Warning Signs

  • Suicide is a major public health concern. In 2019, suicide was the 10th leading cause of death overall in the United States, claiming the lives of over 47,500 people. Suicide is complicated and tragic, but it is often preventable. Knowing the warning signs for suicide and how to get help can help save lives.

    Warning signs that someone may be at immediate risk for attempting suicide include:

    • Talking about wanting to die or wanting to kill themselves
    • Talking about feeling empty or hopeless or having no reason to live
    • Talking about feeling trapped or feeling that there are no solutions
    • Feeling unbearable emotional or physical pain
    • Talking about being a burden to others
    • Withdrawing from family and friends
    • Giving away important possessions
    • Saying goodbye to friends and family
    • Putting affairs in order, such as making a will
    • Taking great risks that could lead to death, such as driving extremely fast
    • Talking or thinking about death often

    Other serious warning signs that someone may be at risk for attempting suicide include:

    • Displaying extreme mood swings, suddenly changing from very sad to very calm or happy
    • Making a plan or looking for ways to kill themselves, such as searching for lethal methods online, stockpiling pills, or buying a gun
    • Talking about feeling great guilt or shame
    • Using alcohol or drugs more often
    • Acting anxious or agitated
    • Changing eating or sleeping habits
    • Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge

    It is important to note that suicide is not a normal response to stress. Suicidal thoughts or actions are a sign of extreme distress and should not be ignored. If these warning signs apply to you or someone you know, get help as soon as possible, particularly if the behavior is new or has increased recently.