We understand suicide is a complex and difficult subject. This page was created to help people define terms related to suicide, find resources to get help for themselves or loved ones, and how you can help intervene during a crisis. Understanding suicide involves considering factors at the individual and communal levels.
If you or a loved one’s life is in immediate danger, don’t hesitate to call 911. By calling 911, you can get emergency treatment to get you through the critical stage of a mental health crisis. An effective treatment can then be sought afterwards to properly treat over the long term.
If you are experiencing a mental health crisis where you need someone to talk to or would like to find local resources, call 988 or 211. The number 211 will connect you to a caseworker who can help make it easier for you to find information, discover options or deal with a crisis. You can review other resources available to you in Connecticut here.
Suicide is when people harm themselves with the goal of ending their life, and they die as a result.
A suicide attempt is when people harm themselves with the goal of ending their life, but they do not die. Many times, people do not want to die. Pain in their lives feels unbearable and they may see no other solution.
Avoid using terms such as “committing suicide,” “successful suicide,” or “failed suicide” when referring to suicide and suicide attempts, as these terms often carry negative meanings. Use the terms “died by suicide” or “death by suicide”.
Warning signs for suicide refers to changes in behavior or the presence of entirely new behaviors. This is of sharpest concern if the new or changed behavior is related to a painful event, loss, or change.
Risk factors for suicide refers to individual characteristics or environmental conditions that increase the chance that a person may try to take their life.
Not all people who die by suicide have been diagnosed with a mental illness and not all people with a mental illness attempt to end their lives by suicide. Suicidal thoughts or actions are a sign of extreme distress and should not be ignored.
5 Action Steps
Here are 5 steps you can take to #BeThe1To help someone in emotional pain:
- ASK: “Are you thinking about killing yourself?” It’s not an easy question, but studies show that asking at-risk individuals if they are suicidal does not increase suicides or suicidal thoughts.
- KEEP THEM SAFE: Reducing a suicidal person’s access to highly lethal items or places is an important part of suicide prevention. While this is not always easy, asking if the at-risk person has a plan and removing or disabling the lethal means can make a difference.
- BE THERE: Listen carefully and learn what the individual is thinking and feeling. Research suggests acknowledging and talking about suicide may reduce rather than increase suicidal thoughts.
- HELP THEM CONNECT: Save the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline number (call or text 988) and the Crisis Text Line number (741741) in your phone so they’re there if you need them. You can also help make a connection with a trusted individual like a family member, friend, spiritual advisor, or mental health professional.
- STAY CONNECTED: Staying in touch after a crisis or after being discharged from care can make a difference. Studies have shown the number of suicide deaths goes down when someone follows up with the at-risk person.
A valuable resource available to elementary schools and programs is the CSMHS (Connecticut School Mental Health System). This system enables the promotion of well-being as well as addressing students’ mental health issues. As stated by the website, it provides a “framework” for school districts to use in order to aid their students.
The CTSAB has some useful resources for parents regarding their child. This includes the NIMH » Children and Mental Health page of the National Institute of Mental Health, in which they describe symptoms of mental disorders in young children.
Other beneficial resources include the NCPYS: https://www.preventyouthsuicide.org/
Middle School and High School can be emotionally trying times with physical, emotional, and mental developments in our bodies.
Family conflict, relationship issues, grades, peer pressure, and loss of important people in our lives – all such stressful events can seem catastrophic at the time they are happening. Then, months or years later, they are things of the past. Some of these challenges may even increase your resilience and resolve in life. If you imagine yourself five years down the road you may see that a problem that currently seems catastrophic will pass.
- Increased substance (alcohol or drug) use
- No reason for living; no sense of purpose in life
- Anxiety, agitation, unable to sleep or sleeping all of the time
- Feeling trapped – like there’s no way out
- Withdrawal from friends, family and society
- Rage, uncontrolled anger, seeking revenge
- Acting reckless or engaging in risky activities, seemingly without thinking
- Dramatic mood changes
- Giving away prized possessions or seeking long-term care for pets
Many people are unable to see alternatives to their problems or an end to their pain. Many who consider dying by suicide still want to live: the youth you are concerned about may have mixed feelings about turning thoughts of suicide into a suicidal act. By recognizing his or her risk and getting him or her to help, a life can be saved.
Go ahead and ask.
A youth may hint or joke about suicide, but it is important to take all communications about suicide seriously. It is safe to ask directly, “Are you thinking about killing yourself?” Talking about suicide does not cause suicide. If you have difficulty asking the youth about his or her thoughts, enlist another adult to help you
Curriculum Resources for Schools & Parents
Preventing Suicide: A Tool-Kit for High Schools
Assists high schools and school districts in designing and implementing strategies to prevent suicide and promote behavioral health. Includes tools to implement a multi-faceted suicide prevention program that responds to the needs and cultures of students.
Preventing Youth Suicide: Tips for Parents & Educators
Directs parents as well as educators in the necessary steps in order to prevent suicide.
The Role of High School Mental Health Providers in Preventing Suicide
This information sheet is for mental health staff that the school has designated as being responsible for handling student mental health crises.
The Role of High School Teachers in Preventing Suicide
An information sheet that helps teachers understand why suicide prevention fits their role as a teacher.
SOS Signs of Suicide (SOS) is a universal, school-based prevention program designed for middle school (ages 11-13) and high school (ages 13-17) students.
A list of websites and other online information that have prevention resources for parents, guardians, and other family members.
Suicide Prevention Resources for Parents/Guardians/Families
Talking Points for Parents About Your Teens Mental Health AFSP
Postvention guide for communities as well as recommendations
- Center for HOPE
- Cove Center for Grieving Children
- Healing Hearts Center for Grieving Children & Families
- Impact of Suicide on Professional Caregivers: A Guide for Managers and Supervisors
- Manager’s Guide to Suicide Postvention in the Workplace: 10 Action Steps for Dealing with the Aftermath of Suicide
- Postvention: a guide for response to suicide on college campuses
- Reporting on Suicide
- Suicide Deaths Are Often ‘Contagious.’ This May Help Explain Why
The QPR mission is to reduce suicidal behaviors and save lives by providing innovative, practical and proven suicide prevention training. The signs of crisis are all around us. We believe that quality education empowers all people, regardless of their background, to make a positive difference in the life of someone they know.
Contact Tri-Town for information on the latest upcoming QPR Gatekeeper or QPR Instructor trainings.
The Columbia Lighthouse Project (formerly the Center for Suicide Risk Assessment) aims to save lives worldwide by making the protocol’s use universal. We also help people integrate the Columbia Protocol into a broader suicide prevention program.
The Columbia Protocol, also known as the Columbia-Suicide Severity Rating Scale (C-SSRS), supports suicide risk assessment through a series of simple, plain-language questions that anyone can ask. The answers help users identify whether someone is at risk for suicide, assess the severity and immediacy of that risk, and gauge the level of support that the person needs.
To learn more about the screening tool and be able to download your own version of the scales, click here.
Founded in 1998 by the creators of the Academy Award®-winning short film TREVOR, The Trevor Project is the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer & questioning (LGBTQ) young people under 25.
What’s Different for LGBTQ young adults?
- Unsafe school
- Rejection/abuse within family
- Previous attempt(s)
- Exposure to suicide loss
- 30% of LGBT young adults vs. 13% of heterosexual young adults (median age of 18) had attempted suicide (lifetime).1
Saffren & Heimberg 1999
The Alliance for Prevention and Wellness Regional Data
The Alliance for Prevention and Wellness gathered data from DMHAS Region 2, which includes our three towns, and created a report based on the data:
- The 2019 Connecticut School Health Survey reported almost 70% of high school students said their past 30-day mental health was not good (including depression, stress, emotional problems).
- The same report found 12.7% of high school students reported seriously considering attempting suicide in the past year and 6.7% of high school students reported attempting suicide one or more times during the past year.
- Prevention efforts in Region 2 included Question, Persuade, Refer (suicide prevention training) for 345 people over 15 virtual workshops from 2020 through 2021. A cadre of trained facilitators in Talk Saves Lives, Alternatives to Suicide, and Question,
Persuade, Refer, offer many opportunities for citizen participation in suicide prevention.
Resources for Survivors
The Alliance of Hope is a charitable non profit for suicide loss survivors was created by survivors. They provide online healing support and other services for people who are coping with devastating loss to suicide. Their online forum operates like a 24/7 support group. The website contains support resources and information on the survivor experience.
www.hsph.harvard.edu/means-matter–how a person attempts matters.
The Jordan Porco Foundation was founded in 2011 by Ernie and Marisa Porco after they lost their son, Jordan, to suicide when he was a freshman in college.
The mission of the Jordan Porco Foundation is to prevent suicide, promote mental health, and create a message of hope for young adults. To accomplish this, we
Help challenge stigma by talking openly about mental health issues
Offer engaging and uplifting programming, emphasizing peer-to-peer messaging
Promote help seeking behavior, self-care, and coping skills
Educate about the risk factors and warning signs of suicide and other related mental health concerns
We do this in the name and spirit of Jordan Matthew Porco, who died by suicide in 2011. We’re in it for life.™
The Jordan Porco Foundation is committed to preventing suicide in the high school, college, and college entry student population. Through awareness, education, and innovative programming, JPF is challenging stigma around mental health and help-seeking, creating open conversations about the prevalence of suicide and mental health issues in the young adult population, and saving lives.
The Jordan Porco Foundation is a 501 (c)3 non profit, located in Hartford, CT.
Fresh Check Day: Self-Care and Coping Skills