Mental health professionals working in suicide prevention say almost everyone who commits or attempts suicide has provided some clue or warning.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, overall risk factors include:

» Depression, mental disorder or substance-abuse disorder. More than 90 percent who die by suicide have these risk factors.

» Family history of suicide

» Family history of mental disorders

» Family violence such as physical or sexual abuse

For children and adolescents, the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry lists these warning signs:

» Changes in eating or sleeping patterns

» Neglecting personal appearance

» Frequent physical complaints, stomachaches, headaches

» Loss of interest in pleasurable activities, sports, games

If you or a loved one need help, call 2-1-1 for free, confidential information, referral, crisis intervention and suicide prevention from 2-1-1 Santa Barbara County, a program of the Community Action Commission.

Other free, 24-hour Santa Barbara County services are CARES/ACCESS at 1.888.868.1649 or the SAFTY (Safe Alternatives for Treating Youth) Mobile Crisis Team Hotline at 1.888.334.2777.

Additional resources:

» The Glendon Association, 5383 Hollister Ave., Suite 140; 805.681.0415. The nonprofit organization describes its mission as addressing social problems of suicide, child abuse, violence and troubled interpersonal relationships to enhance mental health and save lives.

» The free. 24-hour National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, 1.800.273.8255.

» American Association of Suicidology

» American Foundation For Suicide Prevention

» Befrienders Worldwide


» Suicide Prevention Resource Center

» TeenScreen National Center For Mental Health Checkups

Noozhawk’s Cold Spring Canyon Bridge Series

» Click here for the first story in Noozhawk’s four-day series on Cold Spring Canyon Bridge: Public Safety, Preservation Collide on Cold Spring Canyon Bridge.

» Click here for Day Two’s main story: Creativity a Hallmark of Bridge Barrier Alternatives, Funding.

» Click here for Day Three’s main story: For Barrier Opponents, There’s No Bridging This Divide.

» Click here for Day Four’s main story: Bridge Barrier Debate May Be Resolved in Span of a Month.

» Click here for Noozhawk publisher Bill Macfadyen’s explanation of our series.

» Click here for a timeline of Cold Spring Canyon Bridge.

» Click here for a list of the various suicide prevention measures that were considered.

» Click here for a list of landmark bridges around the world employing suicide-prevention barriers.

» Click here for Cold Spring Canyon Bridge facts and engineering numbers.

» Leading Off: Just What Can We Say, and How? Suicide is a touchy topic for the media. Here’s what Noozhawk does, and why.

Noozhawk staff writer Giana Magnoli can be reached at