United Airlines AFA MEC Website

Association of Flight Attendants-CWA United Master Executive Council

Suicide Prevention – See the Warning Signs & Know How to Help

Date: June 15, 2018
Type: AFA Article

54% or more than half of people who died by suicide did not have a known mental health condition. The recent high-profile deaths by suicide of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain have put a spot light on a growing national problem.  

According to a June 2018 Center for Disease Control and Prevention release, mental health conditions are often seen as the cause of suicide. Suicide, however, is rarely caused by any single factor. In fact, many people who die by suicide are not known to have a diagnosed mental health condition at the time of death. Other problems often contribute to suicide, such as those related to relationships, substance use, physical health, as well as job, money, legal, or housing stress.

There are 12 Suicide Warning Signs that are often overlooked. We can learn from the recent loss of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain. These Warning Signs include the following:

  • Feeling like a burden
  • Being isolated
  • Increase anxiety
  • Feeling trapped or in unbearable pain           
  • Increase substance abuse
  • Looking for a way to access lethal means
  • Increase anger or rage
  • Extreme mood swings
  • Expressing hopelessness
  • Sleeping too little or too much
  • Talking or posting about want to die
  • Making plans for suicide

While recognizing the warning signs of suicide is of great importance, knowing what to do to help someone who is thinking about taking their life is of equal importance.   What can you do to help someone who is at risk?  Consider the following:

1.     Ask.

2.     Keep them safe.

3.     Be there.

4.     Help them connect.

5.     Follow-up.


Whether you are at risk or concerned for someone who may be considering taking their life, always remember that our network of highly skilled peers at our AFA Employee Assistance/Professional Standards is available to provide confidential support to you, your loved ones and our flying partners.  Never hesitate to call us at 800 424 2406. There is always an opportunity to make a difference.

Return to EAP Home Page