Warning Signs


Suicide is preventable. Although some individuals may not display any warning signs, most do show at least a few. Learn the warning signs of suicide in order to possibly help a loved one and prevent them from committing suicide.

1. Observable signs of depression--

  • Persistent sad or "empty" mood
  • Feeling hopeless, helpless, worthless, pessimistic and/or guilty
  • Desperation
  • Anxiety, psychic pain and inner tension
  • Irritability
  • Increased crying
  • Fatigue or loss of interest in ordinary activities, including sex
  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions
  • Sleep and/or eating problems
  • Persistent physical problems or pains that do not respond to treatment

2. Increased Alcohol or Drug Use

3. Recent impulsiveness and taking unnecessary risks

4. Threatening suicide, frequent talk of death, or expressing a strong wish to die

  • Talking about wanting to die or commit suicide
  • Talking about being a burden on others
  • Talking about feeling hopeless or having no reason to live
  • Talking about feeling trapped or being in unbearable pain

5. Making a plan--

  • Giving away prized possessions
  • Sudden or impulsive purchase of a firearm
  • Obtaining other means of killing oneself such as poisons and medications
  • Visiting or calling people to say goodbye

6. Unexpected rage or anger; Extreme mood swings

7. Suddenly seems happier or calmer

If you notice some of these warning signs in a family member, friend, co-worker, etc., be willing to talk to them and help them find a way to seek professional care. Never minimize the individual's problems or pain. Your opinion of their situation is irrelevant. Reassure them that help is available.


(This information was gathered from The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and Suicide Awareness Voices of Education)