Suicide Warning Signs, Risk Factors and Prevention

I'm going to talk about suicide warnings signs, risk factors, and prevention.  Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States. Each day, 123 Americans take their own lives. Each year, over 40,000 Americans commit suicide, and over 1 million Americans attempt to commit suicide. Suicide is a huge medical epidemic, yet we don't talk about it enough. We tend to veil it in shame and to sweep it under the rug. But today, I'm going to talk about it.


Suicide is a huge medical epidemic, yet we don't talk about it enough.


Anthony Bourdain, he was a vibrant, energetic, humorous, brilliant chef and the host of CNN's Parts Unknown. I watched that show and I add foods to try and places to go, some places I've never even heard of, to my ever-expanding bucket list. It seemed like Anthony Bourdain was on top of the world, quite literally. But on June 8, 2018, he committed suicide. This loss came as a shock to the world. It seemed very unlikely that someone like Anthony Bourdain would want to take his own life. But did you know that the suicide rates are the highest among middle-aged white males? In fact, white males account for 7 out of 10 suicides.


What are some of the risk factors for suicide?


No gender, culture, or race is immune to suicide. In fact, it is believed that suicide attempts are actually underreported in some cultures, particularly the black culture. What are some of the risk factors for suicide? Mental health disturbance. If you have depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, substance abuse, that is definitely a risk factor for suicide. Poor physical health is actually a risk factor for suicide. Patients who have chronic debilitating illnesses, terminal illnesses, especially if they feel like they are a burden to others or like they can no longer enjoy life the way that they used to, they can be at risk for suicide. Another risk factor, being a victim of child abuse, or a victim of sexual abuse, or sexual assault. Having a family history of suicide is also a risk factor. Another one of the risk factors or suicide warning signs is having a major stressful life event, such as the death of a loved one, a financial crisis, divorce, rejection, and being bullied.


suicide warnings signs

The suicide crisis is real.


A beautiful nine-year-old boy in Denver told his mother that he was gay. According to her, she told him that she loved him. She was supportive. She was very encouraging. And this little child went to school and decided to come out as being gay to his peers, to the other fourth graders. He was reportedly ridiculed, bullied, and rejected. And on August 23, 2018, this nine-year-old child committed suicide. The suicide crisis is real.


What are the warning signs of suicide?


Isolation or withdrawal. If you notice that someone all of a sudden wants to be alone all of the time, withdrawn from their friends, withdrawing from activities.  That's one of the suicide warning signs and that they may be contemplating suicide. If someone becomes an insomniac where they're up all night, they can't get to sleep, or if they are hypersomnolent, if they're sleeping all the time, they don't want to get out of the bed, that could be a warning sign. A loss of interest is another warning sign.


If it's someone who absolutely loves to go out, all of a sudden they don't want to go out anymore. Or a person who loves to play basketball, they live for basketball, they're no longer interested in basketball anymore. Other suicide warning signs include a preoccupation with death, an inability to experience pleasure. Also, if a person starts giving away things of great personal value all of a sudden. Another warning sign, saying goodbye to loved ones. If you notice that someone is calling people, texting people, emailing people, giving prolonged goodbyes, that could be a warning sign that he or she is contemplating suicide.



Suicide can affect the young, the elderly, the wealthy, the impoverished. It doesn't matter what culture.


It doesn't matter what race. Suicide can affect all of us. So what can we do to prevent suicide? If you notice the warning signs of suicide in someone, encourage them to seek professional help immediately via a physician or a therapist or through the suicide prevention lifeline. If someone tells you that they're contemplating suicide, take them seriously. Please don't make light of it or tell them that, "Oh, you're just going through a phase." Don't make them feel diminished. Don't make them feel weak. Seek professional help. If you are contemplating suicide, seek professional help. Call that suicide prevention lifeline. The number is 1-800-273-8255. We are losing too many lives to suicide from people who have stressors that outweigh their coping mechanisms. We must work together to prevent this loss of life.




This ends my overview of suicide warnings signs, risk factors, and prevention. If you feel like this information could help someone else, please share my video. If you want to hear about other health topics, please subscribe to my page. You can follow me on Instagram and all other social media platforms at Dr. Frita. As always, I want you to prioritize yourself, take care of you, and strive to live your healthiest, happiest life.


Dr. Frita - Frita McRae Fisher, M.D.
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