Suicide is often the result of many factors which can vary from person to person. Many people thinking about suicide are having difficulty coping with stressful factors and feel very overwhelmed and hopeless.
The majority of people who consider suicide also have a mental illness like depression or substance abuse. These conditions may cause suicidal thoughts alone or simply make stressful situations worse.
Plan for death, such as giving away favorite items
Withdraw from family and friends
Other symptoms may include:
Loss of interest in daily activities such as work and hobbies
Loss or gain in appetite
Sleeping too little or too much
Changes in appearance such as lack of personal hygiene
Increased use of alcohol or drugs
Mood swings that range from irritability to a sudden sense of calm
Acting anxious or restless, or behaving hastily
Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain
These symptoms can occur without suicidal ideation. However if someone you know has these signs, try to talk to them to better learn what is happening. Asking about suicidal feelings will not encourage someone to commit suicide but may actually help prevent suicide.
If you or someone you know has thoughts of suicide or harming oneself, it is important to seek professional help right away. There are many suicide hotlines to help those considering suicide or to provide information for friends and family of someone considering suicide.
If the risk of suicide is severe, go to an emergency room or call for emergency services. Risk is considered severe if the person has a well thought out plan to commit suicide and has access to items that can cause harm.
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Risk of suicide. National Alliance on Mental Illness. Available at: https://www.nami.org/Learn-More/Mental-Health-Conditions/Related-Conditions/Suicide. Accessed April 18, 2018.
Suicidal thoughts. American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy website. Available at: ...(Click grey area to select URL) Accessed April 18, 2018.
Suicide in children and teens. American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry website. Available at: https://www.aacap.org/AACAP/Families_and_youth/Facts_for_Families/FFF-Guide/Teen-Suicide-010.aspx. Updated October 2017. Accessed April 18, 2018.
Warning signs of suicide. Suicide Awareness Voices of Education site. Available at:
https://save.org/about-suicide/warning-signs-risk-factors-protective-factors. Accessed April 8, 2018.
We can all prevent suicide. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline website. Available at: https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/how-we-can-all-prevent-suicide. Accessed April 18, 2018.
Last reviewed March 2018 by
EBSCO Medical Review Board
Adrian Preda, MD Last Updated: 3/8/2016