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Warning Signs
  • Talking about suicide, wanting to die, kill oneself
  • Looking for a way to kill oneself, such as searching online or buying a gun
  • Talking about feeling worthless, hopeless, or having no reason to live
  • Talking about being a burden to others
  • Suddenly happier and calmer, especially after a period of depression or sadness
  • Giving away prized possessions
  • Getting affairs in order, making arrangements
  • Increasing alcohol or drug use
  • Preoccupation with death
  • Acting anxiously or agitated; behaving recklessly.
  • Sleeping too little or too much.
  • Withdrawal from or changing in social connections/situations
  • Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge.
  • Displaying extreme mood swings.
  • Anger or hostility that seems out of character or out of context
  • Recent increased agitation or irritability




Risk Factors
  • Diagnosis of Depression
  • Previous suicide attempt
  • Family history of suicide
  • Loss of job, home, money
  • Death or terminal illness of a loved one
  • Divorce or loss of major, significant relationship
  • Loss of health, either real or imagined
  • Someone close to the person has completed suicide
  • Recent disappointment or rejection
  • Being expelled from school/fired from job
  • Sudden loss of freedom/fear of punishment
  • Victim of assault or bullying
  • Questioning gender
If you are concerned about someone
Ask yourself the following questions. Have they shown or shared any of the following:


Talk about wanting to die, be dead, or about suicide, or are they cutting or burning themselves?


Feeling like things may never get better, seeming like they are in terrible emotional pain (like something is wrong deep inside but they can’t make it go away), or they are struggling to deal with a big loss in their life?


Is your gut telling you to be worried because they have withdrawn from everyone and everything, have become more anxious or on edge, seem unusually angry, or just don’t seem normal to you?

Social & Cultural

Some ethnic groups and races are at higher risk. According to the National Institutes of Mental Health (NIMH), Non-Hispanic Whites and Native Americans had the highest rates of suicide in 2015, while Non-Hispanic African Americans, Asian and Pacific Islanders, and Hispanics had lower rates. Cultural and social risks include:

  • Lack of social support and sense of isolation
  • Stigma associated with seeking help for one’s (mental or emotional) problems
  • Barriers to accessing health care, especially mental health and substance abuse treatment
  • Certain cultural and religious beliefs
  • Influence of others who have died by suicide

Biological & Psychological

A history of mental health disorders, particularly depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, place an individual at a higher risk for suicidal behavior. Other risks include:

  • Alcohol and other substance use disorders
  • Impulsive and/or aggressive tendencies
  • History of trauma or abuse
  • Family history of suicide
  • Major physical illnesses or chronic pain
  • Previous suicide attempt
  • eating disorders or body dysmorphic disorder


A job loss or financial loss can set off a sequence of emotional events that put an individual at greater risk for suicide. Other environmental risks include:

  • Relational or social loss, such as a breakup with a boyfriend or girlfriend
  • Easy access to lethal means, such as guns and firearms. However, this can also include poisons and prescription medications
  • Local clusters of copycat suicides
Know someone with any of the warning signs & risk factors?
Whether they are an adult/older adult or a youth, there are things that you can do to help:


Ask them if they are okay and listen to them like a true friend.


Tell them you are worried and concerned about them and that they are not alone.


Talk to a mental health professional about your concerns or go to additional resources on this page.

Learn About Myths & Facts of Suicide

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