Prevention & Intervention

Recognizing Suicidal Behavior*

The causes of suicide are complex and determined by multiple combinations of factors, such as mental illness, substance abuse, painful losses, exposure to violence, and social isolation. These warning signs may mean someone is at risk of harming themselves or others.

  • Talking about wanting to die or kill oneself
  • Looking for a way to kill oneself
  • Talking about feeling hopeless or having no reason to live
  • Talking about feeling trapped or being in unbearable pain
  • Talking about being a burden to others
  • Giving away prized possessions
  • Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs
  • Acting anxious or agitated; behaving recklessly
  • Sleeping too little or too much
  • Withdrawing or feeling isolated
  • Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge
  • Displaying extreme mood swings

  • The risk is greater if the behavior is new, or has increased, and if it seems related to a painful event, loss, or change.

    If you believe someone may be thinking about suicide:

  • Call 911, if danger for self-harm seems imminent.
  • Ask them if they are thinking about killing themselves. (This will not put the idea into their head or make it more likely that they will attempt suicide.)
  • Listen without judging and show you care.
  • Stay with the person (or make sure the person is in a private, secure place with another caring person) until you can get further help.
  • Remove any objects that could be used in a suicide attempt.
  • Call SAMHSA's National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) and follow their guidance.

*Taken directly from

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Adverse Life Experiences

Life experiences, individual circumstances, and unexpected events can sometimes leave us and the people we care about in need of support and assistance beyond what our families and friends can provide. During these times, it is important for us to know where to turn and how to connect for the help and services we might need. In most cases, the earlier we connect, the better the outcome. In some instances, we may simply need a phone number to a community program, general information about parenting or childcare, or help finding public transportation options. In other instances, we or a loved one may be facing a significant challenge as the result of an adverse life experience and as a result are in need of critical intervention and support services. Examples of adverse life experience are listed below.

  • Emotional, physical, and/or sexual abuse
  • Emotional and/or physical neglect
  • Parental separation/divorce
  • Marital separation/divorce
  • Domestic Violence (witness/victim)
  • Substance Use Disorders (self, household member)
  • Mental Health Disorders (self, household member)
  • Incarceration (self, household member)
  • Natural disasters (hurricane, flood, fire)
  • Death of a loved one
  • Exposure to community violence/gun violence
  • Witnessing war/genocide
  • Loss of job
  • Homelessness/displaced/poverty/food insecurities
  • Medical/terminal illness/accident/injury/chronic pain

Whatever your circumstance, if you or someone you know is in need of assistance, support, or critical intervention services, help is available. Call 211 to speak with a highly trained resource specialist.

Calls to the 211 HelpLine are Free, Confidential, and available 24/7!
211 is a community helpline and crisis hotline that provides suicide prevention, crisis intervention, information, assessment, and referral to community services for people of all ages.

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Palm Beach County makes no representations, warranties or guarantees on the providers listed here, including but not limited to, the quality of services or service providers or their staff, availability of services, quality of services, licensing or credentials of providers or staff, capability, security of site or facility, education, integrity or experience. Provider/program information listed here is not intended to be a complete list of providers/resources/programs available in Palm Beach County. This list of providers represents only a portion of programs available in Palm Beach County and is provided with the intent that it be available for personal and not commercial use. We strongly encourage you to research for yourself to determine the appropriate provider and visit to obtain additional resource information to assist you with your provider/program/service needs.

This project was supported by Grant No. 2018-MO-BX-0009 awarded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance. The Bureau of Justice Assistance is a component of the Department of Justice's Office of Justice Programs, which also includes the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the National Institute of Justice, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, the Office for Victims of Crime, and the SMART Office. Points of view or opinions in this document are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice.

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