Warning Signs of Suicide and What You Can Do
If you think a person could be suicidal, ask, "Have you thought about suicide?" If they say "yes," they may already have a plan for how and when they will attempt it. Find out as much as you can. The more detailed the plan, and the easier it is to carry out, the more danger the person is in right now.
Know the warning signs
The warning signs for suicide include:
Threats or talk of suicide
Sense of hopelessness
Buying a gun or other weapon
Statements such as "Soon, I won't be a problem" or "Nothing matters"
Giving away items they own, making out a will, or planning their funeral
Suddenly being happy or calm after being depressed
Factors that put a person at a higher risk of attempting suicide include:
A history of suicide in the person's family
Previous suicide attempts
Alcohol and drug use, along with impulsive behaviors
Having a diagnose mood disorder such as depression or bipolar disorder
History of trauma or abuse including bullying
Significant losses such as a divorce, death of a loved one, financial problems, or legal problems
Having access to a lethal weapon (for example firearms in the home)
Chronic physical illnesses, including chronic pain
Exposure to suicidal behavior of others
Don't try to handle this alone. You can be the most help by getting the person to a trained professional. Suicidal thinking may be a sign of depression, a serious but treatable illness.
In an emergency—call 911
Don't leave the person alone. Anyone who is at imminent risk of suicide needs psychiatric services right away. The person must be continuously monitored, and never left out of sight. Call 911 or a 24-hour suicide crisis hotline. It can be found in the white pages of your phone book under "Suicide." You can also take the person to the nearest hospital emergency room (ER).
Don't keep it a secret and don't wait
Call a mental health clinic or a licensed mental health professional in your area right away: a psychiatrist, clinical psychologist, psychiatric or licensed clinical social worker, marriage and family counselor, or clergy. Tell them you need help for a person who is thinking about suicide.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
National Suicide Hotline
National Institute of Mental Health
National Alliance on Mental Illness
Mental Health America