Suicide Warning Signs


Warning signs are indications that someone may be in danger of suicide, either immediately or in the near future. Most suicidal people show one or more warning signs, so it is important to know the signs and take them seriously, especially if a behavior is new or has increased and if it seems related to a painful event, loss, or change.

The following signs may mean that a youth is at risk for suicide, particularly in youth who have attempted suicide in the past. The presence of more than one of the following warning signs may increase a youth’s risk for engaging in suicidal behaviors in the near future.

Youth Suicide Warning Signs1

  • Talking about or making plans for suicide
  • Expressing hopelessness about the future
  • Displaying severe/overwhelming emotional pain or distress
  • Showing worrisome behavioral cues or marked changes in behavior, particularly in the presence of the warning signs above. Specifically, this includes significant:
    • Withdrawal from or changes in social connections/situations
    • Changes in sleep (increased or decreased)
    • Anger or hostility that seems out of character or out of context
    • Recent increased agitation or irritability

What to Do

If you are having thoughts of suicide:

  • Please reach out for support by contacting a friend, family member, or a trusted adult
  • You can also call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (800-273-8255) or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “Home” to “741-741”

If you are concerned about someone:

  •    Ask them directly if they are having thoughts of suicide (talking to someone about suicide   will not put the thought in their head): “Are you thinking about suicide?”
  • Talk to a trusted adult about the warning signs you’ve observed

Information courtesy of (April 2018)

If you are experiencing an emotional crisis, are thinking about suicide or are concerned about a friend call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline immediately: 1-800-273-8255This is a free 24-hour hotline.
Directing Change is part of statewide efforts to prevent suicide, reduce stigma and discrimination related to mental illness, and to promote the mental health and wellness of students. These initiatives are funded by counties through the Mental Health Services Act (Prop 63) and administered by the California Mental Health Services Authority (CalMHSA), an organization of county governments working to improve mental health outcomes for individuals, families and communities.
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