This page contains a cross-section of links to information about suicide statistics, trends, warning signs, risk factors, the keys to effective responses to high-risk individuals (including children, adolescents, adults, elderly, survivors of suicide loss, etc.), current research, etc.

It is provided by Samaritans to serve as an additional source of helpful information, guidelines and resources that can be utilized by family members and friends, health providers and caregivers, and others who respond to or work with those at-risk for suicide. We hope this information is helpful in supporting your efforts to care for and respond to those you know and work with who may be in distress or crisis.

Introduction to Suicide

Understanding Suicide, Fact Sheet
Basic introduction to the topic, easy-to-read, with key information. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

An Introduction to Suicide
(see pages 10-20 of the National Strategy for Suicide Prevention)
Provides an introduction to suicide, its prevalence amongst different ages, groups, and geographic regions, statistics and references to studies and reports, key terms, risk and protective factors. National Strategy for Suicide Prevention (NSSP)

How You Can Play a Role in Preventing Suicide
Information sheet with facts about suicide, warning signs, and what you can do. National Strategy for Suicide Prevention (NSSP)

Depression (Easy to Read)
Information to assist the reader in gaining an overview and basic understanding of depression, its symptoms and key methods of providing help. National Institute of Mental Health

Suicide and Depression Q & A
Questions and answers document that examines major concerns people might have about suicide and responding to someone who is depressed or suicidal. Suicide Awareness Voices of Education (SAVE)

Symptoms of Major Depression
Easy-to-understand lists of risk factors and warning signs in children, adolescents, adults and the elderly. Suicide Awareness Voices of Education (SAVE)

Statistics and Trends

Suicide in the U.S.: Statistics and Prevention
Information overview of statistics, risk factors, trends by age, sex and ethnicity, about suicide attempts, etc. National Institute of Mental Health

Suicide: Facts at a Glance
An overview of fatal and non-fatal behaviors, gender disparities, racial and ethnic disparities and suicidal behavior among high-school students, with references. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

National Suicide Statistics and Trends
Detailed national statistics and trends presented with charts and graphs. Data includes: number of suicides in the U.S.; leading causes of death in the U.S.; suicide rates by state and county; suicide rates among different age groups, by race/ethnicity, by sex, method used, etc.; fatal and nonfatal suicidal behaviors; data from the Youth Risk Behavior Survey. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Risk and Protective Factors

The first step is to know the warning signs, risk factors and protective factors associated with suicide. To visit our own section on Warning Signs, click here.

Warning Signs, Risk and Protective Factors for Youth
Go to pages 32-42 and 215-223 for a comprehensive listing of warning signs, risk factors and protective factors for youth. Created specific to youth suicide prevention, this publication is helpful to anyone who cares for adolescents, from parents to healthcare providers. Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) (free)

Risk and Protective Factors for Suicide
Basic clinical overview of risk and protective factors including biopsychosocial, environmental and sociocultural. Suicide Prevention Resource Center (SPRC)

How Do You Remember the Warning Signs of Suicide?
An easy-to-remember mnemonic: IS PATH WARM that provides caregivers with the basic warning signs of suicide. American Association of Suicidology (AAS)

Suicide: Risk and Protective Factors
A list of the combination of individual, relational, community and societal factors that contribute to the risk of suicide. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Assessing and Determining Risk

Detecting & Treating Depression in Adults
NYC DOHMH provides tools for recognizing depression, assessing suicide risk (includes PHQ-2 & PHQ-9 depression screening questionanaires), information about medication, managing suicidal patients and treatment options. NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene

Columbia-Suicide Severity Rating Scale (C-SSRS)
Frequently used in clinical practice to assess suicidality in adolescents and adults. Assesses behavior, ideation, lethality and severity; and distinguishes between suicidal occurrences and non-suicidal self-injury. Multiple versions/languages. Columbia University Medical Center

Safety Planning Guide
Explains goals, methods and design involved in developing a safety plan of coping strategies and sources of support for patients who have been deemed high risk for suicide. Accompanied by a safety plan template. Suicide Prevention Resource Center (SPRC) (click “Safety Planning Guide” and “Patient Safety Plan Template”)

Responding to Someone Who is Depressed or in Crisis
It is beneficial to have a plan in mind before attempting to help an individual who is depressed or in distress. Though crisis response and public health experts may use different approaches when responding to someone in distress, this document details those most commonly used. The Samaritans of New York
Click here.

Skills and Tools

Examining Myths about Suicide
To identify and begin addressing some of the most common myths and misconceptions people have about suicide, click here.

Befriending a Person in Crisis
A basic overview of the approach to take and process to follow when responding to a person who is depressed, in crisis or suicidal based on the practices of the Samaritans of New York. The Samaritans of New York
Click here.

An Introduction to Effective Active Listening
Learn the key tools used in crisis communications. The Samaritans of New York
Click here.

Crisis Communications Model and Determining Degree of Risk Procedure
A step-by-step rapport-building assessment procedure that can be utilized when communicating with people of every age, culture, background or identity that will assist you in establishing rapport, exploring the situation, and assessing the degree of risk to help decide what other protocols or services are necessary. The Samaritans of New York
Click here.

Checklist for Responding to a Person in Distress
This document provides a basic overview of the steps to follow, questions to ask and the issues to be addressed when responding to a person who is in need of emotional support or a crisis response. The Samaritans of New York
Click here.

Basic Suicide Prevention Planning
This document presents guidelines providing an initial step in the development of a site-based suicide prevention/crisis response plan that can be utilized at any school, program or facility that cares for, responds to or treats individuals who may experience distress or a crisis. The Samaritans of New York
Click here.

Responding to Children and Youth

An overview of the relationship between the family unit and a suicidal adolescent family member, including the family as risk factor, protective factor, keys to modifying suicidal behavior and action steps that can be taken. The section on families starts on page 77. New York State Office of Mental Health

Special Populations, Adolescents
An overview of the risk and protective factors tied to adolescents as well as methods to enhance support systems, guidelines for helping for parents, peers, lay and professional caregivers, etc. The section on adolescents starts on page 37. New York State Office of Mental Health

NYU Child Study Center
Evaluation, therapy and specialized treatments for children and adolescents with psychiatric and learning disorders (anxiety, mood, ADHD, autism, sexual identity, eating disorders, etc.); website provides tips on seeking professional help for children, how disorders present in youth, symptoms tied to mania, depression, etc., A-Z disorder guide, mental health provider directory, medication guide, etc. New York University

Safeguarding Your Students Against Suicide, Expanding the Safety Net
Comprehensive report on findings of expert panel on Vulnerability, Depressive Symptoms and Suicidal Behavior on College Campuses. Jed Foundation

Training Aids and Resources for School Professionals
Information, training aids, resources on topics that include violence prevention, child abuse and neglect, children of substance abuse, bullying, bereavement, suicide prevention, cultural competence, etc. Listserv allows school providers to ask and share information and technical assistance. UCLA School Mental Health Project

Preventing Suicide: A Toolkit for High Schools
A guide designed to assist high schools and school districts in designing and implementing strategies to prevent suicide and promote behavioral health. Includes tools to implement a multi-faceted suicide prevention program that responds to the needs and cultures of students and families. Also, handouts and sample protocols for both school staff and parents that address many topics: suggested steps to help support and engage parents in the process; prevention facts for parents; risk and protective factors specific to youth; sample protocol for responding to a student suicide attempt; screening tools; etc. Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)

Suicide Risk and Prevention Amongst Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Youth
An overview of incidence of suicidal behavior among lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth as well as recommendations for responding to suicide risk amongst this population. Topics addressed include stigma, risk and protective factors, current prevention initiatives and models, and issues to consider when responding to certain higher risk subpopulations of LGBT youth (homeless, runaway, foster care, juvenile justice). Suicide Prevention Resource Center (SPRC)

Parents and Families as Caregivers

For Parents, Important Things to Remember
An overview and guide for parents on how to respond if your child is depressed or suicidal, including how to talk to him/her, questions to ask teachers and friends and what to do. Society for the Prevention of Teen Suicide

Facts for Families, Children’s Threats: When Are They Serious?
A guide to responding to children who are potentially suicidal, what to say, what threats should be taken seriously and what parents should do if they are concerned. American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry

The College Years: Protecting Your Child’s Mental Health: What Can Parents Do?
A guide for parents who have children applying to or preparing to enter college in terms of understanding your child’s personality and the proper “fit” with the college, understanding the available mental health services and identifying your child’s personal, emotional, medical and other needs. Jed Foundation

Mental Health: Transitioning from High School to College
Online resource to help parents and students focus on emotional health before, during and after the college transition (especially for young people who are already dealing with some form of depression or other mental illness and needing continuity of mental health services); provides information to help identify, address and manage the treatment of emotional problems, stress, depression, etc. during this transition. Jed Foundation’s Transition Year Project

Responding to Adults

Men and Depression, An Overview
A clinical overview of the types, symptoms, causes and other major factors tied to depression in men of various ages, including research, keys to diagnostic evaluation and treatment and how family and friends can help. National Institute of Mental Health

Men and Depression: Brochure
The “It takes courage to ask for help” brochure provides information about depression in men presented in an easy-to-read format, that includes signs and symptoms, possible causes, treatment options and ways to help a loved one who is depressed. National Institute of Mental Health (English) (Spanish)

Women and Depression, An Overview
A clinical overview of the various forms of depression in women including warning signs and symptoms, causes of depression in women, how it affects adolescent and older women, how to help a friend or family member. National Institute of Mental Health

Women and Depression: Booklet
“Discovering Hope” is a free online booklet with detailed information about women and depression, including how depression can present differently in women than men, illnesses that often coexist with depression, how it affects adolescent girls and older women, postpartum depression, treatment options, and ways to help a loved one who is depressed. National Institute of Mental Health

Women’s Mental Health
Provides a broad range of information, fact sheets, articles and additional resources tied to many of the mental health related issues affecting women and girls today, ranging from depression, anxiety disorders and suicide to substance abuse, sexual trauma, eating disorders, caregiver stress, and infertility, pregnancy and mental health. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Women’s Health

Depression During and After Pregnancy: A Resource for Women, Their Families, and Friends
Explores the causes, symptoms and risk factors associated with Perinatal Depression, advice for fathers, family and friends as well as a checklist to use to self-evaluate and additional resources to turn to for support. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration

Responding to the Elderly

Older Adults and Depression
Basic overview of the statistics on depression and suicide in older adults, the role depression plays, medication and current research. National Institute of Mental Health

Elderly Suicide Fact Sheet
Basic fact sheet covering statistics, rates, the impact of suicide, means and methods and risk factors of the elderly. American Association of Suicidology (AAS)

Elderly Depression
Basic examination of the myths tied to elderly depression, the warning signs and risk factors, where and how to respond to an elderly person who is depressed or suicidal. University of Florida, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS)

Older Adult Suicide Prevention Resources
Information sheets and overviews for professionals on preventing suicide in older adults. Suicide Prevention Resource Center (SPRC)

Promoting Emotional Health and Preventing Suicide: A Toolkit for Senior Living Communities
Free download containing resources to help staff in senior living communities promote emotional health and prevent suicide among their residents. Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)

Responding to Survivors of Suicide Loss

Survivors of Suicide Loss
An introduction intended to develop sensitivity and understanding that will assist friends, family members and providers in responding to someone who has lost a loved one to suicide (“suicide survivor”). Suicide Prevention Resource Center (SPRC)

Survivors of Suicide Loss–Resources and Information
A detailed bibliography of clinical studies, research and guides focusing on a wide variety of topics, including postvention, caregiver support, tips for professionals, recommendations for clergy, lists of support groups, etc. tied to responding to those who have lost a loved one to suicide. Suicide Prevention Resource Center (SPRC)

Support Groups
An interactive webpage that will assist the user in finding a support group for someone who has lost a loved one to suicide, including location and contact information. American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

For Lay and Professional Providers

The Role of Faith Community Leaders in Preventing Suicide
An overview and guide for professional members of the clinical community on responding to and providing support and treatment to those who are depressed and suicidal, with references and resources. Suicide Prevention Resource Center (SPRC)

The Role of High School Mental Health Providers in Preventing Suicide
An overview and guide for mental health staff in the high school setting on responding to and providing support and treatment to students who are depressed and suicidal, with references and resources. Suicide Prevention Resource Center (SPRC)

The Role of EMS Providers in Preventing Suicide
An overview and guide for EMS providers on responding to patients who may be at risk for suicide or have attempted suicide, helping suicide survivors, and getting involved in suicide prevention. Suicide Prevention Resource Center (SPRC)

The Role of Law Enforcement Officers in Preventing Suicide
An overview and guide for law enforcement officers on identifying and responding to people who may be at risk for suicide or have attempted suicide, helping suicide loss survivors at the scene, and getting involved in suicide prevention. Suicide Prevention Resource Center (SPRC)

Additional Resources/Libraries

Suicide Prevention Resource Center (SPRC)
The SPRC is a SAMHSA-funded agency that serves as a national library/research organization that compiles and disseminates a broad spectrum of research, state and local plans, evaluations, training and other resource materials.

Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
Articles and free publications on broad-array of mental health and substance use topics for professionals and the public (conditions and disorders, treatment, screening, health promotion, planning, cultural competence, etc.).

Center for Disease Control: Suicide Prevention (CDC)
A broad cross-section of suicide prevention related topics including statistics, populations, risk groups, strategies, programs, research and scientific information, resources, podcasts, etc.

National Strategy for Suicide Prevention (NSSP)
This document represents the combined work of advocates, clinicians, researchers and suicide loss survivors working under the coordination and leadership of the U.S. Surgeon General and the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention, and lays out a framework for action to prevent suicide in the U.S. The NSSP is the handbook and guide that most states and municipalities use in the planning, design and implementation of effective suicide prevention programs, services and initiatives. The Strategy emphasizes that prevention should be woven into all aspects of our daily lives. Everyone—government, business, academics, health care industry, communities, and individuals—has a role in helping to prevent suicide.
Full Report:

Best Practices Registry (BPR)
An introduction to and guide on how to use the BPR which is designed to identify, review and disseminate information about best practices that address specific objectives of the National Strategy for Suicide Prevention. The BPR is divided into three categories: evidence-based programs, expert and consensus statements and adherence to standards.

National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)
National non-profit advocacy organization dedicated to improving the lives of individuals and families affected by mental illness, with local chapters throughout the U.S. Website provides review of literature and research, listings of support groups for individuals with a mental illness and their families and other interesting projects and resources.

Suicide Prevention Center of New York
New York State Office of Mental Health’s suicide prevention center website provides an overview of suicide prevention information, including warning signs, local prevention and postvention programs and initiatives and upcoming training programs across New York.

Samaritans thanks the New York City Council, Council Speaker Christine Quinn and the New York State Office of Mental Health for the funding that made this public education resource project possible.