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Learn the Signs

It may not be obvious when a person is suicidal but learning the specific warning signs can help you notice when a person may be at risk.
Not everyone who shows a warning sign is considering suicide.

Dramatic mood swings

We all have mood swings from time to time, but sudden, frequent or severe changes in mood can be a sign that someone needs help.

What else to look for
What else to look for

Seeing worrying behaviour is important, but so is following up by having a conversation. Some signs can only be known after reaching out, talking, and carefully listening. Not everyone who shows a warning sign is considering suicide.

This risk increases with the number of signs you see, whether they are out of character, or if they are happening more often and more intensely. Thinking about the warning signs is especially important if a person lives with certain risk factors and if they belong to a group that experiences higher rates of suicide.

See the Risk and Protective Factors and the Higher Risk Populations sections of the website to learn more information about who may be at greater risk.

What leads to suicide?
What leads to suicide?

There isn’t one single cause for suicide. Though the reasons are complex, often suicide is a result of someone feeling distressed and unable to cope with difficult life events or stressful circumstances. These may include losses, traumas, isolation, addictions or mental and physical illnesses. Most people who attempt suicide experience depression. A person considers suicide when they feel a sense of despair and hopelessness so unbearable that ending their own life seems like the only way to end the pain.

What can you do?

If you notice the warning signs that someone may be considering suicide, start a conversation. Take the time to show that you care about them and the pain they are experiencing. Mention that you’ve noticed them acting differently and let them know you’re concerned for them. Ask if they want to talk and actively listen if they do. You won’t have all the answers, but you can show you care.

Anger, agitation and anxiety

Anger, agitation and anxiety are normal human emotions, but when they are uncontrollable, happen often or last a long time, they could also be a sign of something more serious.

What else to look for
What else to look for

Seeing worrying behaviour is important, but so is following up by having a conversation. Some signs can only be known after reaching out, talking, and carefully listening. Not everyone who shows a warning sign is considering suicide.

This risk increases with the number of signs you see, whether they are out of character, or if they are happening more often and more intensely. Thinking about the warning signs is especially important if a person lives with certain risk factors and if they belong to a group that experiences higher rates of suicide.

See the Risk and Protective Factors and the Higher Risk Populations sections of the website to learn more information about who may be at greater risk.

What leads to suicide?
What leads to suicide?

There isn’t one single cause for suicide. Though the reasons are complex, often suicide is a result of someone feeling distressed and unable to cope with difficult life events or stressful circumstances. These may include losses, traumas, isolation, addictions or mental and physical illnesses. Most people who attempt suicide experience depression. A person considers suicide when they feel a sense of despair and hopelessness so unbearable that ending their own life seems like the only way to end the pain.

What can you do?

If you notice the warning signs that someone may be considering suicide, start a conversation. Take the time to show that you care about them and the pain they are experiencing. Mention that you’ve noticed them acting differently and let them know you’re concerned for them. Ask if they want to talk and actively listen if they do. You won’t have all the answers, but you can show you care.

Changes in sleep patterns

Lasting or significant changes in sleep patterns could involve sleeping more than normal, sleeping restlessly, or not sleeping at all. If someone seems tired all the time, it’s a good idea to ask them if they’re doing okay.

What else to look for
What else to look for

Seeing worrying behaviour is important, but so is following up by having a conversation. Some signs can only be known after reaching out, talking, and carefully listening. Not everyone who shows a warning sign is considering suicide.

This risk increases with the number of signs you see, whether they are out of character, or if they are happening more often and more intensely. Thinking about the warning signs is especially important if a person lives with certain risk factors and if they belong to a group that experiences higher rates of suicide.

See the Risk and Protective Factors and the Higher Risk Populations sections of the website to learn more information about who may be at greater risk.

What leads to suicide?
What leads to suicide?

There isn’t one single cause for suicide. Though the reasons are complex, often suicide is a result of someone feeling distressed and unable to cope with difficult life events or stressful circumstances. These may include losses, traumas, isolation, addictions or mental and physical illnesses. Most people who attempt suicide experience depression. A person considers suicide when they feel a sense of despair and hopelessness so unbearable that ending their own life seems like the only way to end the pain.

What can you do?

If you notice the warning signs that someone may be considering suicide, start a conversation. Take the time to show that you care about them and the pain they are experiencing. Mention that you’ve noticed them acting differently and let them know you’re concerned for them. Ask if they want to talk and actively listen if they do. You won’t have all the answers, but you can show you care.

Recklessness

If you notice someone acting dangerously in ways that risk causing harm to themselves or others with little care about the consequences, they might need help.

What else to look for
What else to look for

Seeing worrying behaviour is important, but so is following up by having a conversation. Some signs can only be known after reaching out, talking, and carefully listening. Not everyone who shows a warning sign is considering suicide.

This risk increases with the number of signs you see, whether they are out of character, or if they are happening more often and more intensely. Thinking about the warning signs is especially important if a person lives with certain risk factors and if they belong to a group that experiences higher rates of suicide.

See the Risk and Protective Factors and the Higher Risk Populations sections of the website to learn more information about who may be at greater risk.

What leads to suicide?
What leads to suicide?

There isn’t one single cause for suicide. Though the reasons are complex, often suicide is a result of someone feeling distressed and unable to cope with difficult life events or stressful circumstances. These may include losses, traumas, isolation, addictions or mental and physical illnesses. Most people who attempt suicide experience depression. A person considers suicide when they feel a sense of despair and hopelessness so unbearable that ending their own life seems like the only way to end the pain.

What can you do?

If you notice the warning signs that someone may be considering suicide, start a conversation. Take the time to show that you care about them and the pain they are experiencing. Mention that you’ve noticed them acting differently and let them know you’re concerned for them. Ask if they want to talk and actively listen if they do. You won’t have all the answers, but you can show you care.

Isolation and withdrawal

Most people need alone time. But when someone withdraws from their friends and family or stops doing activities they used to enjoy, they may be isolating themselves. It is also worrying when a person seems to have a full social life, and still expresses feeling isolated and alone.

What else to look for
What else to look for

Seeing worrying behaviour is important, but so is following up by having a conversation. Some signs can only be known after reaching out, talking, and carefully listening. Not everyone who shows a warning sign is considering suicide.

This risk increases with the number of signs you see, whether they are out of character, or if they are happening more often and more intensely. Thinking about the warning signs is especially important if a person lives with certain risk factors and if they belong to a group that experiences higher rates of suicide.

See the Risk and Protective Factors and the Higher Risk Populations sections of the website to learn more information about who may be at greater risk.

What leads to suicide?
What leads to suicide?

There isn’t one single cause for suicide. Though the reasons are complex, often suicide is a result of someone feeling distressed and unable to cope with difficult life events or stressful circumstances. These may include losses, traumas, isolation, addictions or mental and physical illnesses. Most people who attempt suicide experience depression. A person considers suicide when they feel a sense of despair and hopelessness so unbearable that ending their own life seems like the only way to end the pain.

What can you do?

If you notice the warning signs that someone may be considering suicide, start a conversation. Take the time to show that you care about them and the pain they are experiencing. Mention that you’ve noticed them acting differently and let them know you’re concerned for them. Ask if they want to talk and actively listen if they do. You won’t have all the answers, but you can show you care.

Talking about dying

Talking or writing about wanting to die can be subtle, obvious or may even look like a joke. Someone might say something like “I can’t take it anymore, I just want to die.” Even if it sounds offhand, they could be genuinely considering suicide, so it’s important to look further and to ask if they are serious.

What else to look for
What else to look for

Seeing worrying behaviour is important, but so is following up by having a conversation. Some signs can only be known after reaching out, talking, and carefully listening. Not everyone who shows a warning sign is considering suicide.

This risk increases with the number of signs you see, whether they are out of character, or if they are happening more often and more intensely. Thinking about the warning signs is especially important if a person lives with certain risk factors and if they belong to a group that experiences higher rates of suicide.

See the Risk and Protective Factors and the Higher Risk Populations sections of the website to learn more information about who may be at greater risk.

What leads to suicide?
What leads to suicide?

There isn’t one single cause for suicide. Though the reasons are complex, often suicide is a result of someone feeling distressed and unable to cope with difficult life events or stressful circumstances. These may include losses, traumas, isolation, addictions or mental and physical illnesses. Most people who attempt suicide experience depression. A person considers suicide when they feel a sense of despair and hopelessness so unbearable that ending their own life seems like the only way to end the pain.

What can you do?

If you notice the warning signs that someone may be considering suicide, start a conversation. Take the time to show that you care about them and the pain they are experiencing. Mention that you’ve noticed them acting differently and let them know you’re concerned for them. Ask if they want to talk and actively listen if they do. You won’t have all the answers, but you can show you care.

Increased use of alcohol or drugs

If you notice an unusual increase in someone’s drug and alcohol use, it could be a sign of something more serious going on.

What else to look for
What else to look for

Seeing worrying behaviour is important, but so is following up by having a conversation. Some signs can only be known after reaching out, talking, and carefully listening. Not everyone who shows a warning sign is considering suicide.

This risk increases with the number of signs you see, whether they are out of character, or if they are happening more often and more intensely. Thinking about the warning signs is especially important if a person lives with certain risk factors and if they belong to a group that experiences higher rates of suicide.

See the Risk and Protective Factors and the Higher Risk Populations sections of the website to learn more information about who may be at greater risk.

What leads to suicide?
What leads to suicide?

There isn’t one single cause for suicide. Though the reasons are complex, often suicide is a result of someone feeling distressed and unable to cope with difficult life events or stressful circumstances. These may include losses, traumas, isolation, addictions or mental and physical illnesses. Most people who attempt suicide experience depression. A person considers suicide when they feel a sense of despair and hopelessness so unbearable that ending their own life seems like the only way to end the pain.

What can you do?

If you notice the warning signs that someone may be considering suicide, start a conversation. Take the time to show that you care about them and the pain they are experiencing. Mention that you’ve noticed them acting differently and let them know you’re concerned for them. Ask if they want to talk and actively listen if they do. You won’t have all the answers, but you can show you care.

Giving away possessions

This could involve giving away possessions, especially favourite or valuable items, or showing you where they keep important things such as money, keys or their will.

What else to look for
What else to look for

Seeing worrying behaviour is important, but so is following up by having a conversation. Some signs can only be known after reaching out, talking, and carefully listening. Not everyone who shows a warning sign is considering suicide.

This risk increases with the number of signs you see, whether they are out of character, or if they are happening more often and more intensely. Thinking about the warning signs is especially important if a person lives with certain risk factors and if they belong to a group that experiences higher rates of suicide.

See the Risk and Protective Factors and the Higher Risk Populations sections of the website to learn more information about who may be at greater risk.

What leads to suicide?
What leads to suicide?

There isn’t one single cause for suicide. Though the reasons are complex, often suicide is a result of someone feeling distressed and unable to cope with difficult life events or stressful circumstances. These may include losses, traumas, isolation, addictions or mental and physical illnesses. Most people who attempt suicide experience depression. A person considers suicide when they feel a sense of despair and hopelessness so unbearable that ending their own life seems like the only way to end the pain.

What can you do?

If you notice the warning signs that someone may be considering suicide, start a conversation. Take the time to show that you care about them and the pain they are experiencing. Mention that you’ve noticed them acting differently and let them know you’re concerned for them. Ask if they want to talk and actively listen if they do. You won’t have all the answers, but you can show you care.

Talking about being a burden

If someone is talking about being a burden to friends, family and others, they could feel that they are weighing others down and they don’t see another solution other than suicide.

What else to look for
What else to look for

Seeing worrying behaviour is important, but so is following up by having a conversation. Some signs can only be known after reaching out, talking, and carefully listening. Not everyone who shows a warning sign is considering suicide.

This risk increases with the number of signs you see, whether they are out of character, or if they are happening more often and more intensely. Thinking about the warning signs is especially important if a person lives with certain risk factors and if they belong to a group that experiences higher rates of suicide.

See the Risk and Protective Factors and the Higher Risk Populations sections of the website to learn more information about who may be at greater risk.

What leads to suicide?
What leads to suicide?

There isn’t one single cause for suicide. Though the reasons are complex, often suicide is a result of someone feeling distressed and unable to cope with difficult life events or stressful circumstances. These may include losses, traumas, isolation, addictions or mental and physical illnesses. Most people who attempt suicide experience depression. A person considers suicide when they feel a sense of despair and hopelessness so unbearable that ending their own life seems like the only way to end the pain.

What can you do?

If you notice the warning signs that someone may be considering suicide, start a conversation. Take the time to show that you care about them and the pain they are experiencing. Mention that you’ve noticed them acting differently and let them know you’re concerned for them. Ask if they want to talk and actively listen if they do. You won’t have all the answers, but you can show you care.

Talking about feeling trapped

If someone feels trapped, they may not see how their situation can improve, and they probably don’t see any other way out. They might feel that life is pointless and hopeless.

What else to look for
What else to look for

Seeing worrying behaviour is important, but so is following up by having a conversation. Some signs can only be known after reaching out, talking, and carefully listening. Not everyone who shows a warning sign is considering suicide.

This risk increases with the number of signs you see, whether they are out of character, or if they are happening more often and more intensely. Thinking about the warning signs is especially important if a person lives with certain risk factors and if they belong to a group that experiences higher rates of suicide.

See the Risk and Protective Factors and the Higher Risk Populations sections of the website to learn more information about who may be at greater risk.

What leads to suicide?
What leads to suicide?

There isn’t one single cause for suicide. Though the reasons are complex, often suicide is a result of someone feeling distressed and unable to cope with difficult life events or stressful circumstances. These may include losses, traumas, isolation, addictions or mental and physical illnesses. Most people who attempt suicide experience depression. A person considers suicide when they feel a sense of despair and hopelessness so unbearable that ending their own life seems like the only way to end the pain.

What can you do?

If you notice the warning signs that someone may be considering suicide, start a conversation. Take the time to show that you care about them and the pain they are experiencing. Mention that you’ve noticed them acting differently and let them know you’re concerned for them. Ask if they want to talk and actively listen if they do. You won’t have all the answers, but you can show you care.

Talking about having no sense of purpose

Those considering suicide may talk about lacking a sense of purpose or about the meaningless and worthlessness of their life.

What else to look for
What else to look for

Seeing worrying behaviour is important, but so is following up by having a conversation. Some signs can only be known after reaching out, talking, and carefully listening. Not everyone who shows a warning sign is considering suicide.

This risk increases with the number of signs you see, whether they are out of character, or if they are happening more often and more intensely. Thinking about the warning signs is especially important if a person lives with certain risk factors and if they belong to a group that experiences higher rates of suicide.

See the Risk and Protective Factors and the Higher Risk Populations sections of the website to learn more information about who may be at greater risk.

What leads to suicide?
What leads to suicide?

There isn’t one single cause for suicide. Though the reasons are complex, often suicide is a result of someone feeling distressed and unable to cope with difficult life events or stressful circumstances. These may include losses, traumas, isolation, addictions or mental and physical illnesses. Most people who attempt suicide experience depression. A person considers suicide when they feel a sense of despair and hopelessness so unbearable that ending their own life seems like the only way to end the pain.

What can you do?

If you notice the warning signs that someone may be considering suicide, start a conversation. Take the time to show that you care about them and the pain they are experiencing. Mention that you’ve noticed them acting differently and let them know you’re concerned for them. Ask if they want to talk and actively listen if they do. You won’t have all the answers, but you can show you care.