Suicide prevention: Learn the 6 questions that may save a life

Teen suicide rates in Arizona are higher than the national average and one teacher is worried...
Teen suicide rates in Arizona are higher than the national average and one teacher is worried about the behaviors he's seeing in struggling students right now.(AZ Family)
Published: Sep. 30, 2021 at 12:44 PM CDT
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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - Suicide is one of the biggest preventable public health crises of our time. Every year, more than 700,000 people worldwide die by suicide – that is one person every 40 seconds. The number one cause of suicide is depression, a treatable condition affecting 264 million people worldwide. Consider the following:

  • Suicide is the second leading cause of death in post-9/11 veterans; according to 2018 data, an average of 17.6 veterans die each day to suicide
  • Suicide is the third leading cause of death in adolescents globally; LGBTQ+ youth are more than twice as likely to feel suicidal and over four times as likely to attempt suicide compared to heterosexual youth
  • Since 2017, more firefighters and police officers have died by suicide than in the line of duty

Identifying an individual who is depressed and may be contemplating suicide is the first step in intervention. A method known as The Columbia Protocol supports suicide risk assessment through a series of simple, plain-language questions that anyone can ask. Asking an at-risk person a few questions may be the difference between life and death. In fact, the Marines reduced suicide by 22% after implementing the Columbia Protocol as part of a broader suicide prevention strategy.

Dr. Kelly Posner and Dr. Keita Franklin of The Columbia Project discussed the protocol during an interview on NewsChannel 7 at Noon. They shared the latest statistics on suicide in the U.S. and across the globe, including the suicide rates for veterans and first responders. Dr. Franklin said for the first time in 20 years, suicide rates for veterans went down. They also shared the six questions you need to ask if you suspect a loved one is suicidal.

Click on the video above to watch the conversation.

For more information on the Columbia Protocol, visit

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