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Warning Signs

Warning Signs

90% of all people who complete suicide are suffering from a mental illness at the time, most often untreated or undertreated depression.  There are several verbal, behavioral and mood-related signs that can serve as a warning to friends, family, faculty, and staff.  Some of the signs are not concerning on their own; however, a cluster of symptoms often points to a reason for concern.

Verbal Signs

  • Talking about death or suicide
  • Expressing feelings of unworthiness, failure, or hopelessness
  • Feeling like a burden to others
  • Lacking interest or hope for the future
  • Talking about a plan or intention to complete suicide
  • Saying things such as:
    • I’m not sure any if this is worth it anymore
    • I’d like this all to go away
    • I wish I could go to sleep and never wake up
    • It would be better for everyone if I were gone
    • No one would miss me anyway

Behavioral Signs

  • Giving away cherished possessions
  • Missing class regularly, no interest in academic goals
  • Increased use of alcohol or drugs
  • Behaving recklessly
  • Withdrawing or isolating from others
  • Sleeping too much or too little
  • Making a will
  • Canceling future plans as if there is no future
  • Stockpiling pills
  • Searching online for materials or means such as acquiring a weapon
  • Sending emails or texts that express or hint at self-harm or hopelessness, or postings like this on social media
  • Weight loss or weight gain
  • Less attending to physical appearance, health, or hygiene

Mood Changes

  • Increased or extreme feelings of sadness
  • Not caring about things that used to be important
  • Increasingly irritable or angry behaviors
  • Increasing or intolerable feelings of anxiety
  • The intense experience of humiliation or shame