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Suicide Awareness

Suicide is continuously among the top 10 causes of death in Florida. In 2009, 2,854 Floridians took their own lives in 2009, more than 7 per day. The rate is especially high among those aged 15 to 34 and is the third leading cause of death for those in the 15-34 age group.

Equally disturbing are the number of young people who have contemplated or attempted suicide.  In 2009, approximately 45,300 high school students (6.5%) attempted suicide one or more times during the past 12 months, according to results of the 2009 Florida Youth Risk Behavior Survey.  (Upload and embed link)

Over 90% of suicide victims have a significant psychiatric illness or substance abuse disorder at the time of their death. These are often undiagnosed, untreated, or both.

The statistics underscore the need for early treatment of people experiencing a mental health crisis and for family members, friends, teachers and others to be aware of the warning signs that someone needs help.

What Are The Warning Signs For Suicide?

Suicide victims come from all age groups and backgrounds. While there is no “typical” suicide victim, there are common warning signs. Being aware of these signs may prevent someone from getting to the point where he or she feels the need to act on thoughts of suicide.

Seek help as soon as possible by contacting a mental health professional or by calling the Florida Crisis Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK if you or someone you know exhibits any of the following signs:

  • Threatening to hurt or kill oneself or talking about wanting to hurt or kill oneself
  • Looking for ways to kill oneself by seeking access to firearms, available pills, or other means
  • Talking or writing about death, dying, or suicide when these actions are out of the ordinary for the person
  • Feeling hopeless
  • Feeling rage or uncontrolled anger or seeking revenge
  • Acting reckless or engaging in risky activities – seemingly without thinking
  • Feeling trapped – like there’s no way out
  • Increasing alcohol or drug use
  • Withdrawing from friends, family, and society
  • Feeling anxious, agitated, or unable to sleep or sleeping all the time
  • Experiencing dramatic mood changes
  • Seeing no reason for living or having no sense of purpose in life

Many people have these risk factors, but are not suicidal.  However, if someone you know has these symptoms, you should encourage them to seek help.

Helpful Resources


National Suicide Prevention Resource Center

Suicide Prevention Project at University of South Florida

Society for the Prevention of Teen Suicide


After a Suicide: A Toolkit for Schools, by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

Assessing Suicide Risks: Initial Tips for Counselors, published by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

Toolkit on Suicide Prevention for Senior Living Communities

Depression: What You Need To Know, Brochure

What Physicians Need to Know About Depression, Medications and Suicide, Brochure

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