Suicide Prevention


Suicide is linked to desperation and hopelessness. It's the final act of a person who is deeply in pain and who wants to stop hurting. But in most cases it follows a long period of internal struggle.

Reaching Out

People who are thinking about suicide may not know how to ask for help directly. But most want and need help. And they tend to do and say things that hint at their struggle. If you learn to recognize these warning signs, you may be able to help save a life.


First, listen to what they say. People who are thinking about suicide may talk or write about death and dying. They may say they have no reason for living, and that they see no purpose in life. They may talk about being a burden on others. They may talk about guilt or shame. They may threaten to hurt or to kill themselves. They may say goodbye to family and friends.


Second, watch what they do. They may have trouble sleeping, or they may sleep more than normal. They may withdraw from friends. They may begin using or increase their use of drugs and alcohol. They may act out in reckless and dangerous ways. They may try to get access to things such as guns or pills they can use to take their own life. They may give away important possessions. They may put their affairs in order. They may make a will.


And finally, be aware of their moods. People who are thinking about suicide may seem lost, trapped and hopeless. They may be anxious and agitated. Their mood swings can be dramatic. They may have trouble controlling their anger, which can lead them to seek revenge on others.


If you recognize any of these signs, take them seriously. Talk openly with the person. Encourage them to get help. Call a help line. Contact a mental health professional or a help group. Do not ignore suicide warning signs.