17 Suicide Warning Signs and What to Do About Them

By Kevin Murphy, PsyD
with contributions from Cheri Harkleroad, Julia Rosengren, PsyD and information provided by Suicide.org

According to Suicide.org, 75% of people that complete suicide show warning signs leading up to their death. Here are some warning signs that someone might be at risk for suicide:

  1. Social isolation
  2. Loss of driveWoman contemplating suicide
  3. Changes in sleep/appetite
  4. Dramatic weight loss
  5. Expressed feelings of hopelessness/helplessness
  6. Obsessions with death
  7. Talking/joking about suicide
  8. Giving away special items of importance
  9. Impulsive/reckless behavior
  10. Loss of interest in activities
  11. Drinking/using drugs
  12. Expressed feelings of excessive guilt or shame
  13. Expressed feelings of being trapped
  14. Sudden elation or peacefulness after extended period of depression
  15. Marked change in personality
  16. Poor performance/lack of concern for responsibilities
  17. Internet browser history of searches for ways to commit suicide

You know your loved one better than anyone. Trust your instinct โ€“ if something seems โ€œoffโ€ and you think they may be at risk for suicide, take action. Do not wait or talk yourself out of it.

What can you do if you suspect someone is at high risk for suicide?

  • Ask your loved one if they are thinking about suicide, if they say no, ask again
  • If your loved one is suicidal and agrees to get help, take them to the Emergency Room
  • If the individual is or has recently been in treatment, contact their provider
  • Call the non-emergency police number in your area and ask them to do a welfare-check
  • If there is an immediate risk of suicide, call 911

If you need more information or access to resources, call 1-800-SUICIDE

* This guide is intended to increase awareness of suicide. It is not intended to take the place of a trained professional. If you or someone you know is at risk for suicide, seek help immediately.