Warning Signs

Warning signs are like invitations individuals thinking about suicide offer to the outside world as a cry for help. Recognizing these signs allows gatekeepers to intervene and provide help before it is too late. Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. 

Do you know someone who might feel…?

  • Desperate
  • Withdrawn from family, friends, school or work
  • Purposeless
  • Hopeless
  • Helpless
  • Trapped
  • Angry
  • Reckless


Have you heard a friend or student say or write…?

  • “I just can’t take it anymore.”
  • “Everyone will be better off without me.”
  • “Now I know what they were going through.”
  • “No one can do anything to help me now.”
  • “I can’t do anything right.”
  • “I wish this were all over.”

Have you seen changes in a friend’s or student’s behavior including…?

  • Lack of interest in appearance
  • Missing class
  • Disturbed sleep or can’t get out of bed
  • Change/loss of appetite, weight
  • Physical health complains


Recognizing these warning signs is important because it increases the likelihood of early detection and intervention with people who are in crisis, and this in turn is associated with improved outcomes. It is important to remember that these warning signs to not directly predict a suicide attempt, rather, the greater number of warning signs that are present, the greater the likelihood that an individual is contemplating suicide.