What if someone I know is considering suicide?
do not leave the person alone.
assist the individual in seeking immediate help from a personal physician, the nearest hospital emergency room, or call 911.
remove any access the person may have to firearms or other potential tools for suicide, including medications.
Source: Adapted from The National Institute of Mental Health
Suicide Warning Signs
Talking about dying - mention of dying, shooting, jumping, or any other types of self-harm.
Recent loss - includes recent deaths, loss of relationship or divorce, or job loss.
Loss of interests - lowered interest in hobbies, friends, religious faith, sex, or activities previously enjoyed.
Changes in personality - consistently apathetic, withdrawn, sad or irritable.
Change in behavior - unable to complete daily activities, can't focus on school work.
Change in sleep patterns - oversleeps or wakes up early. Insomnia and nightmares also possible.
Change in eating habits - loses or gains weight due to loss of appetite or overeating.
Low self-esteem - loss of self-worth. Feeling guilty, worthless, and useless.
No hope for the future - thinking things won't get any better or things will never change.
Suicide warning signs in teens
Additional warning signs that a teen may be considering suicide:
Change in eating and sleeping habits
Withdrawal from friends, family, and regular activities
Violent or rebellious behavior, running away
Drug and alcohol use
Unusual neglect of personal appearance
Persistent boredom, difficulty concentrating, or a decline
in the quality of schoolwork
Frequent complaints about physical symptoms, often related to emotions, such as stomachaches, headaches, fatigue, etc.
Not tolerating praise or rewards
Suicide warning signs in older adults
Additional warning signs that an elderly person may be
Reading material about death and suicide
Disruption of sleep patterns
Increased alcohol or prescription drug use
Failure to take care of self or follow medical orders
Sudden interest in firearms
Social withdrawal or elaborate good-byes
Rush to complete or revise a will
Source: University of Florida
Risk factors for suicide
Approximately 90 percent of people who kill themselves have a diagnosable and treatable psychiatric illnesses such as major depression, bipolar depression, or another depressive illness, including schizophrenia.
Alcohol or drug abuse, particularly when combined with depression
Post-traumatic Stress Disorder, or another anxiety disorder
Bulimia or anorexia nervosa
Personality disorders, especially borderline or antisocial personality disorder.
Other risk factors:
Past History of Attempted Suicide: Between 20 and 50 percent of people who kill themselves had previously attempted suicide. Those who have made serious suicide attempts are at a much higher risk for actually taking their lives.
Genetic Predisposition: Family history of suicide, suicide attempts, depression or other psychiatric illness.
Neurotransmitters: A clear relationship has been demonstrated between low concentrations of the serotonin metabolite 5-hydroxyindoleactic acid (5-HIAA) in cerebrospinal fluid and an increased incidence of attempted and completed suicide in psychiatric patients.
Impulsivity: Impulsive individuals are more apt to act on suicidal impulses.
Sex: Males are three to five times more likely to die by suicide than females.
Age: Elderly Caucasian males have the highest suicide rates.