Warning Signs & Ways to Help
Signs and Signals
· Talks about committing suicide
· Has trouble eating or sleeping
· Discusses hopelessness
· Exhibits drastic changes in behavior
· Withdrawal/isolation from friends or social activities
· Loses interest in school, work or hobbies
· Prepares for death by writing a will and making final arrangements
· Gives away prized possessions
· Has attempted suicide before
· Takes unnecessary risks
· Has had recent trauma or life crisis
· Seems preoccupied with death and dying
· Loses interest in his or her personal appearance
· Has a sudden calmness
These Increase Risk
· Substance and alcohol use
· Access to firearms
· Chronic medical illness
How can I help a suicidal person?!
· Don’t be afraid to speak up: I’ve noticed you don’t seem yourself lately. Is everything okay?
· Here are some questions suicide attempters wish they had been asked:
— Do you want to hang out? Many feel isolated and alone.
— Can I be here with you? They may need a hug to know they exist for someone.
— What’s the worst thing you are thinking or feeling? Many feel obligated to hide their feelings. It can be a relief to know they can say the worst of it out loud to someone.
· It is okay to ask a person directly if they are suicidal. It can offer them the opportunity to express their feelings and start a conversation.
— Have you had any thoughts of killing yourself?
— Are you thinking about suicide as a way out?
· Language matters. Avoid being judgmental, instead focus on showing genuine concern.
· Listen, understand their circumstances, reflect on what they are saying, and show you can offer support.
· Be patient. The conversation shouldn’t happen in passing.
· Avoid using negative words or being dismissive of them, their feelings, or suicidal thoughts.
· Always be prepared to direct a person in need towards professional help. Go with them. Do not leave them alone.