Suicide Warning Signs
What are suicide warning signs?
While some suicides occur without any outward warning, sometimes people who are suicidal do give some sign that they are thinking about suicide. By knowing these signs—and what to do if you if you see them in yourself or another person—you can help prevent suicide.
What are the signs?
Threatening to cause harm to oneself
Looking or referring to ways to kill oneself
Talking about being a burden to others
Feelings of hopelessness or uncontrolled anger
Acting reckless seemingly without thinking
Increasing alcohol or drug use
Withdrawing from friends, family and society
Visiting or calling people to say goodbye
Giving away possessions
Changes in sleeping pattern—too much or too little
Experiencing dramatic mood changes
Seeing no reason for living or having no sense of purpose in life or value to others
What should you do if you or someone you know shows these signs?
Take action by seeking help as soon as possible by contacting a mental health professional, a parent, or by calling Lines For Life at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). You can also reach the YouthLine at 1-877-968-8491 or by texting teen2teen to 839863.
If you feel someone is in immediate danger of taking their own life, call 911 or Lines For Life right away. If you are with the person you think is in imminent danger of taking their life, stay with that person until help arrives. For additional information on what to expect when contacting Lines For Life, please see their About section and frequently asked questions. If you’ve never called a helpline before, check out our article What To Expect When Calling a Helpline.
If you are worried about a friend who is thinking about suicide, you might also want to check out the When a Friend Is Thinking About Suicide fact sheet. If you or your friend are having suicidal thoughts, the Suicidal Thoughts: Wanting to End Your Life article may help you manage those urges. Remember that it’s important to look out for these types of suicide warning signs in order to create a healthy environment to your friend, yourself, and others around you.
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Acknowledgements: This article was partially developed by youth and staff for us.ReachOut.com