World Suicide Prevention Day

September 10, 2021


In the last several years, there has been a greater focus on mental health and raising awareness. During the summer Olympics, athletes related their personal struggles on national television, bringing a new light to the subject. More and more media outlets are starting to raise the topic of mental health in the hopes that talking about it can break the stigma and normalize mental health. During the pandemic we have seen an increased need for mental health services, especially where it pertains to suicide and opioid overdoses. 

In 1960, the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP) was formed in Vienna. It wasn’t until 2001 that Certified Crisis Centers were established nationally through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to help individuals who were struggling. In 2003, the first World Suicide Prevention Day was recognized by the World Health Organization and IASP. Suicide prevention day is recognized with the goal of researching and collecting data on suicidal behaviors to better figure out what leads to suicide, why the warning signs are unnoticed by friends and family and what can be done to help prevent suicide. Communities across the country hold events and activities to raise awareness, comfort those who have lost loved ones, and provide resources to individuals who are struggling. 


Risk Factors and Warning Signs of Suicide

Knowing factors that might put someone at a higher risk for suicide might just help save someone and get them the help they need. Risk factors indicate that someone is struggling and might consider or attempt suicide. While these factors don’t necessarily indicate if someone will attempt suicide, they are important to know. Warning signs are generally more obvious than risk factors, especially if the behavior is new, increased, or seems to be linked to a loss, event, or major life change.*

Risk Factors

  • Mental disorders, particularly mood disorders, schizophrenia, anxiety disorders, and certain personality disorders
  • Alcohol and other substance use disorders
  • Hopelessness
  • Impulsive or aggressive tendencies
  • History of trauma or abuse
  • Major physical illnesses
  • Previous suicide attempts
  • Family history of suicide
  • Job or financial loss
  • Loss of relationships
  • Easy access to lethal means
  • Local clusters of suicide
  • Lack of social support and sense of isolation
  • Stigma associated with asking for help
  • Lack of healthcare, especially mental heath and substance abuse treatment
  • Cultural and religious beliefs, such as the belief that suicide is a noble resolution of personal dilemma
  • Exposure to others who have died by suicide (in real life or via the media and internet)

Warning Signs

  • Talking about wanting to die or to kill themselves
  • Looking for a way to kill themselves, like searching online or buying a gun
  • Talking about feeling hopeless or having no reason to live
  • Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain
  • Talking about being a burden to others
  • Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs
  • Acting anxious or agitated; behaving recklessly
  • Sleeping too little or too much
  • Withdrawing or isolating themselves
  • Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge
  • Extreme mood swings


What can be done to help prevent suicide?

The good news is that there are resources available to those who are struggling. There is a suicide prevention lifeline where someone in distress can call 24/7 to speak with a professional who can help them through a crisis. Calls are free and confidential. After a crisis, it’s important to get professional help from a local organization. Speak with your regular provider for a referral, or search online to find a behavioral health specialist.

StayWell offers mental health services for those who are struggling. Our compassionate, licensed clinicians work with individuals to reach personal goals, and become their best self again. English and Spanish speaking clinicians are available in multiple locations. To learn more, visit our Adult Behavioral Health page. Services include:

  • Individual and group therapy
  • Psychiatric and medication evaluation
  • Medication management (for those enrolled in therapy program)
  • Adult Co-Occurring Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP)
  • Smoking cessation MAT (Medication Assisted Treatment) and counseling for existing patients interested in quitting smoking

Get Involved

There are many ways that you can get involved in suicide prevention. Donate to your local mental health organizations or to world wide foundations, get involved in community awareness events, and share the topic on social media to start a conversation. The more we talk about mental health, the more normal it will become. 

*Facts and information pulled from


The StayWell Health Center Team