Warning Signs of Suicide

September 8 through 14 is "National Suicide Prevention Week." Are you aware of the warning signs of suicide?

According to the latest available data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2009, suicide was the tenth-leading cause of death in the U.S., accounting for 36,909 deaths. Alarmingly, suicide was the third-leading cause of death for young people ages 15 to 24.

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention reports that 75 percent of those who commit suicide give some warning of their intentions to a friend or family member. If you are concerned about a family member or friend, review the warning signs below.

Warning signs of suicide may include:

  • Threatening to hurt or kill oneself or talking or writing about wanting to do so
  • Looking for ways to kill oneself by seeking access to firearms, pills, or other means
  • Giving away prized possessions
  • Feeling hopeless, seeing no reason for living
  • Feeling rage or uncontrolled anger
  • Acting reckless or engaging in risky activities
  • Feeling trapped or desperate–like there's no way out
  • Increasing alcohol or drug use
  • Withdrawing from friends, family and society
  • Feeling anxious, agitated, or unable to sleep or sleeping all the time
  • Experiencing dramatic mood changes

Source: National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

Note: The warning signs above are some typical behaviors which may be cause for concern. This list is not intended to be all inclusive and you should never attempt to diagnose a behavioral health issue.

What to do if you think a friend or loved one is suicidal

Professional help should be sought immediately if a person is experiencing suicidal thoughts. Get help from persons or agencies specializing in crisis intervention and suicide prevention. In an acute crisis, contact your Employee Assistance Program (EAP) for a referral to the closest possible crisis center in your area. In addition, a professional EAP counselor can provide you with information and support regarding how to most-effectively help the person you're concerned about, or provide you with other information about suicide prevention or mental health services. All EAP services are FREE and strictly CONFIDENTIAL.