Suicide Prevention is Everyone's Business

September has an important focus on preventing suicide. Everyone has a role in saving a life. Each of us can learn how to help those who are in so much pain that they want to end their lives.

Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States, with one suicide occurring on average every 11.9 minutes. Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death among 15 to 24-year-olds.

National Suicide Prevention Week is September 9th through 15th. This year’s theme is “Suicide Prevention is Everyone’s Business.” Share the message of hope.

There are actions we can take when we think someone wants to end his or her life. Talking about suicide will not put the idea into his or her head. Instead, the person may feel relief that they finally can share and talk about it. Saying things out loud may help the person hear it for the first time. It may help them bring a new look to the problem.

    • “I have the feeling you are thinking about suicide but are having trouble bringing it up.”
    • “Are you thinking about suicide?”
    • “Are you thinking about ending your life?”
    • “Sometimes people in certain situations feel suicidal. Have you been thinking about killing yourself?”
    • Listen and Look for warning signs/risk factors.
    • Ask what is causing the distress.
    • Find out what is important to the person and why they may choose to live.
    • “Do you have a plan to kill yourself?”
      • Ask How, Where, When, and if they have the means in place (Do they have a gun/pills/rope or whatever they plan to use?)
    • Remove means, like guns and pills. Check with your local police to see if they can keep the gun there.
    • Offer your support in getting help from a professional.
    • Don't leave the person alone once you have learned he or she is at risk.
    • Remind the person that seeking help for depression isn't a sign of weakness. Let him know that the chances for getting better are excellent.

Adapted from: NE State Suicide Prevention Coalition and American Association of Suicidology

If you or someone you know is in crisis and needs help, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK(8255), or use the Crisis Text Line: Text HOME to 741 741, or go to your local emergency room.

Learn what’s happening locally. Think about joining a coalition.

  • Seward County has a Suicide Prevention Coalition. The focus is on prevention, awareness, education, and help to those who have had a loss due to suicide.
  • Other local coalitions offer education and outreach events about suicide prevention along with their other priorities: York County Prevention Network, York End of Life Coalition, Polk County Substance Abuse Coalition, Butler Believes in Youth Coalition, and Seward County Prevention Coalition.
  • A local LOSS (Local Outreach to Suicide Survivors) Team is being formed. This team is a volunteer group of trained survivors and mental health providers, who provide hope and support for those impacted by suicide.

Suicide prevention training is offered locally. Four Corners staff, Region V Systems, and others are equipped to bring a training to your site. The training helps participants be more confident and equipped in offering help to someone in crisis.

For more information on this topic or to get involved, call Four Corners Health Department @ 877-337-3573. Send email to Be ready to listen and to offer hope.