Suicide Prevention and The Samaritans: Test Your Knowledge


The Samaritans practice a communications based response called “befriending” in order to help callers in their most difficult times of need. What is befriending?

Answer: Befriending involves listening to what a person in crisis is feeling and thinking without expressing personal judgments.


TRUE or FALSE? In order to call The Samaritans a person must be suicidal.

Answer: False. Samaritan volunteers are there to befriend people who are in need of someone to listen, no matter their reason for calling. The Samaritan’s 24 Hour Confidential Hotline/Listening Line has trained volunteers since 1977 to use non-judgemental, non-religious befriending skills to help callers of all ages who are hopeless, alone, suicidal or seeking information to help a family member or friend.


TRUE or FALSE?  Suicide is a problem for adults not for young people.

Answer: In 2007, suicide was the third leading cause of death for young people ages 15 to 24.


How many Americans take their own lives daily?

  1. 40
  2. 60
  3. 80
  4. 100

Answer: C. Every day 80 Americans take their own lives and over 1,900 Americans visit Emergency Departments for self-inflicted injury.


TRUE or FALSE? According to the World Health Organization, suicide is recognized as a serious world wide health problem.

Answer: True. Suicide worldwide is estimated to represent 1.8% of the total global burden of disease in 1998, and 2.4% in countries with market and former socialist economies in 2020. Although traditionally suicide rates have been highest among the male elderly, rates among young people have been increasing to such an extent that they are now the group at highest risk in a third of countries, in both developed and developing countries.


In the US, every ______ minutes another life is lost to suicide.

  1. 58
  2. 15
  3. 36
  4. 25

Answer:According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, in the US, a life is lost by suicide every 15 minutes.


The Samaritans of Rhode Island traces phone calls to its Crisis Line.

Answer: False. All calls are free of charge and confidential within the agency. The Samaritans only calls for rescue with the permission of the caller.  Then we would ask for a name, address and telephone number and provide that information to 911 and local police.


Which gender (men or women) dies more often by suicide?

Answer: More men than women die by suicide. Women attempt suicide more often.


TRUE or FALSE? By asking a friend if he/she is suicidal, I will be putting the idea in their head?

Answer: False.  Talking about suicide is not a risk factor for suicide. Just as in health classes or public health announcements where you learn about the dangers of smoking, drugs and alcohol, people don’t become addicted by talking about the subject. When you ask “Are you suicidal?”, you are telling your loved  or friend that if this is a subject is he or she can’t talk about with anyone else it’s ok to to talk to you.  By asking the question, you are breaking the stigma and making it ok to talk about it. Just as with any problem, talking about it to a nonjudgmental listener can be the first step to getting care.


TRUE or FALSE? It is normal for teenagers to be moody. Teens don’t suffer from real depression.

Answer: False. Depression can affect people at any age or of any race, ethnic, or economic group.


What are 5 symptoms that a friend might have if he/she is depressed?

Answer: Signs to look for:

  • Talking about, writing about, hinting at, or threatening suicide
  • Drug abuse
  • Drastic changes in personality
  • Losing interest in their favorite activities
  • Sleeping too little or too much
  • No appetite or over eating
  • Previous suicide attempts
  • Giving away prized possessions
  • Constant exhaustion
  • Not caring
  • Doing poorly in school
  • Withdrawing from friends
  • Drastic changes in appearance
  • Feelings of hopelessness or helplessness
  • Always arguing with friends or family


Is cutting a suicidal behavior?

Answer: Cutting is a cry for help. If you or someone you know is cutting please tell a trusted adult.


What should you do if someone you know is at immediate risk for suicide?

Answer: Call RI Emergency 911. To learn more about what to do in an emergency, click here.


Which of the following do depressed or suicidal teens most want and need?

  1. They want someone who will let them be themselves.
  2. They want someone to say, “I care.”
  3. They want someone to be patient and demonstrate that by listening, not talking.
  4. They want someone who won’t express disapproval of what they might say.
  5. All of the above.

Answer: All of the above. What depressed or suicidal teens most want and need is to feel safe with you, to know that you can be trusted, to know that you care. They want someone who will let them be themselves, someone who won’t express disapproval of anything they might say, someone who will be patient, someone who will say “I care,” and who shows it not by talking, but by listening.


Risk factors are used in assessing the possibility of suicidal behavior in a person. Someone who exhibits a majority of these factors is said to be at high risk for suicide. List 5 risk factors for suicide.


  • Bio-psychosocial risk factors include: Mental disorders, mood disorders (schizophrenia, anxiety disorders, personality disorders).
  • Alcohol and substance abuse
  • Hopelessness, impulsiveness, and aggressive tendencies
  • History of trauma or abuse, major physical illness
  • Previous suicide attempt(s), family history of suicide
  • Environmental risk factors: job or financial loss, relationship or social loss, easy access to lethal means (firearms), local clusters of suicide that have a contagious influence.
  • Sociocultural Risk Factors: lack of social support, sense of isolation, stigma associated with help seeking behavior, barriers to accessing health care (esp. mental health & substance abuse), certain cultural & religious beliefs, exposure to the influence of others who have died by suicide.


TRUE or FALSE? Between 40% and 60% of those who die by suicide consumed alcohol prior to the time of death.

Answer: True. Between 40 and 60% of those who die by suicide are intoxicated at the time of death. An estimated 18-66% of those who die by suicide have some alcohol in their blood at the time of death.


True or False? There are many physical problems that can present themselves as depression.

Answer: Often times, you don’t feel well and don’t know why. Undiagnosed medical problems can affect your mood and ability to cope.  When physical or behavioral problems, including depression,  last two weeks or more, please contact your primary care doctor.  Most problems are treatable with the right help.


What should you do if someone tells you that they are thinking about suicide?

Answer: Stay calm and remember to tell your family or friend that you love them, care about them and do not want them to die. If a loved one or friend is at immediate risk of suicide, please call 911. Take all comments about suicide seriously. Tell a trusted family member, friend or professional at school as soon as possible.


Why is it important for a person who is experiencing depression and/or are expressing feelings of suicide to seek professional help?

Answer: A person who is depressed and may be expressing suicidal feelings often has a hard time thinking clearly or recognizing his or her own symptoms. Symptoms including negative thinking, inappropriate behaviors or physical changes that last more than two weeks need to be reversed as soon as possible. Professional treatment may not only lessen the severity of depression but may reduce the length of time a person is depressed and may prevent additional bouts of depression.


Coping skills help to overcome life’s challenges. Can you name 7 traits typically shared by people who experience success in their lives?

Answer: While each one of us is unique, the traits typically shared by people who experience success in their lives include but are not limited to:

  • High self-esteem or thinking well of ourselves
  • Being able to handle daily challenges
  • Being flexible
  • Having realistic expectations
  • Acknowledging our feelings—that sometimes we feel good and other times not so great—and then moving on
  • Accepting responsibility for our actions
  • Asking for help when we need it


What other alternatives, other than The Samaritans, can you access to receive support from and learn more about suicide prevention?

Answer: Access our Help for Everyone page for a list of links to other resources.


Is there any information on the Samaritan’s website catering to the Spanish speaking community?

Answer: Yes. The Samaritans of RI website has links to resources in Spanish on its Resources page which can be accessed here.