The Warning Signs of Suicide and What to Do

Suicide prevention. (U.S. Air Force illustration by Airman 1st Class Kathryn R.C. Reaves)
Suicide prevention. (U.S. Air Force illustration by Airman 1st Class Kathryn R.C. Reaves)

While it often seems that suicides occur without warning, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says those considering suicide often exhibit certain behaviors. The CDC recommends being familiar with the signs and knowing what to do if someone needs help.

Some warning signs of suicide include:

  • Talking about wanting to die
  • Looking for ways to die
  • Talking about feeling hopeless and having no purpose
  • Talking about feeling trapped or being in unbearable pain
  • Talking about being a burden to others
  • Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs
  • Acting anxious or agitated, or behaving recklessly
  • Sleeping too little or too much
  • Withdrawing or feeling isolated
  • Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge
  • Displaying mood swings

According to the CDC, the more signs a person shows, the greater the risk.

If someone close to you is exhibiting warning signs, the CDC recommends ensuring that the individual is not left alone and taking the following steps: removing any firearms, sharp objects, alcohol and drugs from the area; calling the suicide prevention lifeline (for veterans, the number is 800-273-8255, press 1); and taking the person to an emergency room or medical professional.

-- Patricia Kime can be reached at Patricia.Kime@Military.com. Follow her on Twitter at @patriciakime.

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