Studies suggest that 80 percent of people who die from suicide give warning signs. Below is a list of warning signs as well as risk factors for suicide. 

Warning Signs of Suicide

  •  Saying good-byes. Perhaps thanking friends for “being a good friend” and telling them they are going away and will miss them.
  • Direct statements about wanting to die or kill themselves (e.g., “I want to die” or “I am thinking about suicide.”)
  • Looking for ways to kill themselves. They could be looking up methods on the internet or trying to obtain a gun, pills, or other means. 
  • Talking about being a burden on others.  (e.g., “Everybody would be better off without me.”)
  • Talking about being in unbearable pain, such as saying, “I can’t take this anymore!”
  • Talking about feeling trapped or that there is no way out of a situation.
  • Talking about feeling humiliated or too embarrassed to face others after being dishonored or disgraced in some way.
  • Giving away prized possessions
  • Sudden and extreme changes in mood or behavior. This can be a sudden positive or negative change (i.e., all of a sudden appearing happy or calm after a prolonged period of depression or being upset).
  • Increased use of drugs / alcohol
  • Hopelessness. Expressing things will never get better or that they cannot go on or that their life is over.
  • Taking unnecessary risks or putting themselves in danger, such as driving recklessly or darting in front of traffic.
  • Prior attempt. This is one risk factor that can actually predict a future suicide attempt.
  • Having high levels of anxiety or agitation. 
  • Showing serious signs of depression, such as insomnia, drop in grades, isolation, losing interest in things they once enjoyed or not feeling pleasure (or feeling numb or empty inside).
  • Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge for being rejected or victimized. They may believe this is happening even though others may not see this going on.

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Risk Factors for Suicide

  • Mental disorders (depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder)
  • Substance abuse
  • Serious or chronic medical conditions or pain
  • Stressful life events (job loss, divorce, death)
  • Prolonged stressful life events (bullying, relationship issues, unemployment or harassment)
  • Access to lethal means (firearms and drugs)
  • Exposure to another suicide
  • Previous suicide attempts
  • Family history of suicide attempts

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