Suicide touches all of us. Most of us have known or loved at least one person who took their life or who lives in the aftermath of losing a friend or family member to suicide. After cancer and heart disease, suicide accounts for more years of life lost (1.5 million each year) than any other cause of death. However, unlike cancer and heart disease, most of us feel very uncomfortable talking to someone about whether they are having thoughts about harming themselves.

Suicide is a serious public health problem that can have long-lasting effects on individuals, families, and communities. The good news is that suicide is preventable. However, preventing suicide requires strategies and education across all levels of society. To help prevent suicide, educate yourself and those around you about the warning signs and how to recognize them, promote prevention and resilience, and commit to social change.

Let’s skip to how to recognize potential behaviour changes in individuals at risk of suicide:

If a person talks about:

  • Killing themselves
  • Feeling hopeless
  • Having no reason to live
  • Being a burden to others
  • Feeling trapped
  • Unbearable pain
  • Behaviour

Behaviours that may signal risk (especially if related to a painful or traumatic event), loss, or change:

Increased use of alcohol or drugs

  • Looking for a way to end their lives, such as searching online for methods
  • Withdrawing from activities
  • Isolating from family and friends
  • Sleeping too much or too little
  • Visiting or calling people to say goodbye
  • Giving away prized possessions
  • Aggression
  • Fatigue
  • Mood

People who are considering suicide often display one or more of the following moods:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Loss of interest
  • Irritability
  • Humiliation/Shame
  • Agitation/Anger
  • Relief/Sudden Improvement

In many cases, suicide can be prevented. The best way you can help prevent suicide is to:

  • Learn the risk factors for suicide
  • Be alert to the signs of depression and other mental health conditions
  • Recognize suicide warning signs
  • Provide caring support

People who receive support from caring friends and family and who have access to mental health services are less likely to act on their suicidal impulses than those who are isolated from support.

In the Czech Republic, if you or someone you know is at risk of committing suicide, we strongly recommend contacting one of the resources below:

RIAPS Crisis Center 

24-hour psychiatric emergency center address: Chlcickeho 39, P-3

24-hour crisis line: 222-580-697

BOHNICE Hospital 

A specialized psychiatric hospital in Prague with an emergency service and 24-hour outpatient crisis center. Telephone operators only speak Czech but some doctors speak English. 

General: 296-569-111

Crisis line: 284-016-666