Fostering Resilience: Facts About Suicide and What You Can Do

By Leslie Faulkner (LPCA) and Miranda Farthing (LPCA)

As of June 2018, suicide has been the 10th leading cause of death in the US, and its rate continues to increase each year. It is so important that we all learn the risk factors and warning signs for suicide in order to spread awareness and prevention. Previous suicide attempts, a history of suicide in the family, substance misuse, mood disorders, tragic losses, history of trauma, and access to lethal means are just some examples of events that may increase the risk for suicide. The CDC has reported that relationship problems are among the top risk factors for suicide, followed by crisis or substance use. Warning signs of suicide may include reckless behavior, drastic changes in mood, increased substance abuse, social withdrawal, and often talking about death. 

As a Licensed Professional Counseling Associate, it is imperative that I help a suicidal client identify their protective factors, or the client’s reasons for living. Common protective factors may include effective mental health treatment, strong social support, fear of death, and follow-up calls from providers. If you have a loved one who you feel is struggling with suicidal thoughts, always make sure to keep them safe and help them feel as connected as possible. Provide them the ongoing support, assess their home for lethal means to keep them safe, refer them for treatment, and, most importantly, listen to their needs.

Recently, the FCC has approved a plan to initiate a 3-Digit Suicide Prevention Number (988). If you or someone you love is struggling, keep in mind the risk factors and warning signs for suicide, and know that there is always help available.

Reach out to your closest relatives, friends, or seek professional help from a mental health counselor or therapist. You are invited to follow this suicide prevention and awareness three part series. Within this series we will address teen suicide; stats and prevention, what you can do if you are a parent/friend/third party of someone who is talking about suicide, and self-care; mental health first aid and what you can do to prevent mental illness and increase resilience in your own life.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (Available 24/7): 1-800-273-8255

About the Authors: Leslie Faulkner and Miranda Farthing are both Licensed Professional Counseling Associates with Emerald Therapy Center, LLC.