Suicide is Preventable – Help is Available

May 2, 2012 | 12:08pm

People think about hurting themselves when they feel hopeless, powerless, or despondent. Most people who attempt or complete a suicide showed one or more warning signs prior to the suicide attempt.


Knowing how to spot them and what to do can help save a life.

“Suicide is preventable. There is hope. There is help,” said Alfredo Aguirre, Director of County Mental Health Services. “It’s important to know the warning signs and how to assist a suicidal person.”

Warning signs of suicide include:

  • Talking of hurting or killing oneself
  • Hopelessness or helplessness
  • Divorce, separation, stress on family
  • Loss of health (real or imaginary)
  • Loss of job, home, personal security
  • Increased alcohol or drug use
  • Isolation from family and friends
  • Daring or risk-taking behavior

Suicide claims the life of about one San Diegan every day. Mental health experts believe that for every suicide, six other people who were close to the victim suffer lasting emotional trauma.

So what should you do when a person comes to you for help? If the person is in immediate danger, call 9-1-1.

You should also:

  • Take it seriously
  • Ask: Are you having thoughts of suicide?
  • Listen; suicidal behavior is a call for help
  • Give and get help right away
  • Don’t leave the person alone
  • Urge professional help

“That simple conversation can help save a life,” said Aguirre.

For more information about suicide, risk factors, warning signs and how to get help, visit It’s Up to Us. Help is also available at the County’s Access and Crisis Line at (888) 724-7240.