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Warning Signs for Suicide

Warning signs are the changes in a person's behaviors, feelings, and beliefs about oneself that indicate risk. Many signs are very similar to the signs of depression. Usually these signs last for a period of two weeks or longer, but some youths behave impulsively and may choose suicide very quickly as a solution to their problems.

Warning Signs

Early warning signs include:

  • Difficulties in school (decline in school work/grades)
  • Feeling sad, angry
  • Eating and sleeping disturbances/changes
  • Feeling like a failure, selfcriticism
  • Pessimism (not tolerating praise/rewards)
  • Difficulty concentrating/persistent boredom
  • Preoccupation with death
  • Personality/behavior change
  • Physical symptoms associated with emotions (stomachache, fatigue)

Late warning signs include:

  • Actual talk/writing of suicide, death or dying
  • Making a plan (threatening to hurt or kill oneself)
  • Withdrawing from family, friends, and society
  • Refusing help, feeling "beyond help"
  • Making a last will and testament
  • Giving away favorite possessions
  • Acting reckless, engaging in risk taking behaviors (running away, jumping from heights, reckless driving)
  • Increased substance use (alcohol or drugs)
  • Neglect of personal appearance
  • Prolonged depression
  • Displaying sudden improvement after a period of being very sad and withdrawn. This may mean that a decision has been made to escape all problems by ending one's life.
  • Desperation, agitation, anxiety, and panic
  • Looking for ways to kill oneself seeking lethal means (firearms, pills, other)
  • No sense of purpose in life
  • Feeling trapped – like there is no way out
  • Hopelessness
  • Rage, uncontrolled anger, seeking revenge
  • Dramatic mood changes