Suicide Prevention for Unhoused Folks

by Shyhyene Brown

So imagine growing up in an abusive family, imagine struggling to fit in at school and at home, being bullied at school. Imagine being raped by the person you trusted to protect you. Just imagine running away from home to get away from the hurt and pain that you endured at home. And just imagine using drugs and alcohol at a young age to suppress the feelings of your past life.

As human beings we wouldn’t have known any of these factors and how much it affects our daily lives. Within these last five years of my life I’ve had multiple people who I love and care for commit suicide.

Now let’s go a little deeper into this situation, and the statistical factors of it all.

Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the USIn 2017 there were an estimated 1,400,000 suicide attempts
In 2017 47,173 Americans died by suicide
In 2015 suicide and self-injury cost the US $69 billion

Suicide Risk Factors:

  • What leads to suicide: 
    • There is no single cause for suicide. Suicide occurs when stressors and health issues converge to create an experience of hopelessness and despair. Depression is the most common condition associated with suicide.
  1. Health Factors
  2. Environmental Factors
  3. Historical Factors

Suicide Warning Signs:

  • When concerned a person might be suicidal look out for a change in behavior or the presence of entirely new behaviors after a painful event, loss or change


If a person talks about

  • killing themselves
  • feeling hopeless
  • having no reason to live
  • being a burden to others
  • feeling trapped
  • unbearable pain


Behaviors that might signal risk, especially if related to a painful event, loss or change:

  • Increased use of alcohol or drugs
  • withdrawing from activities
  • isolating from family
  • sleeping too much or too little
  • aggression
  • fatigue


People who are considering suicide often display one or more of the following:

  • depression
  • anxiety
  • loss of interest
  • irritability
  • humiliation/shame

If you are considering suicide, you can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. You can also call Trans Lifeline at (877) 565-8860.