You don't need to be suididal to call most or any of these lines. They generally receive many more calls from people who need referrals, or are distressed, or in need of information, than calls from persons who are suicidal.
The U.S. federal National Suicide Hotline Designation Act is now law. By 2022-JUL, a three digit telephone number (988) will be useable everywhere in the U.S. When the act is implemented, dialing that number will connect you to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.
A brief overview:
Why people committ suicide continues to be a largely unanswered question. Most people believe that suicides are associated with a long-lasting depression; they are often "a permanent solution to a temporary problem." But, data shows that:
"... about 2% "of severely depressed people eventually die by suicide, which is only slightly higher than the 1.6% of people from the general United States population who eventually die by suicide."
In North America, they seem to peak annually in the early springtime. One theory is that individuals decide to commit suicide while profoundly depressed in the dead of Winter, but lack the ability to organize their own death. Later, when the weather improves and they feel more in control and are able to arrange their suicide.
Others who commit suicide are not depressed. They kill themselves because of terminal illness, intractable pain, and/or the loss of dignity, control, and autonomy -- or anticipated loss -- which often accompanies terminal diseases.
Emergency support services are available to help persons with suicidal ideation, often on a 24 hour basis. Suicide prevention hot lines (sometimes called distress centers, crisis centers, hotlines, Contact, Telecare, etc.) offer non-judgmental, confidential, caring support by trained volunteers. Telephone numbers are often listed on the inside front cover of local telephone books.
Throughout North America, the act of committing suicide is no longer a crime. However, actively assisting a person to commit suicide remains a criminal act. 2
Certain groups within the population are much more at risk for suicide. These include Aboriginals, persons who suffer from various mental disorders, lesbians, gays, and bisexuals Persons who are transgender appear to be at the highest risk to commit suicide. About 40% attempt suicide some time during their life because of the gender that they feel they are conflicting with their biological sex assigned at birth.
Topics covered in this section:
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