Suicide Rates Rising: A Breakdown of Warning Signs, Mental Health Resources

Suicide is not easy to talk about, or think about and the statistics are grim. Suicide is increasing – it’s now the 10th leading cause of death in the United States, according to the Center for Disease Control. In Michigan, death by suicide has increased more than a third since 1999.

The recent deaths of Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade tell us suicide is a problem that can affect anyone, even those who seem to have it all.

“In reality, no one actually talked to them to see if there were issues behind what their reality was, they may had their demons,” said Steve Greenman, a licensed practicing counselor in Traverse City.

Although the cause of suicide varies for each individual, there are general warning signs that loved ones can watch out for. Red flags include changes in daily routines, like a decrease in hygiene, sleeping too little or too much or avoiding social interaction. Greenman also says to look out for major changes in behavior.

“The point is if you’re seeing a definite difference in character, usually dramatic, where there’s avoidance, there’s isolation [or] the tendency to not go out and socialize avoid contact,”

It’s vital to reach out and talk to someone that you suspect is suicidal. Listen, ask questions and offer support. If you believe someone is on the verge of a crisis, call 911. You can never be too concerned; Greenman recommends erring on the side of extreme caution.

“If you see them changing so differently and so dramatically, it’s time to confront them. Don’t say ‘oh they’ll get better,’’ said Greenman.

Suicide prevention advocates say mental health, is health.

“I wish people knew that they could talk about it more openly and that there’s people that want to listen,” said Traverse City resident Caroline Hoeninghausen.


Call 911 immediately if you see someone…

  • Threaten to hurt or kill his or herself, or others
  • Is searching for a weapon
  • Posting about suicide or death on social media

Other warning signs:

  • Talking about wanting to die
  • Expressing feelings of purposeless or feeling hopeless
  • Saying that they feel “trapped” or “in pain”
  • Acting overly anxious
  • Behaving agitated or reckless
  • Showing rage
  • Seeking revenge on someone

The following suicide prevention and mental health resources are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week:

National Suicide Hotline: 1-800-1-800-273-8255

Crisis Text Line open: Text CONNECT to 741741

Kids Help Line: 1-800-668-6868

Local Resources:

Third Level Crisis Center, Traverse City

Suicide hotline: 231-922-4800, 1-800-442-7315

Free walk-in counseling available at: 3785 Veterans Dr, Traverse City, MI 49684

Listening Ear Crisis Center, Mount Pleasant

Isabella County hotline: 989 772-2918

Clare County hotline: (989) 386-2774