Warning Signs of Suicide
Author: American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP)
Suicide can be prevented. While some suicides occur without any outward warning, most people who are suicidal do give warnings. Prevent the suicide of loved ones by learning to recognize the signs of someone at risk, taking those signs seriously and knowing how to respond to them.
Warning signs of suicide include:
- Observable signs of serious depression:
Unrelenting low mood
Anxiety, psychic pain and inner tension
- Increased alcohol and/or other drug use
- Recent impulsiveness and taking unnecessary risks
- Threatening suicide or expressing a strong wish to die
- Making a plan:
Giving away prized possessions
Sudden or impulsive purchase of a firearm
Obtaining other means of killing oneself such as poisons or medications
- Unexpected rage or anger
The emotional crises that usually precede suicide are often recognizable and treatable. Although most depressed people are not suicidal, most suicidal people are depressed. Serious depression can be manifested in obvious sadness, but often it is rather expressed as a loss of pleasure or withdrawal from activities that had been enjoyable. One can help prevent suicide through early recognition and treatment of depression and other psychiatric illnesses.
The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) has been at the forefront of a wide range of suicide prevention initiatives — each designed to reduce loss of life from suicide. We are investing in groundbreaking research, new educational campaigns, innovative demonstration projects and critical policy work. And we are expanding our assistance to people whose lives have been affected by suicide, reaching out to offer support and offering opportunities to become involved in prevention.