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The following signs may mean someone is at risk for suicide. The risk of suicide is greater if a behavior is new or has increased and if it seems related to a painful event, loss or change. If you or someone you know exhibits any of these signs, seek help as soon as possible by calling the Lifeline at 1.800.273.8255 (TALK).

  • Deteriorating academic performance
  • Depression, dramatic mood changes
  • Hopelessness
  • Talking about wanting to die or to kill themselves
  • Anxiety or agitation
  • Uncontrolled anger or rage
  • Engaging in risky activities
  • Withdrawing from friends and family
  • Neglecting appearance and hygiene
  • Increased alcohol or drug use
  • Giving away prized possessions
  • Looking for a way to kill themselves, such as searching online or buying a gun
  • Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain
  • Talking about being a burden to others
  • Sleeping too little or too much

What Are the Risk Factors for Suicide?

Risk factors are characteristics that make it more likely that an individual will consider, attempt or die by suicide.

  • Depression and other mental disorders, or a substance-abuse disorder
  • Stressful life events, in combination with other risk factors such as depression
  • A prior suicide attempt
  • Family history of mental disorder, substance abuse, or suicide
  • A history of family violence or abuse
  • Access to a firearm or other lethal means such as medications
  • Major physical illnesses
  • Job or financial loss
  • Loss of relationship
  • Easy access to lethal means
  • Lack of social support and sense of isolation
  • Stigma associated with asking for help
  • Exposure to others who have died by suicide (in real life or via the media and Internet)

How Can I Help Someone Who May be Suicidal?

  • Show interest and be supportive.
  • Be direct; ask them if they are considering suicide or have a plan.
  • Don't be judgmental, give advice, or try to talk them out of suicide.
  • Don't swear to secrecy.
  • Offer hope that alternatives are available.
  • Don't leave the person alone.
  • Take action, remove means, and assist them in getting the help they need.
  • Call 911.
  • Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1.800.273.8255 (TALK).

 What Should I Do if I am Feeling Suicidal?

Remember...

  • Suicidal thinking is usually associated with problems that can be treated (e.g., depression or anxiety)
  • Solutions to your problems do exist, even though you are currently unable to see them
  • Suicidal crises are almost always temporary
  • Do not keep your thoughts to yourself, help is available for you
  • Drive or have someone take you to a local emergency room for an evaluation
  • If you need immediate assistance call 911.
  • Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1.800.273.8255 (TALK).

 

Content adapted from:
University of Georgia Counseling Center  "Understanding Risk and Protective Factors for Suicide”
“Risk and protective factors for suicide" by the Suicide Prevention Resource Center
the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

Last Modified: 1/30/19