Support if you're concerned someone may be thinking about suicide

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Suicide warning signs

How to identify if someone around you might be having suicidal thoughts

Identifying whether somebody is having suicidal thoughts is complex, as people react differently to situations and pressures. Also, there isn’t a clear path to suicide. Some people who experience suicidal thoughts may take their life after months, some after days and most never do. This makes it difficult to identify how close a person might be to taking their own life

This is why it’s important to learn about the warning signs and reach out to the people that you’re concerned about. These warning signs can be found in a person’s behaviour, their mood and the kinds of things they bring up in conversation. Be vigilant of these warning signs, especially if they are out of character.

Behaviour

Recklessness

Those experiencing suicidal thoughts often feel like they don’t want to live the life they have, and don’t care whether they live or die. This leads them to act recklessly, without care or caution.

Isolation

A common feeling amongst those experiencing suicidal thoughts is that they don’t have a place in society and are worthless. This may cause them to draw back from their families and social groups, becoming increasingly difficult to contact.

Withdrawing from activities

Contemplating suicide can leave a person feeling worthless, useless and caring less about their life. This may result in that person being unable to enjoy activities they once cared about.

Mood

Rage

A person contemplating suicide may feel like they have nothing to live for or be happy about. Because of this, they may exhibit sudden mood swings and fits of rage.

Anxiety

Most people experience anxiety throughout their lives, so be vigilant and try to differentiate between general worries and a symptom of suicidal thoughts. Drawing back from activities they once enjoyed and isolation from friends are signs of anxiety that may be linked to suicidal thoughts.

Loss of interest

A person may become uninterested in things that were once important. These may be as rudimental as personal hygiene, diet and sleep, as well as sporting activities, spending time with friends or even general conversation.

Conversation

Feeling trapped

Someone who is experiencing suicidal thoughts may feel like they are under pressure or trapped and can’t see a way out.

Being a burden

A feeling of worthlessness is a symptom of someone who may be experiencing suicidal thoughts. They may draw back from family and friends or apologise for their presence due to feeling useless or futile.

Talking about ending their life

This might not be in the form of an obvious confession, but rather as a passing comment. A person may bring up this topic, justifying their comments as hypothetical.

What to do next

If you’re concerned that somebody close to you is exhibiting these warning signs, it’s important that you intervene.

Talking about suicide is a complex issue and requires preparation. Find out how to start a conversation about suicide below.

To prepare you for a conversation about suicide and suicidal thoughts, Zero Suicide Alliance offers a free 20-minute online suicide prevention training course.

If you are concerned about an immediate risk to life, call 999

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Free online suicide prevention training 

To help you to prepare for a conversation about suicide and suicidal thoughts, Zero Suicide Alliance offers a free 20-minute online suicide prevention training course.