According to the CDC1, in 2021, suicide was the 11th leading cause of death overall in the US, the 2nd leading cause of death among ages 10-14 and 25-34, the 3rd leading cause of death among ages 15-24, and the 5th leading cause of death among ages of 35-44. And from 2021 – 2022, the number of deaths by suicide increased by 2.6%. Suicide, especially among teens and young adults, is a significant public health concern. But suicide is also preventable. Find out more about suicide and the many suicide prevention resources available locally, nationally and on-line. Know the risk factors, the warning signs and the steps you can take to protect yourself, your friends or your child, adolescent and young adult. 

Content on this page:

  1. Emergency Crisis & Suicide Prevention Numbers
  2. Suicide Awareness and Prevention Information
    1. Signs and Symptoms of Suicide
    2. How to Help
    3. The 6 Questions – Evaluating Suicide Risk
  3. Suicide Prevention Resources
    • Santa Clara County Suicide Prevention & Crisis Services
    • Other Local Suicide Prevention Organizations
    • Children/Young Adult Suicide Related Resources
  4. Online Resources
    • Suicide Related Online Resources for All Ages
    • Suicide Related Online Resources for Children and Young Adults

Emergency Crisis/Suicide Prevention

CRISIS and Suicide Prevention LIFELINE 24/7: Call 988 (for local area codes). Non-local area codes should call 800-704-0900 and press 1
A 24-hour, toll-free confidential suicide prevention hotline available 7 days a week for phone intervention and emotional support to individuals in crisis. Highly trained volunteer crisis counselors assist people who are feeling suicidal, experiencing distress, or just need to talk with someone who will listen. Multi-lingual counselors are available. 

​​CRISIS TEXT LINE 24/7: Text RENEW to 741741 24/7. Emotional and crisis support for people of all ages, provided by trained volunteers and staff.

CRISIS TEXT LINE en español 24/7: Envía un mensaje de texto con la palabra COMUNIDAD al 741741

Additional Crisis/Suicide Prevention

Pacific Clinic Child/Adolescent Mobile Crisis Service*  Call 988 (for local area codes). Non-local area codes should call 800-704-0900 and press 1
24-hour, mobile crisis intervention service for Santa Clara Country children and adolescents under age 18 in acute psychological crisis. It provides multilingual (Spanish, Vietnamese, Hindi, Farsi, French, Telegu, Tamil, Gujarati, Marathi, American Sign Language, Hebrew, and German), community-based intervention and evaluation, and links children and families with other community agencies for long term care and assistance.

Contact Cares Crisis Line  408-850-6125 
Bill Wilson Center’s health, relationship, crisis, and information referral line. This service connects the caller directly to needed services, including emergency treatment and transitional housing.

TAY Hotline  408-850-6140
Bill Wilson Center’s crisis line for youth and young adults (aged 16-25) who may be experiencing a mental health crisis

San Mateo County 24 Hour Crisis Hotline* 650-579-0353

24/7 Suicide Hotline for LGBTQ Youth* 866-488-7386 or Text ‘START” to 678-678

National Runaway Safeline1-800-621-4000  or Text 1-800-786-2929

National Sexual Assault Hotline*  1-800-565-4673

(*Indicates 24 hour availability)

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Most everyone at some time in his or her life will experience periods of anxiety, sadness, and despair. These are normal reactions to the pain of loss, rejection, or disappointment. However, people may occasionally experience more extreme and long-lasting reactions that can leave them mired in sadness and hopelessness, unable to see a way out. At such emotionally troubled times, some may feel that suicide is the only solution – it isn’t! Finding the right psychological support can help a person regain hope, perspective and the certainty that life is worth living. Family, friends and teachers can become educated about suicide warning signs and how to help someone showing those signs receive the support they deserve and need.


  • Suicide is defined as death caused by self-directed injurious behavior with intent to die as a result of the behavior.
  • suicide attempt is a non-fatal, self-directed, potentially injurious behavior with intent to die as a result of the behavior. A suicide attempt might not result in injury.
  • Suicidal ideation refers to thinking about, considering, or planning suicide.

There are many behavioral indicators that can help you recognize the threat of suicide in a loved one. You can learn about Risk Factors and Warning Signs. Since mental health and substance-related disorders are frequently associated with suicidal behavior, it is good to be aware of symptoms associated with such mental health disorders as depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorders, alcohol and drug use, disruptive behavior disorders, borderline personality disorder, and schizophrenia. There can be very obvious signs of suicide risk, such as putting one’s affairs in order, giving or throwing away favorite belongings, talk of specific suicide plans, and acquiring the means of suicide (guns, pills). But any talk of death or suicide should be taken seriously.

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Since people contemplating suicide feel so alone and helpless, the best thing to do if you think a friend or loved one is suicidal is to talk with them, openly and frequently. Make it clear that you care and are willing to listen. Take all talk of suicide seriously. Don’t assume that people who talk about killing themselves won’t really do it. An estimated 80 percent of all those who commit suicide give some warning of their intentions or mention their feelings to a friend or family member. And don’t ignore what may seem like casual threats or remarks. Statements like, “You’ll be sorry when I’m dead” and “I can’t see any way out,” no matter how lightly said, may indicate serious suicidal feelings. It’s a common misconception is that asking or talking about suicide may make things worse. This is not true. There is no danger of “giving someone the idea.” Rather, the opposite is true. Bringing up the question of suicide and discussing it without showing shock or disapproval is one of the most helpful things you can do. This openness shows that you are taking the individual seriously and responding to the severity of his or her distress.

Learn about more ways you can Help Someone Else.  For parents, learn about Preventive Steps You can Take, and How to Talk to Your Kids About Suicide at Every AgeAlso please read about the 6 Questions below.

Remember: Take all suicide threats seriously – you are not betraying someone’s trust by trying to keep them alive.

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Just Ask!  6 Questions That Can Save a Life!  

Based on years of suicide prevention research, Colunbia University has created the Columbia Protocol [also known as the Columbia-Suicide Severity Rating Scale (C-SSRS)], a simple series of 6 questions that anyone can use to assess and prevent suicide. “YES” responses to the 6 questions are color coded for risk, and the card indicates how the questioner should respond to each color risk. This tool is considered the gold standard for determining suicide risk, and can be used by professionals and members of the public. The Columbia Lighthouse Project has created “community cards,” which are simplified, one-page versions of the Columbia Protocol for Families, Friends, and Neighbors. These include:

On the The Columbia Protocol for Healthcare and Other Community Settings page, you can find:

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Santa Clara County Suicide Prevention Services

 Santa Clara County Behavioral Health Suicide Prevention Services has the following suicide prevention resources available to the community:

  • Suicide Prevention Crisis Numbers
  • Youth and Young Adults Resources
  • Suicide and Gun Safety
  • Free Trainings on Suicide Prevention and Mental Health in Adults.   Note: Some of these trainings are also available for youth, via the contact listed on the Trainings web page.
    • Mental Health Adult Training Programs – for the general community (young adult and adults) and for educators and school staff
    • Suicide Prevention Adult Training Programs – for the general community (young adult and adults), for mental health professionals and caregivers, and for mental health professionals and caregivers

Other Local Suicide Prevention Organizations

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention – National group with local chapters (see the AFSP Greater San Francisco Bay Area Chapter) that funds research, offers educational programs, advocates for public policy, and supports those affected by suicide.

  • Talk Saves Lives is AFSP’s standardized, 45-60 minute education program that provides participants with a clear understanding of this leading cause of death, including the most up-to-date research on suicide prevention, and what they can do in their communities to save lives.
  • More Than Sad is a program of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention that provides education about factors that put youth at risk for suicide, in particular depression and other mental disorders. They also developed two files to educate high school students and families about teen suicide and teen depression (the leading risk factor for suicide in both adults and teens):
    1. Watch the film More Than Sad – Preventing Teen Suicide
    2. Watch the film More Than Sad – Teen Depression

Children/Young Adult Suicide Related Resources

YMCA Anti-Bullying Resources-The YMCA of Silicon Valley has established Project Cornerstone, which is committed to helping all children and teens in Silicon Valley feel valued, respected and known.  This “Help Stop Bullying” page contains anti-bullying ideas and resources.

LGBTQ Youth Space: A Program of Family & Children Services, with a community drop-in center and mental health program for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning and ally youth and young adults ages 13-25 who live in Santa Clara County. This web site also has a page of other LGBTQ resources.

Toolkit for Mental Health Promotion & Suicide Prevention K-12 – This Toolkit is meant to be a resource for schools as they implement their Pupil Suicide Prevention Policy. The content is drawn from State and National guidelines and from current research and recommendations regarding youth mental wellness and suicide prevention. The goal is to ensure that California schools can participate fully in their broader community’s effort to prevent youth suicide.  (Note: This toolkit contains content that can be helpful and informative to parents and caregivers who are concerned with adolescent and young adult mental health and suicide prevention).

Social Media and Suicide: A Public Health Perspective – Informative and influential research article on how the Internet and social media can influence suicide-related behavior, both negatively and positively

Social Media Guidelines for Mental Health Promotion and Suicide Prevention – Produced by The Entertainment Industries Council’s TEAM Up (Tools for Entertainment And Media), this guide offers tips for organizations and individuals communicating about mental health and suicide on social media to reduce stigma, increase help seeking behavior and help prevent suicide.

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Suicide Related Online Resources for All Ages

Safety Plan / VA Mobile – The Safety Plan app is for anyone who has experienced thoughts about suicide or self-harm. The app helps you make a safety plan, share your safety plan with loved ones, and use tools to manage distress.

TalkLife – (an App) Developed by Harvard researchers, TalkLife encourages users to talk to each other on a peer-to-peer basis to offer support for mental health issues and listen to one another. Posting can be done anonymously.

7 Cups – A website (and also a mobile app) providing free support to people experiencing emotional distress by connecting them with non-professional listeners trained in active listening. The listener interacts with the person seeking help via anonymous and confidential chat. Listeners are rated by peers and those to whom they listen. 7 Cups also provides chat support groups and referrals to therapists.

Facebook Suicide Support [for adults also] Facebook lets you report posts from people who may be in suicidal crisis. You are given several choices on how to help the person. The process of flagging a post is simple:

  • Click or tap on the arrow in the top-right corner of the post.
  • Select “I think it shouldn’t be on Facebook.” …or…
  • Select “It’s hurtful, threatening or suicidal.” …or…
  • Select “I think they might hurt themselves.”

The “What You Can Do” screen offers advice on how you can help a friend in need. At the bottom of that screen is the option to request Facebook look at the post, after which a dedicated Facebook team will review the post and reach out to the individual. Alternatively, you can send a message to the friend, or to a mutual friend in an effort to help the person. If you choose the option to have Facebook send the person a message of support, it will be from you and NOT be anonymous. There’s also the option of chatting with a trained helper. If you are concerned about yourself or someone else, you can ALWAYS call 800-273-8255 to speak with a trained crisis volunteer. There is a Facebook video that explains the options.

Suicide Related Online Resources for Children and Young Adults

Now Matters Now – A great website to learn skills and find support for coping with suicidal thoughts. It has videos to teach mindfulness and DBT skills that have been proven to help people considering suicide.

The Tribe Wellness Community is a free, online peer support groups, forums and chat rooms offering members a safe place to connect about mental health challenges related to addiction, anxiety, depression, OCD and a dedicated group for teens. – A Tumblr site.  The goal of OK2TALK is to create a community for teens and young adults struggling with mental health problems and encourage them to talk about what they’re experiencing by sharing their personal stories of recovery, tragedy, struggle or hope.

JED Foundation – A nonprofit that exists to protect emotional health and prevent suicide for our nation’s teens and young adults, by partnering with high schools and colleges to strengthen their mental health, substance abuse and suicide prevention programs, by equipping teens and young adults with the skills and knowledge to help themselves and each other, and by encouraging community awareness for young adult mental health.

ReachOut USA– A non-profit organization that meets youth where they are to deliver peer support and mental health information in a safe and supportive online space.

HEARD Alliance – (Health Care Alliance for Response to Adolescent Depression) A San Francisco Bay Area group with mission to increase collaboration amongst primary care, mental health and educational professionals, to enhance the community’s ability to promote well-being, to treat depression and related conditions and to prevent suicide in adolescents and young adults.  Lists Bay Area resources for parents, children and adolescents.

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1 & 2. National Institutes of Mental Health. “Suicide.” Retrieved 2024 from