POSSIBLE WARNING SIGNS


There is not a single cause for suicide, nor is there always a certain warning sign that a person may be suicidal. Depression, stress, anxiety, and other mental health concerns beyond the level with which a person can cope can lead to suicidal thoughts or actions. If left untreated, these mental health conditions can increase a person’s chances for suicidal thoughts or actions. However, when treated properly people can manage their mental health concerns and lead happy, fulfilling lives.


Possible Warning Signs:

Something to be aware of when someone may be suicidal is a change in behavior. This can mean new behaviors appearing that have not been present before, or the absence of behaviors that are generally common. This change is especially important if it happens alongside a major life change or a particularly painful event.


What to Look For:

A person may be thinking about suicide if they engage in the following behaviors:

-Intentional self-harm, such as cutting or burning

-Looking for ways to kill themselves

-Reckless behavior such as increased drug or alcohol consumption

-Withdrawing from or losing interest in activities that are usually enjoyable

-Acting more aggressive or depressed than usual

-Visiting or calling friends and loved ones to say goodbye

-Giving away valuable or prized possessions


What to Listen For:

A person may be thinking about suicide if they talk about the following:

-Wanting to die or kill themselves

-Feeling worthless or guilty

-Feeling helpless, hopeless, or trapped

-Experiencing unbearable pain

-Being a burden to others


Risk Factors for Suicide attempts:

In addition to the outward warning signs like behaviors and talk, there are other risk factors to consider when a person may be suicidal. Whether they are occurring currently in someone’s life or they are a part of the past, these risk factors can increase the likelihood of a person considering suicide.


Personal Risk Factors:

-Mental health conditions like depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, borderline        personality disorder, impulse control or conduct disorder, and others.

-Drug and/or alcohol abuse or dependency

-Long-term health concerns such as an incurable or unknown condition or chronic pain


Environmental and Historical Factors:

-A history of suicide attempts

-Family history of suicide attempts

-Exposure to the death or suicide of another person

-Exposure to traumatic events such as war or repeated emergency situations

-Prolonged exposure to stress such as abuse, bullying, harassment, stalking, work problems, or  relationship problems

-Access to lethal means such as firearms, illegal drugs, or large quantities of prescription medications