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Robin Williams, shown in 2007 in Santa Monica, Calif., was found dead in an apparent suicide on Aug. 11. / Reed Saxon, AP

The suspected suicide of comic Robin Williams is raising awareness about prevention.

About 39,500 people died of suicide in 2011. That's more deaths than from murder, prostate cancer or car accidents, according to the American Association of Suicidology.

Some of the most frequently cited risk factors for suicide include mental disorders, depression, a prior suicide attempt, family history and exposure to other people's suicidal behavior, according to the National Institutes of Health.

Williams had several risk factors, including depression, a history of drug and alcohol use and a 2009 heart surgery, which increases the risk for depression, said Jeffrey Lieberman, professor and chairman of psychiatry at New York's Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.

So how do you know when a loved one needs help?

Warning signs

According to the American Foundation of Suicide Prevention, some of the warning signs of suicide are:

? Talking about wanting to die. About 50%-75% of people who attempt suicide tell someone about it first.

? Finding ways to kill themselves, like hoarding medicine or buying a gun.

? Insomnia

? Losing interest in things and becoming withdrawn from family and friends.

What to do

If you know someone who is thinking about suicide, you should not leave them by themselves. Also, remove anything that might be harmful to the person, such as guns, according to NIH.

"Try to get your loved one to seek immediate help from his or her doctor or the nearest hospital emergency room, or call 911," NIH says on its website.

You can also call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

Resources

American Foundation of Suicide Prevention

American Association of Suicidology

National Institutes of Health: Suicide Prevention

Suicide Prevention Resource Center

Follow @JolieLeeDC on Twitter.



Copyright 2014USAToday

Read the original story: What to look for: Suicide warning signs

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