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.
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