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Suicide Warning Signs

Suicide Warning Signs

There isn’t really any typical pattern of behavior for someone who is suicidal, but there are common warning signs. You may see one or more of these in someone contemplating suicide. These are the signs that are generally clear and easy to observe:

• Talking about dying or wanting to die
• Talking about feeling empty, hopeless, or having no way out of problems
• Mentioning strong feelings of guilt and shame
• Talking about not having a reason to live or that others would be better off without them
• Social withdrawal and isolation
• Giving away personal items and wrapping up loose ends
• Saying goodbye to friends and family

Less Obvious Suicide Warning Signs

Unfortunately, there are also signs of suicide that are easy to miss. Even people close to the person feeling suicidal may not realize how deeply hopeless they feel. Here are five signs you need to know about that could indicate someone is thinking about suicide:

  1. Any unusual changes in behavior. This is common for someone who is suicidal, but it’s easy to overlook because the changes may not seem related to depression or hopelessness. For instance, someone you know who is usually kind may become angry and aggressive. Or, someone who has been sad and struggling with depression may suddenly become calm and seemingly happy and at peace. Other changes may include increased substance abuse or unusual mood swings.
  2. Changes in sleeping patterns. A shift in how someone sleeps is a sign of depression but also suicidal behaviors. Someone who is feeling suicidal may sleep more than normal, struggling to get out of bed at all. They may sleep less, experiencing insomnia and staying up until all hours and then struggling the next day from fatigue. Whether it’s a symptom of being suicidal or not, these kinds of changes in sleeping habits are cause for concern and should be addressed.
  3. Accessing lethal means. This sign can potentially be obvious, such as if a loved one tells you they have bought a gun. However, gathering lethal means is also an important warning sign that can be hidden. Someone may start stockpiling pills without anyone noticing. They are easy to hide. It’s important to be aware of any lethal means someone you are concerned about may have access to. With access the risk of suicide goes up.
  4. Emotional distance. Someone who is feeling suicidal may become detached from life in general, from other people, and from typical activities. They may seem emotionally distant from people, whether or not they have isolated themselves socially. Acting indifferent in the face of emotional situations may not seem like a suicidal behavior, so it is important to note this kind of behavior and recognize it as a potential warning sign or a symptom of depression. Along the same lines, someone feeling suicidal may lose interest in normal activities, work and home, and things they once enjoyed.

Physical pain. Physical pain and discomfort are often overlooked as symptoms of depression and also of suicide. If someone you know complains often of any type of pain, like headaches, digestive upset, or just general body pain, be alert to other signs of depression or suicide. If the individual has no easy explanation for the pain, such as a history of migraines or an athletic injury causing achy muscles, you should be especially concerned.

Talking to someone is the best way to help in a crisis.

Check out our resource page for additional information (LINK TO RESOURCE PAGE)