It is important that you know the warning signs of suicide:
- Threatening to hurt or kill him or herself
- Looking for ways to kill him or herself such as seeking access to pills, weapons or other means
- Talking or writing about death, dying or suicide
- Rage, anger, seeking revenge
- Acting recklessly or engaging in risky activities without thinking
- Feeling trapped – like there is no “way out”
- Increasing alcohol or drug use
- Withdrawing from friends, family or society
- Anxiety, agitation, unable to sleep or sleeping all the time
- Dramatic changes in mood
- No reason for living, no sense of purpose
If you Suspect Someone is Suicidal
- Take it seriously – never leave the person alone, do not make any promises, get immediate help
- Ask directly about their suicidal thoughts; ask if they have a plan
- Do not avoid using the word “suicide”
- Ask the question(s) without any negative judgment
- Examples: “Are you having thoughts of suicide?” or “Are you thinking of killing yourself?”
- Tell the person that you care and want to help
- Express empathy
- Clearly state that thoughts of suicide are often associated with a treatable mental disorder – to instill hope
- Tell the person that thoughts of suicide are common and do not have to be acted on.
NOTE: If you appear confident in the face of someone in crisis and having thoughts of suicide, this can be reassuring for the person who is suicidal.
A person who is suicidal, having thoughts of suicide should be taken seriously and should never be left alone. Keep the person – and yourself – safe. Has the person been using alcohol or drugs? Such use can make a person more susceptible to acting in impulse and put the person – and you – in danger.
Get help for the individual – local and national resource, options for help:
- Dial 9-1-1 Emergency.
- Contact our local 24/7 mental health, mobile crisis services:
- CenterPoint Human Services Access — 1-888-581-9988
- Does the person have a mental health worker, psychologist, psychiatrist he/she can contact? Perhaps the person at-risk of suicide can call his or her care provider.
- National Suicide Hotline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
- The Trevor Project: 1-866-488-7386 – 24/7 suicide helpline for gay and questioning youth, ages 13-24