Warning Signs

There is no typical suicide victim. It happens to young and old, rich and poor. Fortunately there are some common warning signs that, when acted upon, can save lives. Here are some signs to look for:

• Changes in sleep or eating patterns

• Neglect of personal appearance

• Depressed, sad, angry, aggressive

• Job or financial loss

• Alcohol or drug abuse

• Self-mutilation (i.e., cutting)

• Isolation; withdrawing from family or friends

• Trouble with school or work

• Perfectionism or overly self-critical


• Hopelessness or helplessness

• Talking, writing or hinting about suicide

• Lethargy, apathy or sadness

• Extreme changes in behavior

• Puting one's affairs in order - giving away possessions

• Relationship breakup

• Buys guns or weapon or stock piles drugs

• Suddenly happier and calmer - giving the impression that things have improved


These are things that increase the potential for a person's suicide.

• Previous suicide attempts

• Major illness

• Barriers to accessing mental health treatment

• Significant others who have completed suicide

• Relationship breakup

• Job or financial loss, personal security

• Untreated depression, hopelessness, helplessness

• Isolation

• Family disruption

• Sexual, mental or physical abuse


Things that help a person through periods of crisis.

• Family or friends or community.

• Positive self-esteem

• Sobriety

• Sense of hope

• Good heath

• Counselor or therapist (depression screening)

• Treatment availability

• Calm environment

• Pets

• Medication compliance

• Responsibility for chidren

• Duty to others

• Job security

• Difficult access to lethal means (e.g., gun, pills, etc)

• Religious beliefs

• Resilience