report

45 Songs About Suicide and Suicide Prevention

Music is a powerful communication tool.  Songs from this Save A Life Playlist aim to prevent suicide and raise awareness about its lasting impact on family, friends, and others.
Music is a powerful communication tool. Songs from this Save A Life Playlist aim to prevent suicide and raise awareness about its lasting impact on family, friends, and others. | Source

Life Does Get Better If You Can Hang On

I was 15 years old when a male friend drove his truck out to the middle of nowhere one night and didn't come back. He died by suicide, and a part of me went with him. Death by suicide runs deep in my family, across generations. I hated that it touched my friends, too.

Sadly, while the rest of his peers graduated, went off to college or the military, or found work in local factories, my friend missed out. The rest of his peers became adults and met the love(s) of their small town lives. They married, had children, and some of them divorced (in various orders, but that's okay).

They ventured to far flung locations to pursue careers that some of them would never have imagined as teenagers. He missed those adventures as well. He will always be frozen in time as a high school sophomore in the sad land of "What if?"

Why People Die by Suicide
Why People Die by Suicide

If your life has been touched by suicide loss as mine has been, this book provides an explanation reasons people turn to death by suicide, from neurobiological, genetic, cultural to learned reasons. It was written by a clinical psychologist whose own life was touched by suicide loss.

 

If you're struggling with depression or thoughts of suicide, stop and seek help now. While it may feel like you're out of options, if you can just hang on, life does get better. If you don't have someone you can talk to, reach out to one of the crisis intervention resources listed in this article.

If you've experienced the loss by suicide of someone you care for and want to raise prevention awareness, we are kindred souls. This playlist consists of pop, rock, country, metal, and R&B songs that do not glorify suicide but rather seek to prevent self-harm and remind people that suicide permanently impacts many lives.

1. "Lullaby" by Nickelback

Sung from the perspective of someone who has been there, the narrator in this 2012 rock song expresses the urgency of turning away from the ledge of suicide. He tells his friend that they are not alone and expresses faith in their decision-making, even at the last moment.

Please let me take you
Out of the darkness and into the light
'Cause I have faith in you
That you're gonna make it through another night.
Stop thinking about the easy way out
There's no need to go and blow the candle out
Because you're not done.
You're far too young
And the best is yet to come.

2. "How To Save a Life" by The Fray

This 2005 was inspired by the lead singer's work with troubled teens. The song describes an example of how to listen non-defensively and provide the necessary support to someone who feels they are all out of options.

3. "Why" by Rascal Flatts

In this touching 2009 country song, the grieving narrator struggles to make sense of a 17-year-old friend's suicide. He wonders

  • why he didn't see it coming
  • if there was something he could have done to prevent the death and
  • what could possibly explain walking away "in the middle of a song."

September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month

Suicide Facts & Statistics

 
 
Each suicide intimately affects at least 6 other people such as immediate family members, relatives, neighbors, co-workers, friends, fellow students, health care providers, etc.
More than 50% of completed suicides are by firearm. Access to a firearm is a major predictor of completed suicide.
Males comprise 79% of all completed suicides. Women have more suicidal thoughts.
On average, one person dies by suicide every 16.2 minutes.
Physicians are more more than two times as likely to die by suicide as non-physicians.
In the United States, the months of March, April, and May demonstrate consistently higher rates of suicide than other months of the year.
A suicide note is left behind in only a minority of cases (10-35%).
A family history of suicide significantly increases suicide risk, regardless of whether a person is mentally ill.
At least 90% of people who complete suicide have a diagnosable mental illness at the time of death. Undiagnosed, undertreated, or untreated depression is common, for example.
Each day, an average of 20 American veterans die by suicide. Compared with nonmilitary civilians, veterans are at a 21% higher risk of suicide. Female veterans are at special risk.

4. "Everybody Hurts" by R.E.M.

This 1992 song was written with a teenage audience in mind, although its lyrics speak directly to anyone who is suffering. It tries to impress upon those who are depressed and contemplating suicide that they are not alone. Everyone hurts. Take comfort in your friends and hang on.

Reach Out For Help: Don't Suffer In Silence

If you are considering suicide, reach out for help.  There are many crisis resources available to assist you 24/7. Call the National Hopeline Network 1.800.SUICIDE (1.800.784.2433).
If you are considering suicide, reach out for help. There are many crisis resources available to assist you 24/7. Call the National Hopeline Network 1.800.SUICIDE (1.800.784.2433). | Source

National Hopeline Network 1.800.SUICIDE (1.800.784.2433)

If you or someone you know are depressed and considering suicide, call the National Hopeline Network at 1.800.SUICIDE (1.800.784.2433). Your call is free and confidential. Or chat live with a crisis volunteer at http://hopeline.com/.

5. "Goodbye (I'm Sorry)" by Jamestown Story

The narrator in this 2007 song indicates that time has run out on him, and he is ready to leave this world behind. He has experienced abuse, an untreated emotional disorder, and deep feelings of worthlessness. With regret, he is saying goodbye.

Towards the end of the song, there is a sudden cut to brief spoken facts about suicide, plus a phone number for the National Hopeline Network (1.800.784.2433). Unfortunately, a 2011 version of the song omits this important information.

6. "Boulevard of Broken Dreams" by Green Day

Sung from the perspective of a depressed and lonely person, this 2004 song is about feeling isolated by one's personal problems. The narrator walks a boulevard of broken dreams, accompanied only by his shadow.

However, he offers that "sometimes I wish someone out there will find me." People who are suicidal often signal their intent to others.

Reader Poll

Has your life been touched by suicide loss?

See results

What Is A Survivor of Suicide Loss?

People who have lost someone they care about to suicide are referred to as "survivors of suicide loss."

As the ones left behind, they are often haunted for many years by guilt, anger, and questions that can never be answered. Survivors are at risk for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Their grief is also still stigmatized.

7. "Fire and Rain" by James Taylor

This classic 1970 song is one of Rolling Stone magazine's 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. It references the death by suicide of James Taylor's childhood friend, Suzanne Schnerr, as well as his struggle with drug addiction and depression and his reflections on fame.

Taylor's lingering sense of loss is reflected in the song's famous refrain:

I've seen fire and I've seen rain.
I've seen sunny days that I thought would never end.
I've seen lonely times when I could not find a friend
But I always thought that I'd see you again.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1.800.273.TALK (8255)

Call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) to talk with a skilled, trained counselor at a crisis center in your area. Available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

8. "You're Only Human (Second Wind)" by Billy Joel

Billy Joel once attempted suicide, and he wrote this upbeat 1985 song for a teenage audience to remind them that it's okay to make mistakes. Between accidents, heartbreaks, and bad choices that leave you with a bad reputation — hey, life happens — you may feel like giving up, but stick it out.

The narrator promises that brighter times are ahead:

Don't forget your second wind
Sooner or later you'll feel that momentum kick in.

Feeling Like Your Path Ahead Is Closed? Seek Help Now

Help is available if you feel like you have run out of options.  Don't go it alone.
Help is available if you feel like you have run out of options. Don't go it alone. | Source

9. "Stay Alive" by Smile Empty Soul

Alternative rock offers up this soothing 2009 song that provides reassurance to anyone feeling stuck, like they're out of options. Even if you feel misunderstood, lied to, and like nothing is going right, stay alive. Even if you feel nothing is right in your head or you're in too deep, stay alive. Better days are ahead.

10. "The Last Night" by Skillet

One friend approaches another in this 2006 Christian rock song, intending to issue a final farewell. However, the friend senses the lie and promises to be their lifeline: "I won't let you say goodbye. I'll be your reason why."

11. "One Last Breath" by Creed

At first, this 2001 song's protagonist believes he's found the unfortunate road to nowhere and is in grave danger of falling. He is down to one last breath, struggling to survive. Then he finds the road to somewhere, reflects on his mistakes, and comes to believe that there is something left for him in this world.

12. "How Do You Get That Lonely" by Blaine Larsen

This 2005 song asks the question that many people ask, in disbelief. How do you get that lonely, feel that empty, hurt that bad that death seems like the only option? The protagonist is without blame and just doesn't understand. (If one has never experienced depression, this may be very hard to comprehend.)

Printed underneath a sports story in the local newspaper was an article about an 18-year-old who died by suicide. It didn't even make the front page, but it would change the lives of his family, friends, and others forever.

13. "That Year" by Brandi Carlisle

The narrator in this song from 2009 lost a classmate to suicide. As a traumatized survivor of suicide loss, she couldn't say his name for 10 years, but is now finally coming to terms with what happened:

You were lonesome and blue eyed
And so special to us
You should have taken a long break
Instead of a long drop from a high place.

14. "Never Too Late" by Three Days Grace

A man is desperately trying to convince someone he cares about that it's never too late to decide that you want to live rather than die. He explains that the world will never be what you expected. The song was released in 2006.

15. "Jumper" by Third Eye Blind

Step away from the ledge. That's what the narrator in this 1997 song tells his suicidal friend on the bridge. He validates that there may be difficult life challenges that seem monumental. Then he encourages him to face those demons down rather than trying to escape them this way.

16. "Whiskey Lullaby" by Brad Paisley & Alison Krauss

This haunting 2003 country song illustrates that alcoholism plays a role in one-third of all completed suicides.

After a woman broke her lover's heart, he spent the rest of his life wrapped around a whiskey bottle, trying to forget. Eventually, however, they found him dead with a suicide note nearby. Guilt consumed her, and she also became an alcoholic who died in a similar manner. ONe broken relationship, two tragedies.

Most suicides occur during the beginning of the week.
Most suicides occur during the beginning of the week. | Source

17. "Hold On" by Wilson Philips

This empowering song from 1990 provides hope and encouragement for people who feel distressed, unhappy, and stepped upon by others. It promises that change is indeed possible if you can simply make it through the short-term circumstances of today:

Don't you know things can change
Things'll go your way
If you hold on for one more day
Can you hold on for one more day?

18. "By the Grace of God" by Katy Perry

In this emotional 2013 song, a protagonist experienced a heartbreak and found herself being blamed for the unraveled relationship. Feeling defeated, she lay on the bathroom floor in tears. With determination and the help of her sister, she decided to stay alive:

By the grace of God
There was no other way
I picked myself back up
I knew I had to stay
I put one foot in front of the other
And I looked in the mirror
And decided to stay
Wasn't gonna let love take me out that way.

19. "Hey Stoopid" by Alice Cooper

Yep, seriously. You wouldn't expect this 1991 song from "The Godfather of Shock Rock." The song addresses the person who might be considering ending their life by telling them in no-nonsense terms that it's a terrible idea and they're not alone.

Suicide is associated with diagnosable mental illness.  Most often this includes depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, post-traumatic stress disorder, and substance abuse.
Suicide is associated with diagnosable mental illness. Most often this includes depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, post-traumatic stress disorder, and substance abuse. | Source

Suicide Warning Signs

TALK - If a person talks about:
BEHAVIOR - Specific things to look out for include:
MOOD - People who are considering suicide often display one or more of the following moods
Being a burden to others
Increased use of alcohol or drugs
Depression
Feeling trapped
Looking for a way to kill themselves, such as searching online for materials or means
Loss of interest
Experiencing unbearable pain
Acting recklessly
Rage
Having no reason to live
Withdrawing from activities
Irritability
Having no reason to live
Isolating from family and friends
Humiliation
 
Sleeping too much or too little
Anxiety
 
Visiting or calling people to say goodbye
 
 
Giving away prized possessions
 
 
Aggression
 
Source: American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

20. "Save Me" by Shinedown

In this 2005 hard rock song, a substance-addicted narrator living on the streets has reached his rock bottom. Now desperate to preserve his life rather than destroy it, he pleads, "Somebody save me. Please don't erase me."

Even More Songs About Suicide and Suicide Prevention

Song
Artist
Year Released
21. Don't Give Up
Peter Gabriel (featuring Kate Bush)
1986
22. Make It Stop (September's Children)
Rise Against
2011
23. On a Bus to St. Cloud
Trisha Yearwood
1995
24. Rise Above This
Seether
2008
25. A Day Without Me
U2
1980
26. Bad Luck
Social Distortion
1992
27. Stole
Kelly Rowland
2002
28. Haunted
Kelly Clarkson
2007
29. With a Broken Wing
Martina McBride
1997
30. Don't Let Me Get Me
Pink
2002
31. She's Falling Apart
Lisa Loeb
2002
32. Take One Breath
The Spill Canvas
2014
33. Zero
Hawk Nelson
2006
34. Shine
Vanessa Amorosi
2000
35. F*ckin' Perfect
Pink
2010
36. The Outsider
A Perfect Circle
2003
37. Joining You
Alanis Morrisette
1998
38. Stand In the Rain
Superchick
2006
39. Welcome to My Life
Simple Plan
2004
40. Wonderful Life
Hurts
2010
41. In a New York Minute
Don Henley
1990
42. Hold On
Good Charlotte
2003
43. Save You
Kelly Clarkson
2009
44. Suicide Alley
Shawn Colvin
1996
45. Sweet Old World
Lucinda Williams
1992
Got a song suggestion for this playlist? Leave us a comment in the Comments Section below.

The Grandparents May Be At Risk, Too

Suicide in the elderly is rarely impulsive.  It may be motivated by the loss of friends and loved ones, pets and diminished autonomy and health.  White men 85 and older die by suicide at rates four times higher that of any other age group.
Suicide in the elderly is rarely impulsive. It may be motivated by the loss of friends and loved ones, pets and diminished autonomy and health. White men 85 and older die by suicide at rates four times higher that of any other age group. | Source

© 2016 FlourishAnyway

More by this Author


Comments 28 comments

FlourishAnyway profile image

FlourishAnyway 5 weeks ago from USA Author

Peg - I'm so sorry for your losses. It is something that sticks with you. I'm also grateful for the kind words others have spoken at critical moments and for simply being present and soothing. If there was one thing I wish well-intentioned people would never ever say it is, "This, too, shall pass." Sometimes it never quite does. Several people have said that to me and it comes off as cruel, insensitive and heartless.


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 5 weeks ago from Dallas, Texas

Unfortunately, I can think of a few people who took this route: former boyfriend, former bosses. Sometimes all it takes to prevent the act is a kind word of compassion or a thought provoking comment from a professional counselor or a family member. I'm grateful for the words once spoken to me during a vulnerable time. Great song selections and care in choosing the music.


FlourishAnyway profile image

FlourishAnyway 2 months ago from USA Author

Kel - I couldn't find a "Jacob's Song" but am familiar with "Adam's Song" by the same group. I didn't include it because it doesn't focus on prevention. Let me know if there's a "Jacob's Song" that I'm missing.


Kel 2 months ago

Blink 182 made a song as well called Jacob's song


FlourishAnyway profile image

FlourishAnyway 2 months ago from USA Author

Kislanyk - Thank you for taking the time to comment. I was especially careful in choosing songs that didn't seem to promote harm.


Kislanyk 2 months ago

Some great songs here, some that I didn't even know about. The lyrics are so emotional, and this topic is one that has to be spoken about. Well done.


FlourishAnyway profile image

FlourishAnyway 2 months ago from USA Author

vespawoolf - The lyrics can be surprising sometimes! We often sing along (or at least sing some version of what we think the song is) and don't stop to think about the message. I hope people internalize that help is available, no matter how dreary life may seem. Thank you for reading and commenting.


vespawoolf profile image

vespawoolf 2 months ago from Peru, South America

I'm glad you've used your experience with suicide to spread awareness of the subject and help others. These are beautiful songs, but I had no idea they were about suicide! If anything, your song articles have taught me to pay more attention to song lyrics. Thank you for this useful and meaningful article.


FlourishAnyway profile image

FlourishAnyway 2 months ago from USA Author

Faith Reaper - It's my hope that someone will look up these songs and perhaps find the resource information they didn't know they wanted or needed. What I wouldn't give to have been able to prevent the death of my friend, for example. I had no idea, and that was the most painful thing. Thank you for stopping by.


Faith Reaper profile image

Faith Reaper 2 months ago from southern USA

Oh, Flourish, so glad you included the help lines, etc., here, so important. Such a sad thing to know that someone did not want to live another day and no one intervened or were even aware of that person hurting so much they were thinking of harming themselves to no return. If only they could hold on for another day, as there is always hope, I believe.

These are amazing songs to bring awareness. That first one really is beautiful.


FlourishAnyway profile image

FlourishAnyway 2 months ago from USA Author

Nadine - I'm glad that you and angels like you were there to help them. Anyone who is considering suicide, I hope they reach out for help.


Nadine May 2 months ago

Your post made me think of the times I was a counselor with Life Line. Many people phoned in who were lonely,depressed and some were about to take their own life. Sad sad sad


FlourishAnyway profile image

FlourishAnyway 2 months ago from USA Author

Devika - Thank you for reading. I hope you are well and are enjoying life in Croatia. Good to see you active again on HubPages.


DDE 2 months ago

Beautiful songs and lots to keep in mind.


FlourishAnyway profile image

FlourishAnyway 2 months ago from USA Author

Larry - Thank you for reading. Glad you are back. Missed you.


FlourishAnyway profile image

FlourishAnyway 2 months ago from USA Author

Linda - Thank you for your kind comment. As a psychologist and someone who has personally lost cousins, a grandmother, an uncle, a friend, and others in my life to suicide, I wouldn't have had it any other way. Nor would I put glorifying songs here because it's an ugly, sad and desperate thing one does to oneself and those s/he knows.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 2 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

I'm so glad that this article includes helpful information for people as well as a music playlist. Thank you very much for creating the article, Flourish, especially in this month of the year.


Larry Rankin profile image

Larry Rankin 2 months ago from Oklahoma

Great list!


FlourishAnyway profile image

FlourishAnyway 2 months ago from USA Author

Linda - Thank you. There is tremendous stigma. It's a subject no one wants to touch.


FlourishAnyway profile image

FlourishAnyway 2 months ago from USA Author

Heidi - My wish as well. There's some evidence that abnormal serotonin levels are in play in some circumstances.


heidithorne profile image

heidithorne 2 months ago from Chicago Area

I wish we didn't have to have songs on this tragic subject! Luckily, I haven't known anyone personally who struggled with it, but I know some who have had friends or family affected by it. Thank you for raising awareness!


Carb Diva profile image

Carb Diva 2 months ago

I believe that every person has been touched in some way by suicide. Thank you for speaking out on a topic that it seems people are ashamed to discuss. The play list is touching. You've done good work here. Thank you.


FlourishAnyway profile image

FlourishAnyway 2 months ago from USA Author

MsDora - Thank you. Its effects can last a lifetime for those left behind.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 months ago from The Caribbean

This one is so touching. I appreciate the facts on suicide. Shows how many are touched who might no think that they are close enough to be affected. You always find empowering lyrics.


FlourishAnyway profile image

FlourishAnyway 2 months ago from USA Author

Linda - I love that song, too. Alison Krauss has such an amazing voice, and the lyrics speak right to the heart on the nature of self-destructive behavior.


FlourishAnyway profile image

FlourishAnyway 2 months ago from USA Author

Bill - Sadly, you're right. I'm hoping that if folks could just stop and talk to someone, they could be connected to resources that could change their permanent, irrevocable choice. Be well and have a lovely week, my friend.


Sunshine625 profile image

Sunshine625 2 months ago from Orlando, FL

Oh my, Whiskey Lullaby is such an amazing song, story, video and lesson to all. I could never tire of hearing it.

A great way to raise awareness to suicide prevention month!


billybuc profile image

billybuc 2 months ago from Olympia, WA

I thought of far too many when I read the title.....suicide is just so tragic.....I would say senseless, but it makes perfect sense to the person checking out.

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    FlourishAnyway profile image

    FlourishAnyway875 Followers
    140 Articles

    FlourishAnyway believes there is a playlist for just about any situation and is on a mission to unite and entertain the world through song.



    Click to Rate This Article