Suicide Prevention: 5 Protective Factors to know

Suicide can be prevented. In 2015, 44,193 Americans took their own lives and more than half a million Americans received medical care for self-inflicted injuries. September 10th is World Suicide Prevention Day, and the entire month is dedicated to suicide prevention awareness in the United States. Help prevent suicide in your community by knowing the facts, warning signs, and where to get help.

Suicide is a serious public health problem that affects people of all ages. It is the 10th leading cause of death for Americans and has been among the top 12 leading causes of death since 1975 in the United States. Suicide is the 16th leading cause of death for Black Americans in 2014 according to data from the National Office of Vital Statistics.

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Jay Harold has previously written about Black American Mental Health issues. One post talked about black men mental health issues.  The post notes that white men suffer even more mental health problems in the United States than black men. Here’re some key findings from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Health Interview Survey( 2010–2013):

  1. Nearly 9% of men (8.5%) had daily feelings of anxiety or depression. Less than one-half of them (41.0%) took medication for these feelings or had recently talked to a mental health professional.
  2. Racial and ethnic differences were observed only for men aged 18–44.
  3. Among men aged 18–44, non-Hispanic black and Hispanic men (6.1%) were less likely than non-Hispanic white men (8.5%) to report daily feelings of anxiety or depression.
  4. Among men aged 18–44 who had daily feelings of anxiety or depression, non-Hispanic black and Hispanic men (26.4%) were less likely than non-Hispanic white men (45.4%) to have used mental health treatments.
  5. The significant racial and ethnic disparity in treatment utilization was associated with lack of health insurance coverage.

9.7 million adults self-reported serious thoughts of suicide!

Suicide Prevention: 5 Protective Factors to know

Deaths from suicide are only part of the problem. Many more people survive suicide attempts than actually die. In 2015, more than half a million people (505,507) received medical care for self-inflicted injuries at emergency departments across the United States. Almost 1.4 million adults self-reported a suicide attempt and 9.7 million adults self-reported serious thoughts of suicide.

Suicide is usually the result of multiple risk factors. Having these risk factors, however, does not mean that suicide will occur.

Researchers identified some of these risk factors:

  • History of previous suicide attempts
  • Family history of suicide
  • History of depression or other mental illness
  • History of alcohol or drug abuse
  • Stressful life event or loss (e.g., job, financial, relationship)
  • Easy access to lethal methods
  • History of interpersonal violence
  • Stigma associated with mental illness and help-seeking

Protective factors buffer individuals from suicidal thoughts and behavior

Researchers identified some of the protective factors listed below:

  1. Skills in problem-solving, conflict resolution, and nonviolent ways of handling disputes
  2. Effective clinical care for mental, physical, and substance abuse disorders
  3. Easy access to various clinical interventions and support
  4. Family and community support (connectedness)
  5. Cultural or religious beliefs that discourage suicide and support seeking help.

Many people are uncomfortable with the topic of suicide. As a result, people rarely communicate openly about suicide. Thus, an important public health problem is left hidden in secrecy, which can hinder effective prevention efforts.

Know the Warning Signs and Get Help

There are warning signs for suicide, such as feeling hopeless, threatening to hurt oneself or talking about wanting to die, increasing alcohol and drug use, and withdrawing from friends Suicide Prevention: 5 Protective Factors to knowand family. Research has uncovered a wealth of information about the causes of suicide and prevention strategies. For more information, visit the American Association of Suicidology.

Additionally, CDC has released a technical package, Preventing Suicide: A Technical Package of Policy, Programs, and Practices. A technical package is a collection of strategies that represent the best available evidence to prevent or reduce public health problems such as suicide.

If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255) or visit National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. See phone number below.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline


Enjoyed this post? Share it and read more here.  Jay Harold has put together a Resource page that you may find useful when trying to improve your health and wealth. Please take this advice of  Muhammad Ali and give back to others. “Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.”


  2. (Table D, Pg. 12)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *