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Suicide: 5 Warning Signs and 5 Things You Can Do to Help

Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in America. In fact, 121 people, of all ages and economic classes, commit suicide in the U.S. every day. 

According to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, there are common identifiers to determine whether you or someone you know may be at risk of committing suicide. Learn the warning signs and what you can do to help a person who might be considering this fatal act.

5 Most Common Warning Signs Of Suicide

1. Attempting Self-Harm or Self-Injury

  • Threatening to hurt or kill oneself or talking about wanting to hurt or kill oneself
  • Looking for ways to kill oneself by seeking access to firearms, available pills or other means

2. Extreme Feelings of Loss or Hopelessness

  • Talking or writing about death, dying or suicide when these actions are out of the ordinary for the person
  • Feeling trapped, like there's no way out
  • Seeing no reason for living, or having no sense of purpose in life
  • Feels like a burden to others

3. Uncharacteristic Changes in Mood and Behavior

  • Feeling rage or uncontrolled anger, or seeking revenge
  • Acting recklessly or engaging in risky activities, seemingly without thinking
  • Increasing alcohol or drug use
  • Extreme mood swings

4. Isolating Oneself

  • Withdrawing from friends, family and society
  • Feeling anxious, agitated or unable to sleep, or sleeping all the time

5. Putting Affairs in Order

  • Calling friends or family to say goodbye
  • Tying up loose ends
  • Making changes to a will

To learn more warning signs, click here.

5 Things to Do if You See Warning Signs

1. Take the person seriously and realize that he or she is not joking but is telling you his or her plans.

2. Call 911.

3. If the danger is imminent, reach out for help by calling a suicide crisis line such as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

4. Encourage the person to seek mental help.

5. Don't give up on the person. Check in with him or her constantly. Let the person know that you want him or her to be safe and well, and that professional treatment is the best way to do that.


If you or someone you know is experiencing any of these or you believe he or she may be in imminent danger, call 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

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