Warning Signs

I said yesterday that I wanted to talk about suicide. In that post, I mentioned that there are warning signs for suicide, but too often we bury our heads and refuse to see them. So for today’s post I wanted to share some of those warning signs.

Warning signs can include:

  • Talking about wanting to die;
  • talking about means of dying/looking for ways;
  • talking about a lack of hope or purpose;
  • talking about feeling like there is no way out;
  • talking about fears of becoming a burden to others;
  • reckless behavior, including increased uses of alcohol or drugs;
  • disrupted sleep patterns;
  • withdrawing from daily activities;
  • extreme mood swings;
  • giving away personal possessions or setting one’s affairs in order; and
  • saying goodbye, sorry, or thank you, especially if it is combined with one of the above warning signs.

Of course, the warning signs above have to be taken into context. Someone updating their will for example is probably just updating their will if none of the other warning signs are present. Yet some of them can be more subtle than people think, which is why I feel like it is helpful for me to share it here.

More importantly, talking about suicide continues the conversation, a conversation I hope helps destigmatize the issue and helps saves lives. Depression can be deadly, especially when it is allowed to isolate those who live with it. Talking about it pushes back against that deadliness. Sharing the warning signs will hopefully make others more educated and more able to talk to someone they feel might need support.

As I said yesterday, suicidal individuals often don’t want to die. And by understanding the warning signs, you might be able to help save their life.


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