suicide at some point in their lifetime. Research suggests that the risk is even higher for people diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder, an illness in which there are both severe mood swings and some psychotic symptoms.

Among those already at risk due to mental illness or substance abuse disorders, the risk of suicide further increases for people who feel hopeless about the future, particularly individuals with mental illness who have recently been discharged from the hospital. In addition, those with a family history of suicide and anyone who has made a previous attempt are more likely to attempt suicide in the future.

If You’ve Lost a Loved One to Suicide

If you’ve lost a loved one to suicide, it is important that you understand the connection between suicide and serious mental illness in order to forgive your loved one and yourself.  Please take a few minutes to watch this video that describes the interaction between serious mental illness and suicidal thoughts.

Where Can I Learn More?

Please contact NAMI Montana with any of your questions about suicide and mental illness. We also highly recommend that you check out the the State of Montana’s Suicide Prevention website for more information.

Get involved. Save a life!