Warning Signs

Warning signs are the earliest observable clues that a person may be considering suicide in the near-term (within minutes, hours or days).

Cause for Immediate Concern

  • Threatening suicide or expressing a strong wish to die
  • Seeking access to lethal means--guns, medications, poisons
  • Talking or writing about death, dying or suicide
Get help. Stay with the person until professional help is available. Keep the person away from firearms, medications, alcohol and other substances which they might use to kill themselves or which might lower their resistance to causing themselves harm.

Call 2-1-1, a mental health professional, 9-1-1 (for police or emergency services) or 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

Never leave a suicidal person alone.

Other Warning Signs
These are indications that the person is in severe psychological pain. They may not signal an immediate emergency but the person does need help. Contact a mental health professional or call 2-1-1.

  • Hopelessness
  • Rage, anger, seeking revenge
  • Impulsiveness and unnecessary risk-taking
  • Feelings of being trapped, like there’s no way out
  • Increasing alcohol or drug use
  • Abandonment of activities once considered enjoyable
  • Dramatic mood swings
  • Persistent feelings of failure
  • Persistent physical complaints
  • Making a plan—how, when, where
  • Giving away prized possessions, putting life in order
  • Showing abrupt improvement after a period of sadness or withdrawal
  • Feeling beyond help
  • Neglect of personal appearance
  • Preoccupation with death (through music, poetry, drawings, video games, movies)
  • Difficulty concentrating

Indications of Serious Depression That Could Lead to Suicide

  • Unrelenting low mood
  • No sense of purpose in life
  • Desperation or feeling trapped
  • Anxiety, agitation or psychic pain
  • Withdrawal from family and friends
  • Sleep problems

What might someone who is thinking of suicide say?


Less Direct

“I wish I were dead.”

“You will be better off without me."

"I'm going to end it all.”
“If (XYZ) doesn't happen, I'll kill myself.”

“I'm so tired of it all.”
“What's the point of living anyway?"

“I believe in suicide.”

“Here.  I won't need this any more.”
“We all have to say good-bye.”
“How do you become an organ donor?”
“Who cares if I'm dead, anyway?”
"Is it true that God forgives any sin?"