Goal 2: Alaskans Effectively and Appropriately Respond to People at Risk of Suicide


It’s not easy to help someone who you think might be at risk of suicide.  But you can do it.  We all can. If we have the knowledge and tools we need to ask the right questions and connect to the right services.


What can you do?


Learn how to identify when someone is at risk of suicide, and how to respond appropriately to prevent a suicide.

Understanding the warning signs of suicide is the first step in helping someone in crisis.  Not sure what to watch for?  Common warning signs include:

  • Talking about wanting to die or to kill themselves
  • Looking for a way to kill themselves, such as searching online, stockpiling pills, 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 the use of alcohol or drugs
  • Acting anxious or agitated
  • Behaving recklessly or engaging in unusually risky behavior
  • Sleeping too little or too much
  • Withdrawing or isolating themselves
  • Displaying extreme mood swings

There are many types of trainings available to help Alaskans better identify when someone is at risk of suicide. These trainings provide the skills and tools needed to help. Mental Health First Aid, Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training, and SafeTALK are internationally recognized intervention models that are all available here in Alaska. We have people trained in these models in communities statewide, and the opportunity to be trained in them ourselves. We also have a Gatekeeper model developed right here in Alaska by the Department of Health and Social Services and University of Alaska. Learn more about suicide prevention training opportunities here.


Learn about Careline and other community crisis lines, and can share that information with others.

Once you know what to look for, then you have to know how to respond in a way that keeps that person safe and helps them find help. One of the easiest ways to prepare for this situation is to download the Careline app to your phone.  This will allow you to connect with Alaska’s confidential 24/7 crisis and support hotline easily, so you can get advice for yourself or assist someone to reach out for help.

Other suicide prevention and crisis lines that can offer help to you or someone you care about:

National Lifeline               1-800-273-8255

Like Careline, you can call the National Lifeline anytime you feel like you are in crisis. They help callers with problems related to substance abuse, financial worries, relationship and family problems, sexual orientation, illness, trauma, depression, mental and physical illness, and loneliness.  When you need support, they can help.

Veterans Crisis Line         1-800-273-8255 and press 1

The Veterans Crisis Line connects veterans in crisis and their families and friends with qualified, caring VA responders through a confidential, toll-free hotline, online chat, and text-messaging service. Call 1-800-273-8255 and Press 1, or send a text message to 838255, to receive confidential support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

The Trevor Project          1-866-488-7386

The Trevor Project is a national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) young people ages 13-24. Youth can also chat online with trained crisis line responders at 7 days a week, (1:00-7:00 p.m. AST).