The United States has the highest gun suicide rate in the world – and suicides account for more than half of the total number of gun deaths nationwide each year. It is because of these statistics that we at The Trace consider suicide coverage to be central to our mission to understand gun violence in America. Research shows that these deaths are not inevitable and most Americans would take action to support someone they know is at risk. But polls have also found that people are often worried about saying the wrong thing or not knowing enough to help.
If you or someone you know is feeling hopeless or overwhelmed, you are not alone. The organizations listed below can provide in-the-moment emotional support and connect you and/or the person in need of care with longer-term mental health resources in your community.
If you’re concerned about the issue more generally, we’ve also put together a list below of some ways you can get involved to support others.
In our journalism, we strive to follow Reporting on Suicide best practices for suicide prevention, including mentioning resources for people struggling with mental health issues whenever we cover suicide and related topics. . If you have any feedback on our existing work, please email us at [email protected] — and if you have a question about mental health and gun violence that you think we should try to answer, you can submit it to our Ask The Trace series here.
the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a free, confidential service that provides 24/7 assistance and connections to resources for people in distress. Call 1 (800) 273-8255 or text 1 (800) 273-8255, both free of charge. In Español, mark al 1 (888) 628-9454.
- To note: When you call, you will be routed based on your area code to one of their network of state and locally funded crisis centers. Online counselors should know and be able to refer you to other mental health resources in your area.
- How to help: Contact your local center to find out how to volunteer or make a donation.
Text 741741 to reach a Crisis text line volunteer counselor who is trained to provide support and help you deal with painful emotions. The organization’s website also has resources on managing depression, anxiety, self-harm, and more.
Veterans can contact Veterans crisis chator get support by phone at 1 (800) 273-8255 or by SMS to 838255.
The Institute on Aging offers a 24-hour toll-free service friendship line at 1 (800) 971-0016 specifically for people 60 and over and people with disabilities. They say they also do outreach calls to lonely seniors.
The association trans lifeline offers emotional and financial support to trans people in crisis. Join their team on (877) 565-8860.
The Trevor Project provides crisis support for LGBTQ+ youth 25 and under. Call 1 (866) 488-7386send START to 678678or start a conversation through their website.
If you’re facing challenges and might need someone to talk to, a “crisis line” — designed to provide emotional support before you reach a point of crisis — might be able to help. to help you. Find the closest option in this directory from the National Alliance on Mental Illness.
Are you worried about someone else?
- You can contact the resources above for help in helping another person.
- This list of warning signs from Suicide Prevention Lifeline can help you determine if this person is at risk and what next steps to take.
- This guide and podcast episode from NPR shares nine things you can do that can make a difference if someone you know is at risk of suicide.
How can you help your community?
Have you lost someone to suicide?
Local Resources, Chicago
Illinois Call4Calm is for people dealing with stress related to COVID-19 who need emotional support. Text TALK for English or HABLAR for Spanish 552020. This service is free and available at any time.
Call Illinois Hot Line free of charge at (866) 359-7953 to speak with professionals who have experienced mental health or addiction recovery in their own lives.
Local Resources, Philadelphia
Philadelphia Suicide and Crisis Center provides advice and assessment to (215) 686-4420 about depression, self-harm, hopelessness, anger, addiction and relationship issues.
in the block is our resource center for Philadelphians affected by gun violence. Browse the directory to learn about local organizations that can help take care of your mental health, keep your family safe, and more.
Local resources in other areas
Thanks to CapRadio, the Philadelphia Investigator, Reporting on Suicide, and all of the organizations listed above for their work on this important issue. Know of a resource we should add above? Email us.