Warning Signs + Risk Factors

People considering suicide may show warning signs or hints they are having these thoughts. If someone you know is considering suicide, you may notice:

They might be feeling:

  • Loneliness;
  • Low self-esteem;
  • Anger;
  • Resentment;
  • Irritability;
  • Frustration;
  • Confusion;
  • Poor outlook on future;
  • Lack of emotion.

You might spot sudden change in their behaviour patterns like:

  • Sleeping and eating;
  • Appearance, personal hygiene and self-care;
  • Academic performance;
  • Change in mood;
  • Withdrawal/isolation;
  • Loss of interest in activities usually enjoyed;
  • Giving away possessions;
  • Increased risk-taking behaviours;
  • Thinking or talking a lot about death;
  • Writing or drawing about suicide;
  • Increase use of drugs or alcohol;
  • Making a plan for suicide.

In a private or group conversation, a text, a Facebook status, a Tweet, or any other type of communication, they might say something like:

  • What’s the point?
  • I am going to go away;
  • No one cares if I live or die;
  • Life sucks and isn’t worth it;
  • I shouldn’t have been born;
  • I wish I were dead;
  • I am going to end it all;
  • All of my problems will soon end.

Risk factors: 
There are experiences in life that may cause us to feel emotional or physical pain. Sometimes, if this problem or situation feels too big to handle, a person might think suicide is the only way out.

Some reasons someone might consider suicide are:

  • A previous suicide attempt;
  • Family history of suicidal behaviour;
  • A serious physical or mental illness;
  • Problems with drugs or alcohol;
  • A major loss, such as the death of a loved one, losing a job or divorce;
  • Major life changes or transitions, like those experienced by teens and seniors;
  • Feeling alone;
  • Family violence.

If someone is experiencing challenges or is struggling in their life, it does not necessarily mean they are having thoughts of suicide. If you are unsure, you can start by sitting down with your friend, explaining why you are concerned, and asking directly “are you having thoughts of suicide?” and listening to their response. Tell an adult you trust right away.

It’s important to know that asking someone if they are having thoughts of suicide, will not put the idea of suicide into their heads. If the individual has had thoughts of suicide, they are already experiencing these tough feelings and thoughts. Listen to their response, and be sure to talk to an adult you trust together. Remember to take care of yourself too! It can be overwhelming hearing that your friend is experiencing something so scary. You are doing the right thing by talking about it, and are doing the best you can.

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