Suicide and Suicide Prevention

If you’re having suicidal thoughts, the pain you’re feeling is deep. It might seem like there is no way out, but there is. You matter. If you’re suffering from suicidal thoughts, you may feel there is a lack of understanding, care and support. Banner Health’s highly skilled, compassionate team is here for you. There is help, and there is hope.

Suicide is a difficult topic to discuss, however, it’s important to know the warning signs to look for and ways to help.

Banner Health’s caring staff is dedicated to helping patients in intense emotional or physical pain and their loved ones. Our mental health care team consists of doctors, nurses, clinical care managers and behavioral health technicians. We work together with you to develop an individual treatment plan to address your specific needs and help you achieve recovery. To get started, call the Banner Appointment Line at 1 (800) 254-4357 or (602) 254-4357. 

If you or a loved one is suffering severe distress or appears suicidal, call Banner Health at 1 (800) 254-4357 or (602) 254-4357, or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1 (800) 273-TALK. This hotline connects you with a behavior health professional who can help. It’s completely free and accessible 24 hours a day. Online chat is also available.

In an emergency, call 911.

What Causes Someone to Consider Suicide?

Suicidal thoughts are caused by a variety of circumstances and emotions. The onset often stems from feelings of hopelessness or loneliness. Additionally, other mental health conditions, such as depression, can increase a patient’s risk of suicide. 

Teens and young adults may be at risk as they often experience more intense emotions as their brain develops, making it more difficult to tolerate certain thoughts and feelings. 

Additionally, experiencing a major loss, accident or other trauma may cause a person to suffer such intense emotional distress it spurs suicidal thoughts.

How Does Mental Illness Impact Suicide Risk?

It’s important to remember depression is treatable and suicide can be prevented. Although research shows 90% of people who die by suicide have an existing mental illness, not everyone who is suicidal is depressed, and the majority of people with depression do not commit suicide.

People with depression have a chemical imbalance. If their depression worsens, their brain works to find a solution to the pain – leading to suicidal thoughts. This distorted thinking affects rational thought and can cause feelings of hopelessness and helplessness.

Other mental illnesses such as anxiety, schizophrenia, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), bipolar disorder and substance abuse also increase the risk of suicide.

Knowing the symptoms of depression {link to 2.4 Depression} and the warning signs of suicide can help people realize both are preventable and treatable.

What Are Warning Signs That Someone May Be Suicidal?

If you or a loved one shows any signs of suicidal thoughts, don’t delay in getting help. Even if you think it’s not an immediate risk, all thoughts of suicide warrant prompt attention.

Common signs and symptoms associated with suicidal thoughts include:

  • Changes in mood such as negative self-talk or increased anger/ irritability
  • Changes in sleeping habits
  • Expressing feelings of worthlessness or excessive guilt
  • Extreme mood swings
  • Fatigue
  • Giving away special items
  • Increased difficulty concentrating or making decisions
  • Increased use of alcohol or drugs
  • Loss of interest in favorite activities
  • Obsession with death
  • Reckless behavior
  • Expressing what seems to be a final goodbye
  • Seeking out a weapon, substance or location to commit suicide
  • Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge
  • Significant changes in appetite or weight
  • Statements about wanting to die or being a burden to others
  • Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain
  • Withdrawing or isolating

How to Help Prevent Suicide

One of the most important things you can do to help someone who is considering ending their life is to show you care:

  • Ask questions
  • Offer help
  • Tell them they’re not alone
  • Be there for them

Try to have an open and honest discussion about your concerns. Do not judge or diminish how the person feels. Knowing the warning signs, asking questions and taking action are the most important things you can do to help prevent suicide.

While you can’t make someone get help, you can:

  • Provide encouragement and support
  • Help them find a mental health provider
  • Offer to make the appointment
  • Offer to go with them to the appointment

Being there for someone who is suicidal can be difficult. Banner Health offers education and support {link to 6.0 Education & Support} to patients and their families. Our mental health care team encourages you to take care of yourself and get the help you need. We’re here to support you or your loved one through this.

Suicide Prevention Programs and Resources

Banner Health provides expert, supportive mental health education and resources to our local communities through resources and support groups for patients suffering with substance abuse, grief, mental health crises and other conditions.

Our compassionate team at Banner Behavioral Health Hospital, located in Scottsdale, Arizona, provides patients a therapeutic healing environment to begin the road to recovery with inpatient and outpatient services. We’re deeply committed to excellent patient care.

Additional resources:

What Is the Treatment for a Patient With Suicidal Thoughts?

First, your doctor will most likely conduct a physical exam and ask questions about your symptoms and health history to assess your mental and physical health. This diagnosis stage helps your doctor determine the best treatments.

Treatment for suicidal thoughts and behaviors varies based on suicide risk, underlying problems and current situation.

If you’ve attempted suicide, are injured or are at risk of hurting yourself, it’s important to get help immediately. In emergency situations, call 911.

For a non-crisis situation, you may need inpatient or outpatient treatment, including medication and psychotherapy (talk therapy).

Banner Health builds each patient an individualized treatment plan to meet their specific needs and goals. Your dedicated care team works with you and your family to ensure treatment is effective and you experience a smooth transition of services across health care providers.