Warning Signs

Suicide takes the lives of nearly 30,000 Americans a year, nearly twice as many deaths as from gun violence. There are an estimated 8 to 25 attempts for every completed suicide.

Every 18 minutes someone dies from suicide. More than 50% of suicides are men between 25-65 years of age. For young people, 15-24 years, it is the third leading cause of death.

Despite these grim statistics, you need to know that suicide is preventable. Most people, about 80%, who die by suicide give verbal or behavioral clues to the impending event. The number one cause of suicide is untreated depression. The following are some “warning signs” of suicide.

Note: The diagnosis and treatment of depression and other psychiatric disorders requires trained medical professionals. The information provided below is to be used for educational purposes only. It should NOT be used as a substitute for seeking professional care for the diagnosis and treatment of any mental/psychiatric disorders.

Potential Emotional Indicators

  • Hopelessness/Helplessness
  • Panic/Anxiety
  • Feelings of guilt and/or shame
  • Depression
  • Moodiness
  • Irritability/anger
  • Increased crying
  • Persistently sad or “empty” mood
  • Sudden euphoria or happy/calm mood
  • Feelings of worthlessness

Potential Behavioral Indicators

  • Talking about suicide, making a plan or preoccupation with death
  • Giving prized possessions away
  • Change in weight/appetite
  • Increase or decrease in sleep
  • Dangerous or impulsive behavior
  • Self injurious behavior (i.e. cutting or burning oneself)
  • Drug or alcohol abuse
  • Previous suicide attempts
  • Family history of suicide attempts
  • Withdrawal from family/friends, isolating
  • Preparation for death (i.e. setting one’s affairs in order)
  • Loss of interest in things that normally one cares about

If you suspect a friend or loved one is considering suicide, take your suspicion seriously.