Suicide remains a leading cause of death in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In fact, the federal agency has reported that the nation's suicide rate increased 33 percent from 1999 to 2017. But those in crisis don't have to suffer alone as there are a number of free suicide prevention resources available to those in need.
In 2017, more than 47,000 people died by suicide in the United States, according to data from the CDC. Widely considered to be a major public health concern, suicide has been listed by the CDC as the nation's 10th leading cause of death since 2008. But while the issues and emotions that can lead to suicide are undoubtedly complex, health advocates argue that suicide is preventable. That's what makes the work of organizations geared at providing suicide prevention and crisis help so invaluable.
Whoever you are, whatever your situation, help is available to you. Whether you'd prefer to text instead of call, speak Spanish instead of English, are a member of the LGBTQ community, a veteran or military, deaf or hard of hearing; there are free suicide prevention resources out there that can help you.
Here are nine free suicide prevention resources:
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
With a network of more than 160 crisis call centers, The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline provides free suicide prevention resources 24 hours a day, seven days a week to anyone who needs them. Use of the toll-free hotline is confidential. And while the trained volunteers operating the hotline provide support to those in crisis or emotional distress, they can also provide resources for those who know someone in distress, as well as best practices information for professionals.
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can be reached by calling 1-800-273-8255 or by accessing the online chat feature on their website. Help is available in English, Spanish. The deaf or hard of hearing can also contact the Lifeline via TTY at 800-799-4889.
Crisis Text Line
For those who'd prefer to text rather than talk, the Crisis Text Line is a free service that connects anyone who texts it from the United States, Canada, or United Kingdom with real-life crisis counselors. While the first two messages that a texter receives will be automated ones, the Crisis Text Line notes that it normally takes less than five minutes to be connected with a counselor trained to listen, collaboratively problem solve, and establish a safety plan.
To reach the Crisis Text Line, those in the United States should text "HOME" to 741741. Those in Canada will want to text 686868 while those in the United Kingdom should text 85258.
With a specific focus on LGBTQ people under the age of 25, The Trevor Project remains a leading national suicide prevention organization. They operate the only crisis and suicide prevention lifeline for LGBTQ youth in the nation.
You can call the Trevor Lifeline for suicide or crisis prevention help 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-866-488-7386. Alternatively, their text hotline can be reached by texting "START" to 678678. You can also access Trevor Chat through their webpage, to connect with a counselor.
Run "by trans people, for trans and questioning callers," the Trans Lifeline Peer Support Hotline provides support to people, including suicide prevention and crisis help. While operators are often available during off-hours, the hotline is guaranteed to be staffed from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. EST.
The Trans Lifeline can be reached at 877-565-8860. The organization also has a Family & Friends Line to provide support for those with trans loved ones.
The Veterans Crisis Line
The Veterans Crisis Line, also known as The Military Crisis Line, offers free crisis support via phone, text, and online chat for any service members, including veterans, members of the National Guard and Reserve. Veterans do not need to be registered with the VA or enrolled in a VA health care program.
To reach the Veterans Crisis Line, call 1-800-273-8255 or text 838255. Support for the deaf and hard of hearing is available at 1-800-799-4889. The hotline also has a variety of numbers for service members living overseas — those can be found, along with the hotline's chat service, online.
SAMHSA’s National Helpline
Like the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's (SAMHSA) National Helpline is a free and confidential hotline, which provides individuals and families in need of mental health or substance abuse help with information and treatment resources 24 hours a day and seven days a week.
You can reach SAMHSA's National Helpline, with services in English and Spanish, by calling 1-800-662-HELP (4357).
To Write Love On Her Arms
To Write Love On Her Arms, a nonprofit started in 2007 after the founder helped a struggling friend get treatment, offers an online "Find Help" tool that can connect searchers with free or reduced cost counseling and other mental health resources in their community through an easy online search function.
The Kristin Brooks Hope Center's IMALIVE service offers free suicide prevention help to anyone in need through their online crisis chat. According to IMALIVE, all of the organization's volunteers are trained and certified in crisis intervention. You can access their online chat service here.
Individuals in need of crisis help and hope can receive self-help guides and emotional support from 7 Cups, a website which provides users with an online chat service. 7 Cups' chat service, which connects those in need with trained, real-life volunteers, is anonymous, free, and available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. According to the organization's website, more than 300,000 trained listeners and 180 professional therapists have so far helped over 25 million people.
If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or text HOME to the Crisis Text Line at 741741. You can also reach out to the Trans Lifeline at 877-565-8860 or the Trevor Lifeline at 1-866-488-7386, or to your local suicide crisis center.