You can help prevent suicide if you know what signs to look for and what to do if you see them in yourself or in another person. Some suicides happen without outward warning, but most people do give some sign that they are thinking about suicide.
What are the signs and what should you do?
Get immediate help from a mental health provider or call 911 when you see someone
- Saying they want to hurt or kill themselves
- Looking for ways to kill themselves: looking for pills, weapons, or other means
- Talking or writing about death, dying, or suicide
Call 1-800-273-TALK or contact a mental health professional, a parent, or teacher, or another adult, as soon as possible if you hear or see anyone with any one or more of these behaviors:
- Feelings of hopelessness
- Feelings of rage, anger, or seeking revenge
- Acting reckless or doing in risky activities without thinking
- Feeling trapped—like there’s no way out
- Increasing alcohol or drug use
- Withdrawing from friends, family or usual activities
- Feeling anxious, agitated, being unable to sleep, or sleeping all the time
- Having dramatic mood changes
- Seeing no reason for living or having no sense of purpose in life
- Giving away their things
- Feeling that there’s no one that cares about you
Stay with the person until help comes if you are with someone you think is in danger of taking their life.
If you are worried about a friend who is thinking about suicide, you might also want to also check out the When a friend is thinking about suicide fact sheet.
Acknowledgement: This fact sheet was originally developed by youth and staff at ReachOut.com, a website that helps teens get through tough times.
Donna Noonan, MPH, CHES
Youth Suicide Prevention Coordinator