Suicide Warning Signs & Prevention

The following warning signs most directly indicate the individual needs immediate intervention. If someone exhibits any of these warning signs, call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, or call 911, or take the person to the nearest hospital Emergency Room.

Warning Signs

  • Threatening to hurt/kill him or herself, talking about harming him or herself, or announcing that he/she has made a plan to kill him or herself.
  • Obtaining a weapon or other items that they could use to hurt themselves.
  • Talking or writing about death, dying, or suicide.
  • Giving away prized possessions.
  • Neglecting their appearance and hygiene.
  • Hopelessness
  • Rage, uncontrolled anger, seeking revenge
  • Increased alcohol or drug use
  • Withdrawing from family and friends
  • Anxiety, agitation, being unable to sleep or sleeping all the time
  • Dramatic mood changes
  • Expressing feelings that life is meaningless or that there is no reason to live
  • Insomnia
  • Feeling desperate or trapped — like there’s no way out
  • Seeing no reason for living or having no sense of purpose in life
  • Diagnosed with a mental illness, particularly Depression, Bipolar Disorder, or Schizophrenia.

Listen for statements like:

  • Nobody cares.
  • Everyone will be better off without me.
  • I wish I were dead.
  • I’m going to end it all.
  • You will be better off without me.
  • What’s the point of living?
  • Soon you won’t have to worry about me.
  • Who cares if I’m dead, anyway?


The risk of suicide may be greatest as the person’s depression begins to lift.