IF THIS IS AN EMERGENCY, CALL THE NATIONAL SUICIDE PREVENTION HOTLINE AT: 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or The Jefferson County Health Center Emergency Room at 641-472-4323 or 641-472-4111.

The Data

  • There is one suicide every 17 minutes in this country.
  • More people die from suicide than from homicide. Suicide is the 11th leading cause of death for all Americans and the 3rd leading cause of death for young people aged 15-24.
  • It is the 8th leading cause of death for males and the 19th leading cause of death for females.
  • Males are more than four times more likely to die from suicide than are females.
  • Suicide rates are highest among the divorced, separated and widowed and lowest among the married.
  • 90 percent of completed suicides have one or more mental disorders.
  • Suicide rates increase with age and are highest among Americans aged 65 years and older.

When You Fear Someone May Take Their Life

The vast majority of suicides give some warning of their intentions. The most effective way to prevent a friend or loved one from taking their life is to recognize when someone is at risk, take the warning signs seriously and know how to respond.

The depression and emotional crises that so often precede suicides are – in most cases- both recognizable and treatable.

Know the Risk Factors

  • Previous suicide attempts
  • Talking about death or suicide
  • Planning for suicide
  • Depression
  • Hopelessness

Know the Life Stressors that Make Someone Vulnerable. Examples Include:

  • Chronic pain or overwhelming pain
  • Problems with school or the law
  • Breakup of romance
  • Unexpected pregnancy
  • A stressful family life
  • Loss of security
  • Stress due to new situations; college or relocation to a new community
  • Failing in school or failing to pass an important test
  • A serious illness or injury
  • Seriously injuring another person or causing another person’s death
  • Major loss of a loved one, a home
  • Difficult times-holidays, anniversaries
  • Depression

What To Do - Take it Seriously

  • Myth: “The people who talk about it don’t do it.” Studies have found that more than 75% of all completed suicides did things prior to their deaths to indicate to others that they were in deep despair. Anyone expressing suicidal feelings needs immediate attention.
  • Myth: “Anyone who tries to kill himself has got to be crazy.” Perhaps 10% of all suicidal people are psychotic or have delusional beliefs about reality; most suicidal people suffer from the recognized mental illness of depression; but many depressed people adequately manage their daily affairs. The absence of “craziness” does not mean the absence of suicide risk.

 Remember: Suicidal behavior is a cry for help

  • Myth: “If someone is going to kill himself, nothing can stop him.” The fact that a person is still alive is sufficient proof that part of him wants to remain alive. He wants the pain to end. If a suicidal person turns to you, it is likely that he believes that you are more caring, more informed about coping with misfortune, and more willing to protect his confidentiality. He has a positive view of you.
  • Be willing to give and get help sooner rather than later. Suicide prevention is not a last minute activity. All textbooks on depression say it should be reached as soon as possible. Constructively involving yourself on the side of life as early as possible will reduce the risk of suicide.
  • Be willing to listen - give the person every opportunity to unburden his troubles and vent his feelings. You don’t need to say much as there are no magic words. Your concern will show in your voice and manner. Show patience, sympathy and acceptance. Avoid arguments and advice giving.
  • If the person is acutely suicidal, do not leave him alone. Take your friend or loved one to an emergency room or walk-in clinic.
  • Urge professional help. Be actively involved in encouraging the person to see a physician or mental health professional immediately.
  • If you think a child may be suicidal, ask questions about suicide like, “Do you ever…

- Have thoughts of hurting yourself?

- Feel so badly that you have thoughts of dying?

- Wish you could run away or disappear?

- Wish you could go to sleep and not wake up?

- Have scary dreams about dying?"

Local Resources

Jefferson County Health Center Emergency Room
2000 South Main Street
Fairfield, Iowa 52556
(641) 472-4111

Optimae Life Services
Fairfield Office - (641) 472-4611

Mt Pleasant Office - (319) 209-1453

First Resources
Fairfield, Iowa 52556
(641) 472-4106

JCHC Clinics
2000 South Main Street, Suite B
Fairfield, Iowa 52556
(641) 472-4156

You can also visit websites such as: