Suicide Prevention

You are not alone. Call the San Diego Access and Crisis Line at (888) 724-7240 if you or someone you care about needs immediate help. The phone lines are answered by trained professionals, and calls are free and confidential.

You can help prevent suicide.

People who are suicidal often say or do things that are signals of their intentions. These warning signs provide an opportunity to start a conversation, even if it is difficult. You may be unsure of how you can help or uncertain of whether the person is actually in serious trouble, but asking about their feelings or intentions is an important first step. Talking specifically about suicide does not cause it to happen or plant the idea. Communicating your concern and offering to find help together could save a life. If you are concerned about someone, don’t hesitate to take action right away!

Here’s how you can help:

  1. Learn the warning signs for suicide.
    People thinking of ending their life often give hints about their intentions. Become familiar with the warning signs and don’t hesitate to take action if you notice unusual behaviors. Trust your instincts. To learn more about the signs of suicide, how to find the words to have a conversation with someone you care about, and additional support resources, click here.

  2. Reach out and stay involved.
    Withdrawing from friends and family, not returning phone calls and not participating in activities the person previously enjoyed can all be warning signs of feeling troubled. Continue to reach out, be persistent and don’t give up. Your efforts let people know you care about them.

  3. Start the conversation.
    Let the person you care about know you are concerned about them. You could say:
    “I am worried about you.”
    “It seems like something is bothering you.”
    “You don’t seem like yourself lately. How can I help?”

  4. Be direct and ask questions; even the ones you may be afraid to ask, such as:
    “Are you depressed?”
    “Are you feeling that there is no way out?”
    “Are you thinking about ending your life?”

  5. If you think the person is suicidal:
    Stay with them, listen to them and take them seriously. Help them get help. Tell them to call the San Diego Access and Crisis Line at (888) 724-7240 to talk to someone about how they are feeling. If you don’t think they are able to do this on their own, then offer to call with them.

  6. Learn QPR to Prevent Suicide!
    QPR, which stands for Question, Persuade and Refer, is an emergency intervention to help a person who is considering suicide. In a one-hour training session, individuals learn to recognize warning signs, what questions to ask and how to offer hope and help. QPR trainings are offered at no cost in San Diego. To schedule a FREE training session, contact Lora Cayanan at or (858) 609-7971 at Community Health Improvement Partners (CHIP) or visit:

  7. You are not alone. Consider yourself the link to getting the person you care about the help they need. Reach out to friends, family members or a clergy person, rabbi or other faith leader. If you are concerned about the safety of a young person, encourage them to talk to an adult they trust and let them know that they are not alone.

While thoughts, emotions and behaviors can be very painful and hard to manage, there is effective help! Research shows there are two different types of therapies (called Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)) that have been proven to reduce thoughts of suicide, suicide attempts, self-harming behaviors and many other symptoms.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is one of the few forms of psychotherapy that has been scientifically tested and found to be effective in hundreds of clinical trials for many different disorders, such as depression, anxiety and some psychotic disorders. CBT is a structured, short-term, present-oriented therapy directed at solving current problems and modifying dysfunctional thinking and behavior with a focus on change.

To find an adherent CBT therapist, go to www.ABCT.Org and for more information on CBT, visit

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is a cognitive behavioral treatment that was originally developed to treat chronically suicidal individuals diagnosed with borderline personality disorder (BPD) and it is now recognized as the gold standard psychological treatment for this population. In addition, research has shown that it is effective in treating a range of other disorders, such as substance dependence, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and eating disorders. DBT is a skills-focused, problem-solving treatment that aims to balance cognitive change strategies with acceptance strategies. To find an adherent DBT therapist and to learn more about DBT, visit

Warning Signs For Suicide

Seek immediate help when you hear or see any one of these behaviors. Risk is greater if a behavior is new or has increased and if it seems related to a painful event, loss, or change. If someone you care about is showing any or a combination of the following behaviors, have them or help them call the San Diego Access and Crisis Line at (888) 724-7240. You could be saving their life!

  • Talking about wanting to die or to kill themselves.
  • Looking for a way to kill themselves, such as searching online or buying a gun
  • Talking about feeling hopeless or having no reason to live.
  • Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain.
  • Talking about being a burden to others.
  • Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs.
  • Acting anxious or agitated; behaving recklessly.
  • Sleeping too little or too much.
  • Withdrawing or isolating themselves.
  • Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge.
  • Displaying extreme mood swings.

Source: National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

To learn more about the signs of suicide, how to find the words to have a conversation with someone you care about, and additional support resources, visit