Suicidal thoughts, much like mental health conditions, can affect anyone regardless of age, gender or background. In fact, suicide is often the result of an untreated mental health condition. Suicidal thoughts, although common, should not be considered normal and often indicate more serious issues.

Warning Signs for Suicide Prevention is a consensus statement developed by an expert working group brought together by the American Association of Suicidiology. The group organized the warning signs by degree of risk, and emphasized the importance of including clear and specific direction about what to do if someone exhibits warning signs.

Warning Signs for Suicide and Corresponding Actions

Seek immediate help from a mental health provider, call 9-1-1, or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255) when you hear or see any of these behaviors:

  • Someone threatening to hurt or kill themselves
  • Someone looking for ways to kill themselves: seeking access to pills, weapons, or other means
  • Someone talking or writing about death, dying, or suicide, when these actions are out of the ordinary for the person

Seek help by contacting a mental health professional or calling 1-800-273-TALK (8255) for a referral if you witness, hear, or see anyone exhibiting one or more of these behaviors:

  • Hopelessness - expresses no reason for living, no sense of purpose in life
  • Rage, anger, seeking revenge
  • Recklessness or risky behavior, seemingly without thinking
  • Expressions of feeling trapped - like there's no way out
  • Increased alcohol or drug use
  • Withdrawal from friends, family, or society
  • Anxiety, agitation, inability to sleep, or constant sleep
  • Dramatic mood changes
  • No reason for living, no sense of purpose in life

If you or someone you know is in a suicidal crisis, call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) - National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.
Warning Signs for Suicide: Theory, research, and clinical applications. Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior (2006)National Alliance on Mental Awareness: www.nami.org

Author: 
Mr. Mack