Warning Signs of Suicidal Behavior

These signs may mean that someone is at risk for suicide. The more warning signs you see, the greater the risk.  Risk is also greater if the behavior is new, or has increased, and if it seems related to a painful event, loss, or change:

  • Talking about wanting to die or take one’s life
  • Looking for a way to kill oneself
  • Talking about feeling hopeless or having no reason to live
  • Talking about feeling trapped or being in unbearable pain
  • Talking about being a burden to others
  • Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs
  • Acting anxious or agitated; behaving recklessly
  • Sleeping too little or too much
  • Withdrawing or feeling isolated
  • Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge
  • Displaying extreme mood swings

What You Can Do

If you believe someone may be thinking about suicide:

  • Ask them if they are thinking about killing themselves. (This will not put the idea into their head or make it more likely that they will attempt suicide.)
  • Listen without judgment and show you care.
  • Stay with the person (or make sure the person is in a private, secure place with another caring person) until you can get further help.
  • Remove any objects that could be used in a suicide attempt.
  • Find your county crisis number at http://www.namihelps.org/support/crisis-resources.html. Most counties in Minnesota have mobile crisis teams who can come to you to make an assessment.
  • Call SAMHSA’s National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) for 24/7 crisis counseling, information and local resources.
  • If danger seems imminent, call 911 and tell them this is a mental health emergency so that a specially trained officer can be sent if available in your area.  Let the dispatcher know if there is a firearm in the home.

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