People who kill themselves exhibit one or more warning signs, either through what they say or what they do. The more warnings, the greater the risk.
If a person talks about:
- Killing themselves.
- Having no reason to live.
- Being a burden to others.
- Seeking revenge.
- Feeling trapped.
- Unbearable pain.
A person’s suicide risk is greater if a behavior is new or has increased, especially if it’s related to a painful event, loss, or change.
- Increased use of alcohol or drugs.
- Looking for a way to kill themselves, such as searching online or buying a gun.
- Acting recklessly.
- Withdrawing from activities.
- Sleeping too much or too little.
- Visiting or calling people to say goodbye.
- Giving away prized possession.
- Suffering from Panic attacks.
Risk factors are characteristics or conditions that increase the chance that a person may try to take their life. The more risk factors, the higher the risk.
- Contagion would include exposure to another person’s suicide, or to graphic or sensationalized accounts of suicide.
- Access to Lethal Means including firearms and drugs.
- Prolonged Stress Factors which may include harassment, bullying, relationship problems, and unemployment.
- Stressful Life Events which may include a death, divorce, or job loss.
- Mental Health Problems.
- Alcohol and Drug Abuse.
- Previous Suicide Attempts.
- Family History of Suicide Attempts.
IF YOU SUSPECT SOMEONE IS AT RISK FOR SUICIDE
- Take it seriously.
- Do not leave them alone.
- Have them call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
- Help them remove lethal means like firearms and drugs.
- Call or escort them to an emergency room, counseling service, or psychiatrist.
- In an emergency, call 911.