In The Know Zone

Can you tell if someone is suicidal?

Can you tell if someone is suicidal?

Most people who commit or attempt suicide do behave in ways that warn of their potential for self-destruction – if their friends, families and physicians are attuned to the warning signs, and not deflected by myths about how suicidal people should be approached.

Warning signs of a potential suicide include:

  • Talk about suicide, death or having no reason to live
  • Preoccupation with death and dying
  • Withdrawal from friends, family and social activities
  • Drastic changes in behavior
  • A recent severe loss or threat of loss, particularly of an important relationship
  • Loss of interest in work, school and hobbies
  • An unexpected decision to make a will or funeral arrangements
  • Giving away prized possessions
  • A previous suicide attempt
  • Reckless, impulsive or risky behavior
  • Loss of interest in personal appearance
  • Increased use of alcohol or drugs
  • Comments reflecting a sense of hopelessness
  • Confronting a situation of humiliation or failure
  • A history of violence or hostility
  • An unwillingness to respond to would-be helpers [19]

[19] Foregoing list is adapted from American Association of Suicidology, Understanding and Helping the Suicidal Individual,, Accessed 6/4/04

In The Know: At Risk Pamphlet/ DVD Package
In The Know: At Risk DVD Package