Warning Signs of Immediate Risk

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People who are considering suicide often display warning signs. You should be especially alert for imminent warning signs such as:

  • A suicide attempt or act of self-harm
  • Talking about suicide or death
  • Direct verbal cues, such as “I wish I were dead” and “I’m going to end it all”
  • Indirect verbal cues, such as “What’s the point of living?” “Soon you won’t have to worry about me,” and “Who cares if I’m dead, anyway?”
  • Isolating him or herself from friends and family
  • Expressing the belief that life is meaningless or hopeless
  • Giving away cherished possessions
  • Exhibiting a sudden and unexplained improvement in mood after being depressed or withdrawn
  • Neglecting his or her appearance and hygiene
  • Looking for a way to kill oneself
  • Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain
  • Talking about being a burden to others
  • Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs
  • Acting anxious or agitated
  • Behaving recklessly
  • Sleeping too little or too much
  • Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge
  • Displaying extreme mood swings

These signs are especially critical if the person has a history of psychiatric disorder or serious psychological problem, is abusing alcohol/drugs, has previously attempted suicide or has had a suicide in the family.

Young people who have experienced the suicide (or other violent or sudden death) of a friend, peer, or celebrity role model should also be taken very seriously if they display warning signs of suicide.

Some people might show none of these signs or only show them in very subtle ways while others might show some of these signs but are coping. It is important to treat each person and their circumstances as individual and unique. The more warning signs there are, the higher the risk.

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