Suicide Warning Signs



How do I know if someone is suicidal?

When people are thinking of ending their lives, they generally feel hopeless and experience great emotional pain. In many cases, the person is suffering from depression which is a very treatable illness. If you or someone you know exhibits several of the suicide warning signs listed below, immediate action is required.

  • Talking or writing about death or suicide.
  • Withdrawing from family, friends, and activities.
  • Loss of interest in anything the person used to enjoy.
  • Statements of hopelessness or worthlessness.
  • Feeling strong anger or rage.
  • Feeling trapped - like there is no way out of a situation.
  • Abusing alcohol or drugs.
  • Noticeable changes in eating or sleeping habits.
  • Performing poorly at work or school.
  • Exhibiting a change in personality.
  • Acting reckless or engaging in risky activities - seemingly without thinking.
  • Seeing no reaosn for living or having no sense of purpose in life.
  • The person has made a previous suicide attempt.
  • The person is planning for suicide or making final plans much in the same way a terminally ill person would do, i.e. giving away prized possessions, writing a will, etc.

What do I do if I suspect someone is suicidal?

  • Take the person seriously.  At least 75% of people give off warning signs ahead of time, hoping that someone will intervene.
  • Listen to the problems the person is experiencing without being judgmental.
  • Ask if they are having suicidal thoughts if you suspect that they are.  A person can not talk someone into suicide by asking about suicidal thoughts.  You are validating their feelings.
  • Explore the possibilities of getting hellp.  The suicidal person may be looking at life so narrowly, that they are no longer able to see alternatives and need someone else to point them out.
  • Do not send the person to get help.  Go with him or her. Do not leave the person alone.
  • Remove any means of suicide, i.e. guns, knives, pills, etc.
  • Realize that emergency rooms treat suicidal persons and that 911 is a logical tool if you need assistance.

Where can I get more information?

  • For immediate assistance, call 911.
  • For local assistance, call Alternative Paths, Inc. at 330-725-9195.
  • For assistance outside of Medina County, Ohio, contact The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).