Publications/Press Releases

DHHS Programs, Services Aimed at Suicide Prevention

       September 8, 2013, 12:00 am

Raleigh, N.C. - The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services is highlighting programs across the state that aim to reduce the prevalance of suicide as part of National Suicide Prevention Week.

In the United States, one person dies by suicide every 14.2 minutes, making suicide the 10th leading cause of death overall and the 3rd leading cause of death for youth and young adults between the ages of 10 and 24. Each year in North Carolina, more than 1,000 individuals die as a result of suicide and more than 14,000 people are treated or hospitalized for self-inflicted wounds.

"Help is available to anyone that may be in crisis," said DHHS Secretary Aldona Wos. "If you are having suicidal thoughts or you know someone who is having thoughts of hurting themselves or others, it is imperative that you ask for help."

More than 17,000 North Carolinians reached out to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline in 2012, the equivalent of approximately 48 calls each day. DHHS supports a number of programs focused on preventing suicide, including direct services to individuals in crisis as well as training for community-based professionals.

DHHS services and programs include:
The N.C. affiliate of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, which provides free and confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

The website,, aimed at supporting youth and specifically designed for youth to share information about suicide prevention and reduce the stigma of mental health disorders

The Mental Health First Aid program, which trains people in the local community, including health care providers, substance abuse and mental health professionals, and school personnel, to identify signs of mental illness and substance abuse and respond to them.

The N.C. Child Fatality Task Force, which seeks to identify and reduce preventable child fatalities, including suicide.

Often there may be signs that someone is at risk for suicide. The risk is greater if a behavior is new or has increased and if it seems related to a painful event, loss, or change.

The following behaviors are signs to watch for:
  • Talking about wanting to die or to kill themselves.
  • Looking for a way to kill themselves, such as searching online or buying a gun.
  • Talking about feeling hopeless or having no reason to live.
  • Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain.
  • Talking about being a burden to others.
  • Increasing their use of alcohol or drugs.
  • Acting anxious or agitated; behaving recklessly.
  • Giving away their possessions.
  • Sleeping too little or too much.
  • Withdrawing or isolating themselves.
  • Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge.
  • Displaying extreme mood swings.

If you or someone you know exhibits any of these behaviors, seek help as soon as possible by contacting a mental health professional or by calling the Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

Since 2007, the Lifeline has been providing special suicide prevention service for U.S. military veterans through an agreement with the Department of Veteran's Affairs (VA) and U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). When dialing 1-800-273-TALK (8255), veterans, active military, and their families are prompted, during the automated greeting, to press "1" to be connected to a veterans' suicide prevention hotline specialist.