A Lifeline In Your Wallet: Suicide Prevention


The recent death of Robin Williams has put depression and suicide at the forefront of the news lately.

The media coverage might have stirred some uncomfortable feelings in people familiar with the depressive symptom of suicidal ideation, or thoughts of taking one's own life.

To give people in crisis ready access to help, SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) provides a FREE suicide prevention wallet card, available from the link below.

The card lists suicide warning signs and the phone number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, which is 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

Though the wallet cards are free, there may be a shipping charge, or you can choose to download a pdf version.

The Card’s Warning Signs

The warning signs of suicide listed on the wallet card are:

  • Talking about wanting to die or to kill oneself.
  • Looking for a means to kill oneself, such as purchasing a gun.
  • Talking about feeling hopeless or having no reason to live.
  • Talking about being in unbearable pain or feeling trapped.
  • Talking about being a burden to others.
  • An increased use of alcohol or drugs.
  • Acting anxious, agitated, or behaving recklessly.
  • Sleeping too little or too much.
  • Withdrawing or feeling isolated.
  • Displaying rage or talking about getting revenge.
  • Showing extreme mood swings.

The card notes that these signs may mean someone is at risk for suicide, and that the risk is greater if the behavior is new, or has escalated, and is related to a painful change, event, or loss.

About the Lifeline

By dialing the 1-800-273-TALK (8255), you connect to the crisis center in the Lifeline network closest to you. Callers hear a message indicating they have reached the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and will hear music playing as the call is routed. A skilled, trained crisis worker will respond. There is no charge, and the call is confidential.

The Lifeline is open to anyone who feels they are in crisis. People use the Lifeline for help with mental and physical illness, relationship and family issues, financial worries, substance abuse, and loneliness.

You can call the Lifeline anytime, 24/7. Another option is going to National Suicide Prevention LIfeline website (suicidepreventionlifeline.org) where you can click a button for online chat.

Source: SAMHSA
Photo credit: Elvert Barnes / flickr


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