Suicide Warning Signs

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
  • Hopelessness
  • 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:
    • Mobile Crisis Management Services: (866) 275-9552
  • 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