Potential Warning Signs

You may have noticed that someone is not behaving as they normally would, or have the feeling that something is not right with that person.

People who are thinking about suicide often find ways to let us know that they need help, whether they are doing this consciously or not. We could call these 'warning signs'. Here are some potential signs that might let you know that someone could be thinking about suicide:

  1. Actions: giving possessions away, writing a will, behaving in risky ways, becoming withdrawn, increasing use of drugs or alcohol, stockpiling pills.
  2. Talking about: feeling that people would be better off without them, that their life has no purpose, saying that they would be better off dead, wanting a way out of pain or a difficult situation.
  3. Life situation involving loss or stress: abuse of some kind, bereavement, relationship breakdown, failing exams, rejection, financial difficulties.

But no list is complete, and people are very individual. Be alert to changes in someone that might cause you to be worried. Any of these 'warning signs' might not be connected with thoughts of suicide. The only way to be sure whether someone is thinking about suicide is to ask. See the 'Practical Steps to Help' section.