Ten Warning Signs of Suicide You Should Know, Plus How to Help

“If someone listens, or stretches out a hand, or whispers a
word of encouragement, or attempts to understand a lonely
person, extraordinary things begin to happen”
-Loretta Girzartis
September is National Suicide Awareness Month. Suicide is currently one of the leading causes of preventable deaths in the United States, ranked top ten among leading causes of death for adults in the United States and the 2nd leading cause of death among young people 10 to 24 years of age.
Every year more than 41,000 people die by suicide, according to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention.
Many people who are thinking about suicide don’t seek help because they fear they will be viewed as weak, damaged, overly dramatic, foolish, sinful, manipulative, or that they will be punished in some way or even be subjected to involuntary commitment in a psychiatric facility. If you know someone who is talking about suicide, always take it seriously. Be open and listen. Let them know you are glad they are talking to you – show patience, sympathy, and acceptance
Conditions associated with suicide can include a death or terminal illness of a relative or friend; divorce or separation; loss of health; loss of a job, home, money, status or personal security; substance use; and depression, which can manifest in children as hyperactivity or acting out.
Research shows that approximately 90 percent of individuals who die by suicide experience mental health disorders. A study published in the U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institute of Health, The relationship between anxiety disorders and suicide attempts: findings from the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions, links anxiety disorder and suicide: “Among individuals reporting a lifetime history of suicide attempt, over 70% had an anxiety disorder.”
By recognizing the warning signs, you could save a life!
Below are ten possible warning signs you should know:
  1. Talking about wanting to die or to kill oneself
  2. Talking about feeling hopeless or having no purpose
  3. Talking about feeling trapped or being in unbearable pain (emotional or physical)
  4. Talking about being a burden to others
  5. Increasing use of alcohol or drugs
  6. Acting anxious, agitated, or reckless
  7. Sleeping too little or too much
  8. Withdrawing or feeling isolated
  9. Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge
  10. Displaying extreme mood swings
It is okay to ask someone you suspect of having suicidal thoughts if they are contemplating suicide. You are not giving them ideas. By asking, you show that you care and are willing to listen. Even though the person might ask you to keep their thoughts secret, it’s important to recognize that sharing is a cry for help. If a person is acutely suicidal, do not leave them alone. Seek help from a mental health professional or call a suicide hotline.
National Suicide Prevention Hotlines
1-800-SUICIDE (784-2433)
1-800-273-TALK (8255)
Anne Arundel County Public Schools Student Safety Hotline
24 hours a day, 7 days a week
Disaster Distress (Helpline Offers Immediate Crisis Counseling)
1-800-985-5990 or text “TalkWithUs” to 66746
1-800-985-5990 or test “Hablanos” to 66746 (Spanish)
TTY for Deaf/Hearing Impaired: 1-800-846-8517
24-hours-a-day, 7 days a week national hotline dedicated to providing disaster crisis counseling. Sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Admin (SAMHSA).

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