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
- Feelings of hopelessness or uncontrolled anger
- Acting reckless seemingly without thinking;
- Increasing alcohol or drug use
- Withdrawing from friends, family and society
- Giving away possessions
- Experiencing dramatic mood changes
- Seeing no reason for living or having no sense of purpose in life or values 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 the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). If you feel someone is in immediate danger of taking their own life, call 911 or the Lifeline 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 please see the what to expect when calling a helpline factsheet.
If you are worried about a friend who is thinking about suicide, you might also want to also check out the When a friend is thinking about suicide fact sheet. 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.
For more information:
Last reviewed: April 2014