Suicide warning signs

 Content Editor

​The reasons that people take their own lives are often very complex.
When someone is contemplating suicide, their words and actions can give you clues that they are at risk for hurting themselves.
On this page we talk about some of the warning signs to look out for.
High-risk warning signs
A person may be at high risk of attempting suicide if they:
  • threaten to hurt or take their own life
  • talk or write about death, dying or suicide
  • actively look for ways to take their own life, such as stockpiling tablets

If someone you know is showing high risk warning signs, visit our help in a crisis webpage.
Other signs that someone may not be okay
  • Feeling restless and agitated
  • Feeling tearful
  • Not wanting to talk to or be with people
  • Not wanting to do things you usually enjoy
  • Using alcohol or drugs to cope with feelings
  • Finding it hard to cope with everyday things
  • Not replying to messages or being distant
  • They start to put their affairs in order, such as sorting out possessions or making a will
  • They talk about feeling trapped, such as saying they can't see any way out of their current situation
You might not always be able to spot these signs, and these emotions show up differently in everyone.

If you notice any of these warning signs in a friend, relative or loved one, encourage them to talk about how they are feeling.

We also recommend sharing your concerns with your GP or a member of their care team, if they are being treated for a mental health condition.

Situations to look out for
It can also be useful to identify these situations that can trigger suicidal thoughts or make it hard for someone to cope.
  • relationship and family problems
  • loss, including loss of a friend or a family member through bereavement
  • financial worries
  • job-related stress
  • college or study-related stress
  • loneliness and isolation
  • depression
  • painful and/or disabling physical illness
  • heavy use of or dependency on alcohol or other drugs
  • thoughts of suicide
These may not apply to everyone who is struggling, but they can be useful to look out for.

Supporting someone you know online
Some phrases or themes to watch out for in social media updates and online messages include:
  • I want to give up
  • No-one would notice if I wasn't here
  • I hate myself
We all experience not being okay differently. Not everyone who is struggling to cope will use these phrases, in fact some people might not be posting or messaging at all.