Healthwise
To print: Use your web browser's print feature. Close this window after printing.

Warning Signs of Suicide

Table of Contents


Topic Overview

Take any mention of suicide seriously. If someone you know is threatening suicide, get help right away. Health professionals should try to find out whether the person:

If a suicide threat seems real, with a specific plan and the means at hand:

You can take steps to prevent a suicide attempt. Be willing to listen, and help the person find help. Don't be afraid to ask "What is the matter?" or bring up the subject of suicide. There is no evidence that talking about suicide leads to suicidal thinking or suicide.

Remove all firearms from the home, or lock firearms and bullets up in different places. Get rid of any prescription and nonprescription medicines that are not being used.

For more information on preventing suicide, see the topic Suicidal Thoughts or Threats.

Warning signs of suicide

It is hard to know if a person is thinking about suicide. But you can look for warning signs and events that may make suicide more likely.

People may be more likely to attempt suicide if they:

Events that may put people at greater risk for suicide include:

Adults who are at risk may show these warning signs of suicide. They may:

The warning signs in children, teens, and young adults may be different. They include running away from home or doing risky or dangerous things, such as drunk driving.

Take any mention of suicide seriously. If someone you know is threatening suicide, get help right away. To learn more, see Suicidal Thoughts or Threats.


Credits for Warning Signs of Suicide

Current as of: September 23, 2020

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
Christine R. Maldonado PhD - Behavioral Health


Note: The "printer friendly" document will not contain all the information available in the online document. Some information (e.g. cross-references to other topics, definitions or medical illustrations) is only available in the online version.

© 1995-2021 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.