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Fact Sheet

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
  • 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
By: Becca

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  • avatar2

    Reply - Quote


    hello i have a friend who self harms. I have tried         to help her in many ways, but the issue is she has a friend who supports her in her doing self harm. What do i do?

  • avatar2

    Reply - Quote


    i hate my life and yes i am a girl and the only person keeping me from holding back and commiting suicide is my girlfriend she means the world to me i am glad i have her cause without her i may not have been here today my parents recently divorced and they still fight and they always smoke i tell them to stop but they won’t i cry myself to sleep every night and can’t seem to fall back asleep when i wake up there are sudden changes im my mood all the time and i dress differently than i used to i tried to commit suicide once i was in school and my girlfriend walked in the bathroom where i was at she saw what i was doing and i was immeadietly rushed to the hospital due to my blood loss i am in clinical depression that is what my counselor told me talking to a counselor doesn’t help me only talking to my girlfriend she has been through what i am going through before and talking to her helps she always knows how to comfort me im glad we are together i love her so much and i never want to lose her but thats dwhats stopping me if i commit sucide ill lose her and i don’t want to lose her but i still wan’t some help i wanna talk to someone i don’t know but i know i can trust them i wan’t to be open about how i feel someone please email me at [...] please i really wanna talk and email is my only way thank you

    • avatar1

      Reply - Quote


      Hi ALIKAT. We’re really sorry you’re going through such a hard time, but we’re glad that you are here and asking for help. That takes a lot of strength. Please call the Boys Town Hotline at 1-800-448-3000. There are awesome people there waiting to help people just like you. It’s free, confidential, available 24/7, and not just for boys.

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