Resources : Warning Signs of Suicide

Warning Signs of Suicide

Warning Signs

People who are in danger of taking their own lives may try to reach out to others – sometimes directly, sometimes indirectly. Rarely will at-risk individuals
immediately volunteer the information that they are thinking of harming themselves. Instead they might exhibit some of the following warning signs:

  • Talking or writing about suicide, death, or preoccupation with dying. Suicidal people might say:
    • “I wish I were dead”
    • “People would be better off if I am not around”
    • “Soon you won’t have to worry about me”
    • “I just can’t take it anymore. I am done.”
    • “I wish I could go to sleep and never wake up.”
  • Developing a suicidal plan and the means to carry it through (note: many attempts, especially in youth are impulsive. Thus, absence of a plan is not evidence of absence of risk)
  • Exhibiting trouble eating or sleeping (sleeping all the time, unable to sleep at all, not able to eat or overeating)
  • Showing intense signs of distress and agitation accompanied by depression
  • Displaying significant changes in behavior and/or personality
  • Withdrawing from family and friends
  • Loss of interest in activities, work, school, hobbies, or social interactions
  • Deteriorating physical appearance
  • Giving away prized possessions and saying goodbye
  • Previous suicide attempts
  • Increasing drug and/or alcohol use
  • Making statements about hopelessness, or worthlessness or feeling like a burden to others
  • Taking unnecessary risks
  • Displaying sudden happiness or calmness following a depressed mood
  • Exhibiting an obsession with suicidal means (guns, knives, hanging materials)
  • Increasing problems in school or work performance
  • Experiencing chronic pain or frequent complaints of physical symptoms
  • An inability to concentrate, trouble remembering things
  • Stockpiling medications
  • Buying a gun
  • Taking a sudden interest or losing interest in religion
  • Getting ones affairs in order – paying off debt, getting a will, getting life insurance
  • Scheduling medical appointments for vague symptoms

Here is an easy mnemonic to remember these warning signs:

I Ideation
S Substance Abuse

P Purposelessness
A Anxiety
T Trapped
H Hopelessness

W Withdrawal
A Anger
R Recklessness
M Mood Changes

If you or someone you know is suicidal, get appropriate help. Take action.
Call 1-800-273-TALK (8255).