According to the CDC, in 2014 suicide was one of the top 10 leading causes of death in the U.S., claiming over 42,000 lives. While that’s a frighteningly high number, suicide is preventable. It’s important to know the warning signs and what steps you can take to save yourself.

Time To Seek Help

Knowing the warning signs can help you determine if it’s time to seek help. The National Institute of Mental Health has an entire page dedicated to suicide signs, symptoms and risk factors. Some of these signs include:

  • Wanting to die and suicidal thoughts. Any actions that lead in this direction are also an important red flag, such as giving away possessions.
  • Feelings of despair and hopelessness.
  • Untreated substance abuse and increased frequency of using drugs or alcohol.
  • Isolation and withdrawal.
  • Mood swings.
  • Untreated depression, anxiety, and other mental illnesses.

If you are having suicidal thoughts or are equipping yourself with a firearm or other means of suicide, seek help immediately. Call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline or your local crisis hotline. You can also visit Yellow Ribbon Suicide Prevention Program.

Even if you are just starting to struggle with any of these issues, you shouldn’t delay. Start researching today for the help you need. These can include:

  • Counseling. A qualified therapist or psychiatrist can help you address these issues. If you feel comfortable enough, you might want to ask someone you trust for a referral.
  • Checking into rehab. If you are struggling with drug or alcohol addiction, find a local 12-step program or an inpatient treatment program.
  • Suicide prevention programs. States, colleges, and local organizations have programs to assist you with the help you need.

Suicide and Drug Addiction

Psychology Today reports that the suicide rate for patients with untreated substance abuse issues may be as high as 45%. One reason is that substance abuse leads people to risky behaviors, such as suicide. Alcohol and certain drugs can act as depressants, leading to feelings of despair. Addiction can also mask underlying mental health issues.

Finding the right treatment program is important too. Patients who have had no luck with an outpatient program can find success with an inpatient program. Another benefit of entering an inpatient programs is that they help foster community. If you are feeling suicidal, inpatient programs keep you safe. This article from Psych Central details the differences between in inpatient residential rehab and outpatient recovery programs.

Emotional Wellness To Combat The Risk of Suicide

In addition to getting qualified help, you can take some extra steps on your own to improve your emotional wellness.

  • Finding community. If you are feeling alone and withdrawn, get involved with community organizations. Look to your local faith-based groups, events with people with common interests, and clubs.
  • Engage with nature. You can combine the health benefits of walking with the positive impact of nature at your nearby parks and hiking trails.
  • Volunteer. Helping others takes your mind off yourself and can build a sense of worth.
  • Get healthy. Cut out the junk food, increase your water intake, and start slowly to exercise. A healthy body can boost a healthy mind.
  • Cultivate mindfulness. Deep breathing, meditation, and prayer are some ways you can boost your emotional well-being.
  • Journaling. Writing down your emotions can be a safe way to “dump” them out of your brain. We also recommend other positive journal activities, like creating a gratitude list or goal planning for the future.

Suicide is preventable but you must take the steps that you need right now. Don’t go it alone. Seek help and create a plan to combat the negative thoughts and habits that can lead to suicide.

This article was written by John Foster.  You can find his website at