Everyone Has A Role In Preventing Suicide

Apr 29,2024

Read Time 8 Minutes

Suicide doesn’t discriminate. It can affect people from any walk of life — no matter their race, age, gender, or income.
When it comes to preventing suicide, we all have a part to play. Knowing the suicide warning signs and risk factors — and what you can do to help — could save a life.

Understanding The Situation


Typically, people who are dealing with suicidal thoughts are in pain — mental, physical, or emotional — and they have lost hope things can change for the better. Many believe no one can help them, and they’re overwhelmed with negative thoughts. Most people who are thinking of suicide don’t want to die, just find an end to their suffering.


Risk Factors


There is rarely one single reason for someone to consider suicide. Some risk factors can increase the chance of a suicide attempt, including: 


  • Mental or behavioral health conditions, such as depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or substance use disorder. 
  • Stressful life events, such as divorce, losing a job, financial problems, bullying, or the loss of a loved one. 
  • History as a victim or offender of a violent crime. 
  • Knowing someone who has died by suicide, especially a family member. 


Suicide Warning Signs


If you think a loved one may be at risk for suicide, look for changes in the way they speak and act. Warning signs of suicide include:: 


  • Acting in ways that are unusual or worrisome. 
  • Differences in exercise, eating, or sleep habits. 
  • Giving away belongings or saying goodbye.
  • Increased alcohol or drug use. 
  • Prolonged mood changes, such as persistent anxiety, sadness, or anger. 
  • Talk of feeling hopeless, trapped, or in pain. 
  • Talk about death or suicide. 
  • Withdrawing from family and friends. 


Learn other suicide warning signs from the National Institute of Mental Health.



Your Role In Preventing Suicide


Take any signs that someone might be considering suicide seriously. If you are concerned about someone close to you,  these six actions you can take



Reach out

Ask direct questions, such as: “Are you thinking about suicide?” or “Have you tried to harm yourself?” Allowing someone who’s hurting to open up in a safe space may actually reduce suicidal thoughts. 


Allow the person to talk openly through what they’re thinking and feeling and take their answers seriously. Let them know you care.

Build connections

Help them create a network of people to talk to when they’re struggling. Start by encouraging them to see their regular doctor and a therapist right away.

Keep them safe

Do what you can to reduce access to means of self-harm, such as guns, prescription medicines, razors, or knives. Encourage them to call, text, or chat the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline (988 or 988lifeline.org) if they’re dealing with suicidal thoughts — it’s free, confidential, and available 24/7. Save the number as an emergency contact in their phone. 

Know when to get more help

If someone you know has made a suicide attempt or says they have plans to do so, seek help right away. Don’t leave the person alone — call 911 or take them to an emergency room. 


You can also call, text, or chat the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline to talk with a crisis counselor. They can offer support and connect you with local resources.

Follow up

Staying in touch after a crisis makes a difference. Keep reaching out, even after you think they may be feeling better.

Finding Help


If you need support, Anthem has resources available to help, including:


  • or those with an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) through Anthem, you can find professional, confidential counseling for you and your household members, including a set number of visits per issue per year at no extra cost. To begin, log in at anthem.com/eap.*
  • So learn more about how your Anthem plan supports mental health, log in to anthem.com or the Sydney Health app or call the Member Services number on your health plan ID card.

Again, if you or a loved one is in crisis or experiencing an emergency, call the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline at 988, call 911, or go to the nearest emergency room immediately



Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Risk and Protective Factors (November2, 2022): cdc.gov.

National Institutes of Mental Health: Suicide Prevention (August 2023): nimh.nih.gov.

National Institutes of Mental Health: Frequently Asked Questions About Suicide (2023): nimh.nih.gov.


* These services are specific to those with an EAP through Anthem or an Anthem health plan. Similar services may differ with other health insurers or EAP providers.


Online counseling is not appropriate for all kinds of problems. If you are in crisis or have suicidal thoughts, it’s important that you seek help immediately. Please call 988 (National Suicide Prevention Lifeline) and ask for help. If your issue is an emergency, call 911 or go to your nearest emergency room.


EAP products are offered by Anthem Insurance Companies, Inc.


Sydney Health is offered through an arrangement with Carelon Digital Platforms, a separate company offering mobile application services on behalf of your health plan. ©2023


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