Knowing the Signs of Suicide

This past month, the Karen Organization of Minnesota released a Suicide Prevention Video.  The goal of the video is to help the Karen community reduce instances of suicide.  Lwepaw Kacher narrates the video, and speaks about risk factors, symptoms, and strategies for prevention. 

Risk Factors

Certain factors that make someone more likely to consider suicide include being expelled from school, being fired from a job, family problems, being isolated, death in the family, loss of important relationships, being humiliated in front of peers, and being a victim of assault.  It’s important to look out for people experiencing life-disrupting events such as these and try to support them. 


In the video, Lwepaw discusses three types of symptoms that may be present in someone contemplating suicide: direct verbal warning signs, indirect verbal warning signs, and behavioral warning signs.  Direct verbal warning signs may include someone talking about wanting to kill themselves, whereas indirect verbal warning signs provide “hints” that someone is considering killing themselves.  For instance, they may say, “I just can’t go on”, and talk about being a burden on others.  Behavioral warning signs include searching to buy a gun, stocking pills, impulsivity, anger, aggression, irritability, self-destructive actions, increased substance abuse, and talking about seeking revenge.  In addition, a sudden decline in academic performance, or suffering rejection, can contribute to suicide contemplation.


Suicide Prevention Hotline

Lwepaw then outlines how to help someone considering suicide.  The main takeaway?  Be direct and use your resources.  Don’t dance around the topic; talk openly about suicide and be willing to listen to whatever the individual has to say.  Accept their feelings without judgement, and do not lecture or debate on whether suicide is good or bad.  Also use your resources!  There are several resources you can utilize to help someone deal with suicidal thoughts:

  1. You can call the Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255.
  2. You can also dial 274747 to connect to a local crisis support.
  3. Ramsey County Crisis Outreach is available to help both adults and children deal with depression.  For adult mental health, call 651-266-7900.  For child mental health, call 651-266-7878.
  4. If you cannot get ahold of any of these resources, go straight to the hospital. 

Also consider making an appointment with a mental health service center.  A few local service centers are listed below: 

  • Family Tree Walk-in Counseling Center: 612-870-0565 
  • Welcome Center for Adult Mental Health1919 University Ave W St. Paul MN 55104, 651-266-7890 
  • Center for Victims of Torture, 612-436-4840 
  • Asian Women United 612-724-8823 

For additional resources, you can visit Tohmoo’s website at  This website offers information about health, housing, and education, among other topics.   

CLICK HERE to watch the video with Karen audio and English subtitles on KOM’s YouTube Channel.

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