Suicide Warning Signs

Suicide Warning Signs

The World Health Organization reports that suicide is the second most costly societal epidemic other than heart disease. Lawyers are three times more likely suffer from depression and more likely to commit suicide than any other profession. And yet, the stigma of suicide prevents individuals from recognizing this fact, which- in turn- only perpetuates the problem.

Research shows that the great majority of those who attempt suicide give some warning signs, verbal or behavioral, of their intent to kill themselves in the final weeks leading up to the act. The more warning signs, the greater the risk.


If a person talks about:

  • Killing themselves.
  • Having no reason to live.
  • Being a burden to others.
  • Feeling trapped.
  • Unbearable pain.


A person’s suicide risk is greater if a behavior is new or has increased, especially if it’s related to a painful event, loss, or change.

  • Increased use of alcohol or drugs.
  • Looking for a way to kill themselves, such as searching online for materials or means.
  • Acting recklessly.
  • Withdrawing from activities.
  • Isolating from family and friends.
  • Sleeping too much or too little.
  • Visiting or calling people to say goodbye.
  • Giving away prized possessions.
  • Aggression.


People who are considering suicide often display one or more of the following moods:

  • Depression.
  • Loss of interest.
  • Rage.
  • Irritability.
  • Humiliation.
  • Anxiety.

How To Be Helpful to Someone Who Is Threatening Suicide

  • Be direct. Talk openly and matter-of-factly about suicide.
  • Be willing to listen. Allow expressions of feelings. Accept the feelings.
  • Be non-judgmental. Don't debate whether suicide is right or wrong, or whether feelings are good or bad. Don't lecture on the value of life.
  • Get involved. Become available. Show interest and support.
  • Don't dare him or her to do it.
  • Don't act shocked. This will put distance between you.
  • Don't be sworn to secrecy. Seek support.
  • Offer hope that alternatives are available but do not offer glib reassurance.
  • Take action. Remove means, such as guns or stockpiled pills.
  • Get help from persons or agencies specializing in crisis intervention and suicide prevention.
  • Be aware of feelings.

Many people at some time in their lives think about suicide. Most decide to live because they eventually come to realize that the crisis is temporary and death is permanent. On the other hand, people having a crisis sometimes perceive their dilemma as inescapable and feel an utter loss of control. These are some of the feelings and thoughts they experience:

  • Can't stop the pain.
  • Can't think clearly.
  • Can't make decisions.
  • Can't see any way out.
  • Can't sleep, eat or work.
  • Can't get out of depression.
  • Can't make the sadness go away.
  • Can't see a future without pain.
  • Can't see themselves as worthwhile.
  • Can't get someone's attention.
  • Can't seem to get control.

If you experience these feelings, get help! If someone you know exhibits these symptoms, offer help!


If someone is considering suicide, it’s crucial to get help right away. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a service available to anyone 24 hours a day, seven days a week toll-free:

1-800-273-TALK (8255)



If you need to talk to a TLAP representative outside of business hours, please call 615-741-3238 and press "1." Leave a detailed message and someone will return your call as soon as possible. All of the TLAP staff are certified in suicide prevention and are trained crisis counselors.


Depression & Bipolar Disorder

Identifying Suicide Signs