Warning Signs

Warning signs for suicide are specific demonstrations or examples of Risk Factors. Warning signs can be changes in behaviors, emotional attitudes or social activities

Behavioral: an obvious change in a usual, regular or accepted activity

  • Change in eating patterns (significant weight changes)
  • Giving away possessions
  • Unwillingness or inability to communicate
  • Extreme or extended boredom
  • Accident prone (carelessness)
  • Major loss (of loved one, home, loss through divorce, trauma, relationship)
  • Running away from home or truancy from school.
  • Rebelliousness
  • Perfectionism
  • Tendency toward impulsiveness/anger
  • Use of drugs and/or alcohol
  • A serious illness or injury
  • Failing in school or failing to pass an important test
  • Remorse or causing another person’s pain; a broken romance, an accident that injured another person

Emotional: a noticeable change in feelings, opinions and attitudes

  • Abrupt changes in personality
  • Inability to tolerate frustration
  • Depression
  • Unusually long grief reaction
  • Unusual sadness, discouragement and loneliness
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Withdrawal from people, especially close friend, family and/or favorite activities
  • Restlessness
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety – stress
  • Loss of self-esteem
  • Previous suicide attempts

Social: an identifiable change in relationships, peer groups or self-care

  • Ending of a romance or long-standing relationship
  • Neglect of personal appearance
  • Sexual promiscuity
  • Hostile or reckless behavior
  • Problems with school or the law
  • Unexpected pregnancy
  • A stressful family life
  • Parents who are substance abusers or depressed
  • Family history of suicide
  • Stress due to new situations; beginning a new school, college or relocating to a new community
  • Loss of security; fear of, intimidation, bullying by a supervisor, group or gang

Learn about interventions or how to take action to prevent suicide.