Facts about suicide

  • Over 700 000 people die globally due to suicide every year
  • Suicide is the fourth leading cause of death among 15-29 year-olds globally
  • Males are 2 times more likely to die by suicide globally
  • Trinidad and Tobago ranks 3rd in the English speaking Caribbean region for the highest suicide rates
  • The most common methods used are hanging and pesticide poisoning

Risk factors

There is no single cause of suicide. However, some social, environmental, biological and psychological factors may increase the likelihood or risk of someone considering, attempting or dying by suicide. Knowing these factors can help prevent a potential suicide.

  • Untreated mental illness e.g. depression, bipolar disorder
  • Previous suicide attempt
  • Family history of suicide and self-harm
  • Substance abuse
  • Access to lethal means of suicide e.g. firearms, pesticides, prescription medication etc.
  • Chronic Pain/Illness
  • History of physical, emotional or sexual Trauma
  • Low self-esteem and pessimistic outlook
  • Lack of social support or access to health services

Protective Factors

Some factors have been found to protect individuals and communities from suicide. A combination of these can make it less likely that someone will consider, attempt or die by suicide.

  • Access to effective mental and physical health care
  • Social connectedness with friends and family
  • Life skills such as anger management, problem-solving skills, decision making skills, coping skills, communication skills
  • Spiritual/cultural beliefs that do not support suicide
  • Strong sense of purpose and self esteem
  • Positive/optimistic outlook
  • Impulse control
  • Help-seeking behaviours
  • Positive attitudes about mental health and well-being

How do you know someone may be contemplating suicide?

While some suicides occur without warning, many are accompanied by signs that indicate someone is at a very high risk or in immediate danger of dying by suicide and should seek help from a trained professional urgently. These signs include:

  • Drastic changes in mood
  • Saying goodbye to close family and friends and / or giving away possessions 
  • Feeling hopeless and / or like a burden to others
  • Talking about wanting to die or kill oneself
  • Planning ways to kill oneself
  • Increased drug use and reckless behaviour
  • Withdrawal from activities of interest and isolation from friends and family 
  • Showing aggression, rage and irritability
  • Sleeping too much or too little

What can you do if you think someone may be thinking about suicide?

  • Ask- If you’re concerned or worried that someone may be thinking about ending his or her life by suicide, don’t be afraid to ask. You can also check-in with friends, family and / or co-workers, to ensure that the person remains safe.
  • Listen- Be patient and non-judgemental when persons share thoughts and feelings about their pain. Try to be understanding and be mindful of how you listen. Give your full attention and show concern. Be aware of your non-verbal reactions. 
  • Support- Persons thrive with supportive relationships and appropriate intervention. Encourage persons to seek help early if they are experiencing a crisis. Ask how you can support them during their difficult time. 

There is hope. If you are thinking about suicide:

  • Share- Talk with someone you trust. Express your feelings honestly in a safe space
  • Survive- Seek the appropriate help sooner than later. Develop a safety plan and let others know how they can support you.
  • Thrive- Practice new coping techniques to maintain a positive healthy lifestyle.

Myths and facts about Suicide

MYTH: People who talk about suicide would not really do it

FACT: People who talk about suicide may be reaching out for help or support. A significant number of people contemplating suicide are experiencing a deep sense of hopelessness and may feel that there is no other option.

MYTH: People who talk about suicide are just trying to get attention and manipulate others

FACT: People who die by suicide usually talk about it first. They are in pain and oftentimes reach out for help because they do not know what to do and have lost hope. Always take talk about suicide seriously.

MYTH: Anyone who tries to kill him/herself must be mentally ill

FACT: Suicidal behaviour indicates deep unhappiness but not necessarily mental disorder. Many people living with mental disorders are not affected by suicidal behaviour, and not all people who take their own lives have a mental disorder.

MYTH: If a person is determined to kill him/herself nothing is going to stop them

FACT: On the contrary, people who are suicidal are often ambivalent about living or dying. They do not want to die; they just want to stop their pain. Access to emotional support at the right time can prevent suicide.

MYTH: People who attempt suicide and survive will not attempt again

FACT: A previous suicide attempt is one of the most important risk factors for future attempts. It is likely that the level of danger will increase with each further attempt.

MYTH: Talking about suicide or asking someone if they feel suicidal will encourage suicide attempts

FACT: Most people who are contemplating suicide do not know who to talk to about their pain. Talking openly without judgement can give an individual hope, other options or the time to rethink his/her decision, thereby preventing suicide.

MYTH: Suicide attempts or deaths by suicide happen without warning

FACT: Although, there are some suicides that occur impulsively, many suicides are preceded by warning signs. It is important to understand what the warning signs are and look out for them.

MYTH: Once someone is suicidal, they will always remain suicidal

FACT: While suicidal thoughts may return, they are not permanent and an individual with previous suicidal thoughts and attempts can go on to live a long life with appropriate and timely support.

Suicide Help Resources


Tel: 800-5588, 231-2821, 220-3636, 866-5433

National Emergency and Crisis Mental Health Services Directory

In case of an emergency (suicide attempt)

 call: 990, 811, 999

For more Information, contact the Ministry of Health, Mental Health Unit

Tel: 285-9126 ext 2577, 2571, 2573 and 2590

Monday-Friday 8:00am - 4:00pm


World Health Organisation, 2014. Preventing suicide: A global imperative. WHO: Geneva.

World Health Organisation, 2021. Suicide worldwide in 2019: global health estimates. WHO: Geneva.

World Health Organisation, 2021. One in 100 deaths is by suicide. retrieved on March 10th, 2022

Helpguide: Suicide., retrieved on August, 7th, 2016, retrieved on August 7th, 2016

Suicide Awareness Voices of Education., retrieved on August 7th, 2016


Ministry of Health
4-6 Queen's Park East
Port-of-Spain 101002
Trinidad and Tobago

+1 (868)-217-4MOH (4664)


Ambulance: 811

Police: 999

Fire: 990

ODPM: 511

TEMA: 211


Insect Vector Control: 800-IVCD

Chemistry, Food and Drugs: 800-CFDD

Chronic Disease Assistance: 800-CDAP