Suicide Prevention

Emergency Mental Health Helplines

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255 or Chat with Lifeline or Text HOPELINE to 741741

The Trevor Project Lifeline (LGBTQ+): 1-866-488-7386

Crisis Textline: Text HOME to 741741

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Disaster Distress Helpline: 1-800-985-5990 or Text TalkWithUs to 66746

Veterans Crisis Line: 1-800-273-8255 or Text 838255

National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)

Domestic Abuse Intervention Services (DAIS) of Dane County: 1-608-251-4445 or 800-747-4045

Rape Crisis Center of Dane County: 1-608-251-7273 (Línea de Ayuda: 608-258-2567)

All of the above helplines are free and available 24/7. 

How You Can Help

Five Steps You Can Take to Help:

  1. ASK: “Are you thinking about killing yourself?” It’s not an easy question, but studies show that asking at-risk individuals if they are suicidal does not increase suicides or suicidal thoughts.
  2. KEEP THEM SAFE: Reducing a suicidal person’s access to highly lethal items or places is an important part of suicide prevention. While this is not always easy, asking if the at-risk person has a plan and removing or disabling the lethal means can make a difference.
  3. BE THERE: Listen carefully and learn what the individual is thinking and feeling. Research suggests acknowledging and talking about suicide may reduce rather than increase suicidal thoughts.
  4. HELP THEM CONNECT: Save the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline’s (1-800-273-TALK (8255)) and the Crisis Text Line’s number (741741) in your phone, so it’s there when you need it. You can also help make a connection with a trusted individual like a family member, friend, spiritual advisor, or mental health professional.
  5. STAY CONNECTED: Staying in touch after a crisis or after being discharged from care can make a difference. Studies have shown the number of suicide deaths goes down when someone follows up with the at-risk person.


Click here to learn more about How and Why the 5 Steps Can Help

Risk Factors:

Suicide does not discriminate. People of all genders, ages, and ethnicities can be at risk. Suicidal behavior is complex, and there is no single cause. Many different factors contribute to someone making a suicide attempt. But people most at risk tend to share specific characteristics. The main risk factors for suicide are:

  • Depression, other mental disorders, or substance abuse disorder
  • Certain medical conditions
  • Chronic pain
  • A prior suicide attempt
  • Family history of a mental disorder or substance abuse
  • Family history of suicide
  • Family violence, including physical or sexual abuse
  • Having guns or other firearms in the home
  • Having recently been released from prison or jail
  • Being exposed to others’ suicidal behavior, such as that of family members, peers, or celebrities

Many people have some of these risk factors but do not attempt suicide. It is important to note that suicide is not a normal response to stress. Suicidal thoughts or actions are a sign of extreme distress, not a harmless bid for attention, and should not be ignored.

Often, family and friends are the first to recognize the warning signs of suicide and can be the first step toward helping an at-risk individual find treatment with someone who specializes in diagnosing and treating mental health conditions. Suicide is complex. Treatments and therapies for people with suicidal thoughts or actions will vary with age, gender, physical and mental well-being, and individual experiences.

The above information is from NIMH’s Suicide Prevention website

Help Hotlines

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Suicide Prevention

Suicide Prevention Lifeline

Call: 1-800-273-8255
Text HOPELINE to 741-741

LGBTQ+ Lifeline (The Trevor Project)

Call: 1-866-488-7386
Text START to 678-678

Dane County Crisis Helpline

Call: 1-608-280-2600
Text HOPELINE to 741-741

Mental Health

Abuse and Sexual Assault

National Domestic Violence Hotline


National Sexual Assault Hotline

Call: 1-800-656-4673 (24/7 hotline)

Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline

Call: 1-800-422-4453

National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline

Call: 1-866-331-9474

Sexually Transmitted Infections

Substance Abuse Support

Runaway Safeline

National Runaway Safeline

Call: 1-800-786-2929

Eating Disorders

National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders

Call: 1-630-577-1330 (Monday-Thursday 9am-9pm, Friday 9am-5pm, Sunday 5pm-9pm)

National Eating Disorders Association Information and Referral Helpline

Call: 1-800-931-2237 (Monday-Thursday 11am-9pm, Friday 11am-5pm)

Text: 1-800-931-2237 (Monday-Thursday 3pm-6pm)


National Center for Victims of Crime

Call: 1-855-484-2846

Teen Helpline

Call: 1-800-852-8336

Text: TEEN to 839863

Disaster Distress Helpline

Call: 1-800-985-5990 (24/7 hotline)

National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center

Call: 406-477-3896