Substance Use

Suicide Risk & Prevention Counseling

hope in hands with yellow ribbon

Table of Contents

Get Help Now

check insurance
Check your insurance by using our Online Form
call us
Talk to someone now.
Call (855) 430-9439

It’s important to talk about suicide and how to help people who are thinking about hurting themselves. Being kind to people who might need help and showing them how to deal with hard times are all parts of this. Making sure they can talk about their thoughts without fear and know that someone gets it is the most important thing.

This helps make their thoughts of sadness or wanting to give up less powerful. By stepping in early and sticking by their side, helpers play a big role in helping those having a hard time feel better and hopeful again.

Certain suicide prevention steps need to be taken, such as using mental health tools, drug support programs, and projects that reach out to the community. Taking a broad look at these problems that are linked will help us help people get better and go back to being healthy.

When we talk about mental health care, it’s crucial to focus on preventing suicide by offering the right support at the right time. Helpers use special methods to spot those who may be thinking of harming themselves. They then provide caring support and teach these individuals how to overcome difficult situations without giving up hope. (1)

The goal is to create an environment where everyone feels listened to and accepted so that dark thoughts don’t take over. Early help from these dedicated supporters can guide people from despair toward healing and optimism.

Call us
Ready to get help?
(855) 430-9439
Why call us? Why call us

Signs And Symptoms Of Suicidal Tendencies

The risk of suicide is increased by certain situations and conditions, including: (2)

  • Substance use disorder
  • Mental health conditions (i.e., bipolar disorder, depression, anxiety)
  • Trauma
  • Previous suicide attempts
  • Chronic pain and/or physical illness
  • Catastrophic life events (i.e., job loss, divorce, death in the family, bullying/abuse)
  • Access to the means of suicide (i.e., firearms, pills)

If you’re facing an emotionally or physically overwhelming situation or co-occurring disorders, it can feel like suicide is the only way to end the pain. In 2021, there were 48,183 suicides in the US, equating to one death every 11 minutes.

It’s estimated that around half of these individuals had a recognized mental health condition, though this figure might actually be higher due to underreporting of such conditions. (3)

It may be difficult to know if a person is at significant risk for suicide, as many people take pains to hide the severity of their situation. However, there are often indications of severe emotional distress.

  • Increased substance abuse
  • Talking about death and dying
  • Behavioral health problems
  • Mood disorders
  • Alcohol dependence
  • Expressing a sense of hopelessness or worthlessness
  • Dramatic withdrawal from people and activities
  • Risky or reckless behavior

What You Can Do to Help If Suicidal Behavior Is Occurring

When faced with a situation where someone might be exhibiting suicidal behavior, it’s crucial to act thoughtfully and promptly. If someone is in immediate danger, you need to call 911.

If someone is not in immediate danger, there are detailed steps you can take to provide support and potentially save a life if you or your loved ones are showing signs of suicidal thoughts or self-harm. (4)

Recognize the Warning Signs

Firstly, being aware of warning signs is vital. These may include:

  • Talking about wanting to die or kill oneself
  • Searching for methods online
  • Expressing feelings of hopelessness or having no reason to live
  • Withdrawing from social interactions
  • Extreme mood swings
  • Giving away prized possessions (5)

This can come in the form of mental illness and can affect the general population. If someone you know is showing signs of mental illness or a dual diagnosis, it’s important to recognize this.

Engage in Open Conversation

  1. Start a Dialogue: Approach the person gently but directly by asking questions like “I’ve noticed you’re going through some tough times lately. Do you want to talk about it?” It’s important not just what you say but how you say it—speak calmly and without judgment.
  2. Listen Actively: Give them your full attention. Listen more than speak; sometimes, an individual needs a safe space to feel heard.
  3. Express Concern: Let them know why you’re worried in specific terms: “I’ve noticed you haven’t been yourself lately,” followed by examples.

Offer Support

Urge them to consider consulting with mental health experts, such as therapists or counselors who specialize in suicide prevention. These professionals can offer the guidance and support needed to navigate this challenging time. (6)

  1. Remain Present: Understand that being physically there might not always be feasible; however, reassure them of your unwavering support by saying, “Even if I cannot be right beside you at this moment, know that I am here for you.”
  2. Prompt Urgent Action When Necessary: During crises, emphasize the importance of seeking immediate help. This could mean calling crisis hotlines or contacting emergency services to ensure safety first and foremost.
  3. Stay Connected Post-Crisis: Communication after a critical incident shows you care. Regularly touching base through texts, calls, or face-to-face meetings—depending on what feels most appropriate for both parties—plays a role in their journey toward recovery. 

Suicide Risk & Prevention Counseling

The problem of suicide is a major public health issue that affects people and towns all over the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) say that about 1.3 million Americans try to kill themselves every year. This shows how important it is to have effective ways to measure risk and stop suicide. (7)

The Scope of Suicide in America

  • Annual Figures: Beyond attempts, nearly 45,000 Americans die by suicide annually. (8)
  • Demographic Variations: While suicide can affect anyone regardless of age, gender, or background, certain groups are at higher risk. For example:
    • Young adults aged between 18 to 25 years show notably high rates of suicidal thoughts. (9)
    • Men are more likely than women to die by suicide, but women attempt it more often.
    • Veterans face particularly acute challenges that elevate their risk significantly.

Alcohol and Drug Abuse Common in Suicides

Substance abuse, including alcohol and drugs, is often a significant factor contributing to suicides. The relationship between substance misuse and suicidal behavior is complex but deeply intertwined. (10)

Alcohol and certain drugs can impair judgment, lower inhibitions, increase impulsivity, and exacerbate feelings of despair or hopelessness— all of which heighten the risk of suicide.

  1. Impaired Judgment: Substances like alcohol can cloud one’s thinking, leading individuals to make decisions they might not otherwise consider if sober.
  2. Heightened Impulsivity: Drugs that increase impulsiveness can cause snap decisions without considering the long-term consequences.
  3. Worsening Mental Health Conditions: Many people turn to substances as a form of self-medication for untreated mental health issues such as depression or anxiety. Unfortunately, this often worsens their condition over time. (11)
  4. Social Isolation: Substance abuse may lead to strained relationships with friends and family members, leaving individuals feeling isolated—a known risk factor for suicide.

Research shows a strong correlation between substance abuse disorders (SUD) and increased risks of suicide attempts or completions:

  • Individuals with an alcohol abuse problem are about six times more likely than those without to attempt suicide.
  • Alcohol intoxication is present in approximately 22% of cases involving suicides. (12)

The relationship between addiction and suicide has garnered significant attention from mental health professionals, researchers, and public health advocates alike. (13)

Addiction—encompassing a range of substances, including alcohol, drug use, prescription medications, and illicit drugs like opiates—can influence an individual’s mental state, worsening existing difficulties or creating new ones that may lead to suicidal thoughts or actions.

Psychological Impact: The Role of Brain Chemistry

Substance abuse doesn’t merely affect one physically; it deeply influences brain chemistry, altering mood regulation and cognitive functions. This disruption can trigger spirals into depression and anxiety disorders—conditions closely linked with heightened suicidal ideation. (14)

As individuals navigate through these mental health challenges without adequate support or intervention from psychiatry professionals, the risk of contemplating or attempting suicide increases significantly.

Social and Economic Consequences: Beyond Personal Struggles

The effects of drug abuse go beyond the person who is abusing drugs; they affect relationships with others and the economy as a whole. The social shame surrounding addiction makes people feel alone and cuts them off from community connections that could help them feel better.

This alienation compounds feelings of hopelessness—a catalyst for suicidal thoughts—as individuals perceive themselves as burdensome within society. (15)

The financial strain often accompanying addiction—from job loss to reduced productivity, even direct costs of obtaining substances—creates stress and despair. This furthers the belief there is no way out of the cycle of suffering to achieve recovery.

Impaired Judgment & Decision-Making: A Dangerous Mix

When under the influence of intoxicating substances, judgment and decision-making become compromised. This impairment leads to lowered inhibitions, increased impulsiveness, and dangerous traits when coupled with acute emotional distress.

The vulnerability and intense emotions may result in impulsive harmful actions. Sometimes irreversible consequences manifest from self-harm suicide attempts.

Facts About Suicide And Suicide Prevention

Suicide, often shrouded in silence and stigma, is a growing public health crisis that demands attention. In the United States, the trajectory of suicide rates has been on an alarming incline annually since 2006. (16)

As a disclaimer, this stark increase underscores not only the pervasiveness of mental health challenges but also highlights systemic gaps in addressing them effectively.

  • Historical Trends: Since 2006, each subsequent year has witnessed a relentless rise in suicides across various demographics according to national surveys. (17)
  • Current Statistics: Recent data reveal that nearly 45,000 Americans lose their lives to suicide yearly. This is a large leading cause of death for the general population. (18)
  • Communication Beforehand: Alarmingly, over 20 percent of individuals who succumb to suicide had previously disclosed their intentions to someone—a fact that emphasizes the importance of taking every sign seriously. (19)

Suicide remains one of the most pressing public health issues globally, affecting individuals across all demographics. The journey towards suicide prevention is paved with education, understanding, and compassionate intervention.

  1. Global Impact: According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 700,000 people die due to suicide every year, making it a leading cause of death worldwide. (20)
  2. Youth at Risk: Suicide is the fourth leading cause of death among 15 to 29-year-olds globally. Young adults and adolescents face unique pressures that can contribute to suicidal thoughts and behaviors. (21)
  3. Gender Disparities: While more women may attempt suicide, mortality rates from suicide are significantly higher among men in most parts of the world—nearly three times higher in certain regions, according to WHO data.
  4. Accessibility: Access to means for self-harm greatly influences suicide rates; methods vary culturally but commonly include firearms, pesticides, and medication overdoses.

Suicide Prevention

Navigating the complexities of adolescence and young adulthood poses significant challenges, often taking a toll on mental health. Suicide prevention in these age groups is paramount, given their susceptibility to suicidal ideation due to developmental, social, and emotional pressures.

Below are several effective approaches for aiding young adults and adolescents with suicide prevention: 

  1. Directly Addressing Suicide: Asking compassionate yet direct questions like “Are you considering self-harm?” opens the door for honest conversation. It’s important to be clear but sensitive in your approach.
  2. Reducing Access to Means: Limiting access to firearms and closely monitoring medications can prevent impulsive suicide attempts.
  3. Providing Supportive Listening: Validating feelings and offering support through active listening demonstrates empathy. Avoiding judgment is key.
  4. Connecting to Professional Resources: Linking struggling young people with youth-friendly therapists and counselors trained in adolescent issues assists intervention. Many schools and communities offer specialized programs.
  5. Maintaining Ongoing Connections: Consistent communication and continued support, even post-crisis, reinforce the availability of long-term assistance. This ongoing connection emphasizes that help is always within reach.

Incorporating mental health education into school curricula and community events helps destigmatize discussions around mental health and suicide. Collaborative efforts among parents, educators, and healthcare providers are essential in creating a supportive environment for youth. (22)

Treatment Options For Co-Occurring Disorders and Suicidal Tendencies

When people have both mental health problems (like depression or anxiety) and substance abuse problems at the same time, it makes it even more important to have specialized care plans that deal with both issues successfully.

The purpose of this introduction is to explain how integrated treatment choices can help people who are dealing with suicidal thoughts and co-occurring disorders at the same time. People who are dealing with these problems can find hope and ways to heal in these choices.

Support in a Crisis Right Away: When you call for help, you’ll be met by experienced professionals who are ready to help and support you right away in a crisis. They know how to correctly assess the situation and suggest the next steps or emergency actions that need to be taken. (23)

Customized Therapy Plans: Our therapists work with each person to make a unique therapy plan because they know that each person’s mental health problems need a unique method. Some options are cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), and other standard methods that can lower suicidal ideas and build coping skills.

Medication Evaluation and Management: Medications can be very helpful for treating underlying mental illnesses that make suicide more likely. Our psychiatrists carefully consider whether medication could be a successful part of your general treatment plan. They make sure that any prescriptions are safely monitored and work well with your other treatments.

Support Groups and Peer Networks: Finding support and understanding through shared situations is a big part of the road to recovery. We give people access to a range of support groups, drug treatment, treatment programs, and peer networks where they can connect with others going through similar issues and find comfort. This creates an environment of understanding and support.

Holistic Wellness Approaches: Along with traditional treatments and medicines, we also believe that holistic practices are important for improving health as a whole. Participants can do yoga, mindfulness meditation, nutritional counseling, and stress-reduction methods, all of which are meant to improve the quality of life, not just deal with crises. (24)

Don’t Let Suicide Deaths Increase; Get Treatment Options Today

At Zinnia Health, we are deeply committed to preventing suicide by providing a wide range of treatment options tailored to meet the unique needs of each individual. Our team of licensed therapists and medical professionals is specially trained in recognizing and addressing the factors that contribute to suicidal thoughts and behaviors. If you or someone close to you is facing such challenges, seek help or substance abuse treatment.

Reach out immediately by calling us at (855) 430-9439. Our compassionate staff is available around the clock, every day of the week, ready to support you through this difficult time.


Call us
Ready to get help?
(855) 430-9439
Why call us? Why call us