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

· Intoxication

· Access to firearms

· Chronic medical illness

· Isolation

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.

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