Support for everyone
Suicide Prevention

According to the CDC, one person completes suicide every 11 minutes. Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death across all ages in the United States.

It is believed that most individuals that have thoughts of suicide do want to live. They feel trapped in their current situation and want to end the pain they are experiencing. Contemplating suicide is not necessarily an indicator of mental illness, nearly everyone at some time in their life thinks about suicide. Most people decide to live because they come to realize that the crisis is temporary, but death is not. On the other hand, people in the midst of a crisis often perceive their dilemma as inescapable and feel an utter loss of control.

When suicidal behaviors are detected early, lives can be saved. There are services available in our community for individuals experiencing thoughts of suicide. Join us in supporting suicide prevention. Learn about the issues or help a suicidal person seek help.

Together, we can reduce the number of suicides in our community.

Suicide Myths
  • Myth People who talk about suicide do not complete suicide.
  • Fact –Most people who complete suicide have talked about or given definite warning signs of their suicidal intentions.
  • Myth  Suicide happens without warning.
  • Fact – There are almost always warning signs, but others are often unaware of the significance of the warnings or unsure about what to do.
  • Myth Suicidal people are fully intent on dying. Nothing others do or say can help
  • Fact –Suicide is preventable. Most suicidal people desperately want to live; they are just unable to see alternatives to their problems.

  • Myth Once someone is suicidal, they are suicidal forever.
  • Fact – Most suicidal people are suicidal for only limited periods of time. However, someone who has made an attempt is at increased risk for future attempts.
  • Myth Improvement after a suicidal crisis means that the risk of suicide is over.
  • Fact –Almost half of the people that survive a suicide attempt make another attempt within five years.
  • Myth Suicide strikes most often among the rich, or conversely, among the poor.
  • Fact –Suicide cuts across social and economic boundaries.
988 Graphic
Hours of Operation

Available: 24/7

We answer the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline for the northwest Florida region (850 area code) which provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones, and best practices for professionals in the United States. If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please call us immediately.

If You Are Feeling Suicidal

If you are having thoughts of suicide or self-harm, we want to help and you don’t have to go through this alone. This page contains some suggestions for things you can do right away to help yourself get through the immediate crisis and have a chance to find other solutions.

Talk to Someone You Trust

You don’t have to deal with a crisis on your own. Those you choose to confide in can provide
encouragement and help you through a crisis.

  • Your Circle of Trust – Relationships with friends, family, and significant others built on trust and companionship are a protective factor against suicidal thoughts and behaviors. It’s important to find the people in your life that you can always confide in, feel comfortable around, and can contact at any time. Surround yourself with positive people who motivate you to be your best.
  • Your Social Networks –  Social media is a place to share how you’re feeling and hear the stories of others who have felt the same. Connecting to people through technology may help you remember that you are not alone and you may find others with similar interests.
  • Your Community – Whether your community is at work, school, church, or a club or a team, having a group of people who encourage help-seeking and support is one of the most important aspects of suicide prevention.

Make a Safety Plan

When you find yourself getting overwhelmed, go down your list and do each thing until you are able to go on. For instance, your list might include:

  • Recognize your personal warning signs: What thoughts, images, moods, situations, and behaviors indicate to you that a crisis may be developing? Write these down in your own words.
  • Use your own coping strategies: List things that you can do on your own to help you not act on urges to harm yourself.
  • Socialize with others who may offer support as well as distraction from the crisis: List people and social settings that may help take your mind off of difficult thoughts or feelings.
  • Contact family members or friends who may help to resolve a crisis: Make a list of people who are supportive and who you feel you can talk to when under stress.
  • Contact mental health professionals or agencies: Make a list of names, numbers and/or locations of clinicians, local emergency rooms, and crisis hotlines. Put the Lifeline number, 1-800-273-8255, into your phone.
  • Ensure your environment is safe: Have you thought of ways in which you might harm yourself? Work with a counselor to develop a plan to limit your access to these means.

Avoid using drugs and alcohol when you are feeling desperate or in a crisis

Although it is tempting to try to use them to numb painful feelings, drugs and alcohol can make your emotions more volatile and affect your judgment. Using them while you are in crisis will greatly increase your risk of hurting or killing yourself accidentally, even though you may not have fully decided to do that.

If You Are Worried About Someone Else

Warning Signs

While there is no single predictor of suicide, there are some common warning signs to watch for. A suicidal person may:

  • Talk about suicide, death, and/or no reason to live
  • Be preoccupied with death and dying
  • Withdraw from friends and/or social activities
  • Have a recent, severe loss (especially a relationship), or threat of a significant loss
  • Experience drastic changes in behavior
  • Lose interest in hobbies, work, school, etc.
  • Prepare for death by making out a will (unexpectedly) and final arrangements
  • Give away prized possessions
  • Have attempted suicide before
  • Take unnecessary risks; be reckless and/or impulsive
  • Lose interest in their personal appearance
  • Increase their use of alcohol or drugs
  • Express a sense of hopelessness
  • Be faced with a situation of humiliation or failure
  • Have a history of violence or hostility
  • Have been unwilling to “connect” with potential helper

Use The Do’s and Don’ts

  • Be direct. Talk openly and matter-of-factly about suicide.
  • Be willing to listen. Allow expressions of feelings. Accept the feelings.
  • Be non-judgmental. Don’t debate whether suicide is right or wrong, or whether feelings are good or bad. Don’t lecture on the value of life.
  • Get involved. Become available. Show interest and support.
  • Don’t dare him or her to do it.
  • Don’t act shocked. This will put distance between you.
  • Don’t be sworn to secrecy. Seek support.
  • Offer hope that alternatives are available but do not offer glib reassurance.
  • Take action. Remove means, like weapons or pills.
  • Get help from people or agencies specializing in crisis intervention and suicide prevention.

Use the 5 Action Steps

  • ASK – Asking the question “Are you thinking about suicide?” communicates that you’re open to speaking about suicide in a non-judgmental and supportive way. Asking in this direct, unbiased manner can open the door for effective dialogue about their emotional pain and can allow everyone involved to see what next steps need to be taken. Other questions you can ask include, “How do you hurt?” and “How can I help?” Do not ever promise to keep their thoughts of suicide a secret.
    The flip side of the “Ask” step is to “Listen.” Make sure you take their answers seriously and not ignore them, especially if they indicate they are experiencing thoughts of suicide. Listening to their reasons for being in such emotional pain, as well as listening for any potential reasons they want to continue to stay alive, are both incredibly important when they are telling you what’s going on. Help them focus on
    their reasons for living and avoid trying to impose your reasons for them to stay alive.
  • BE THERE – This could mean being physically present for someone, speaking with them on the phone when you can, or any other way that shows support for the person at risk. An important aspect of this step is to make sure you follow through with the ways in which you say you’ll be able to support the person – do not commit to anything you are not willing or able to accomplish. If you are unable to be physically present with someone with thoughts of suicide, talk with them to develop some ideas for others who might be able to help as well (again, only others who are willing, able, and appropriate to be there). Listening is again very important during this step – find out what and who they believe will be the most effective sources of help.
  • KEEP THEM SAFE – It’s good for everyone to be on the same page. After the “Ask” step, and you’ve determined suicide is indeed being talked about, it’s important to find out a few things to establish immediate safety. Have they already done anything to try to kill themselves before talking with you? Does the person with thoughts of suicide know how they would kill themselves? Do they have a specific, detailed plan? What’s the timing for their plan? What sort of access do they have to their planned method?
  • HELP THEM CONNECTHELP THEM CONNECT – Helping someone with thoughts of suicide connect with ongoing supports (like the Lifeline, 800-273-8255) can help them establish a safety net for those moments they find themselves in a crisis. Additional components of a safety net might be connecting them with resources in their communities. Explore some of these possible supports with them – are they currently seeing a mental health professional? Have they in the past? Is this an option for them currently? Are there other mental health resources in the community that can effectively help?
  • FOLLOW UP – After your initial contact with a person experiencing thoughts of suicide, and after you’ve connected them with the immediate support systems they need, make sure to follow-up with them to see how they’re doing. Leave a message, send a text, or give them a call. The follow-up step is a great time to check in with them to see if there is more you are capable of helping with or if there are things you’ve said you would do and haven’t yet had the chance to get done for the person.

Suicide Resources and Fact Sheets

There are many web sites that contain helpful information and services related to suicide. Here are are a few that we recommend:[National Suicide Prevention Lifeline]( “National Suicide Prevention Lifeline” connects callers throughout the United States to the certified crisis centers closest to their calling locations. Highly trained hotline counselors are available 24-hrs/day, seven days a week to speak with callers in crisis.


[The American Association of Suicidology (AAS)](


The national association for suicide professionals. The web site contains lists of crisis centers/hotlines, support groups, and many other helpful resources.

What is 988?

988 launching as the new National Suicide Prevention Lifeline number for suicide prevention and mental health crisis in partnership with 211 Big Bend

Tallahassee, FL – In July 2020, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) designated 988 as the new three-digit number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-TALK). By July 16, 2022, all telecommunications companies will make needed changes so individuals can access the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline using the 988-dialing code. 988 is an easy to remember number that will not replace any of the functions of 911 or 211 but will focus on providing immediate support for those in emotional distress or suicide crisis. The volume of mental health and suicide crisis calls to 988 is expected to significantly increase with the implementation of this easy to remember number.

211 Big Bend has been a National Suicide Prevention Lifeline partner for many years by responding to these calls for 14 counties in Northwest Florida. 211 Big Bend will continue to answer Lifeline (988) suicide and mental health crisis calls as 988 expands.  211 crisis counselors are trained to assist people in emotional distress or suicide crisis regardless of whether they call 988 or 211. In addition to mental health crisis, 211 provides support for finding community resources, such as food pantries and basic needs assistance, as well as care coordination services.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a national network of approximately 180 local- and state-funded crisis centers including many 211 centers.  Suicide prevention is a critical need. Suicide is the second-leading cause of death among young people and was responsible for more than 48,000 deaths in 2019, resulting in about one death every 11 minutes. According to data provided by Lifeline call centers, approximately 98% of answered Lifeline calls do not require an emergency response which can often be much more costly.

“A call to 211 or 988 provides immediate access to someone trained in crisis response, who can provide immediate support, and connection to resources. 211 Big Bend is pleased to be a Lifeline network crisis center and to work with key mental health partners in the local community including mobile response team units.” Tori Greer, 211 Big Bend.

To learn more about 211 Big Bend, please visit Call 2-1-1 or 850-617-6333 to be connected to 24/7 free confidential and local support, crisis and suicide prevention, and community resources.

If you are thinking about suicide or are worried about a friend or loved one, please reach out.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255).