Anyone Can Help Prevent Suicide. Learn the Signs During Suicide Prevention Awareness Month.

If you or a loved one is thinking about suicide, please call the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline by dialing 988. Trained staff are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week all year.

Suicide is a public health issue, a leading cause of death across the nation and across the Commonwealth, and can have lasting harmful effects on individuals, families, and communities. Mental health well-being, which affects how someone feels, thinks, and acts can be associated with suicide, but other factors play a role as well. These factors can include a history of trauma, relationship problems, substance use, physical health challenges, job stressors, and financial and legal problems.

Anyone can help prevent suicide. While many situations are different, there are often key signs that a friend, family member, or coworker is thinking about suicide and could use help.

Each September, Suicide Prevention Awareness Month is observed across the nation and in Virginia. This is a time to raise awareness about suicide prevention, educate the public about everyone’s part in preventing it, and to help individuals, families, and communities stay connected.

Warning signs for suicide may include:

  • Talking about wanting to die or to kill themselves.
  • Looking for a way to kill themselves.
  • 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, agitated, or behaving in a reckless way.
  • Sleeping too little or too much.
  • Withdrawing or isolating themselves.
  • Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge.
  • Extreme mood swings.

What should you do if you have one or more of these concerns for someone?

  • While it can be difficult, talk to the person without judging them.
  • Ask them if they are thinking about suicide.
  • Make sure you know where to find help.

What is the Virginia Department of Health doing to help prevention suicide?

  • Identifying and helping people at risk.
  • Increasing help seeking behaviors.
  • Making sure someone can get treatment.
  • Supporting safe care and the ability to receive treatment.
  • Helping those in crisis in the best possible way.
  • Making sure help is available long-term after someone dies from suicide.
  • Enhancing life skills and resilience.
  • Promoting connectedness.

To learn more about Virginia’s and national suicide prevention programs, or to find training and resources, visit the following websites:

988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline

Veterans Crisis Line

Resources – Suicide Prevention (

Suicide Prevention Awareness Month (SPAM) | NAMI: National Alliance on Mental Illness

Suicide Prevention | Suicide | CDC

If you are someone with lived experience or are interested in joining suicide prevention work throughout the state, send your information and request to the Suicide Prevention Interagency Advisory Group (SPIAG), by completing the form on the VDH SPIAG page.