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The foregoing lists are just some of the signs of suicidal tendencies. The fact that a person displays some or all of these signs may not necessarily mean that they are suicidal, though they clearly need special help and care if they display more than one or two. The fact that a person fails to display any of the foregoing signs or symptoms does not necessarily mean that they are mentally healthy. Many relatives of suicide victims have indicated that their loved one displayed no symptoms whatsoever. If you have any doubts or concerns about either yourself, a loved one, or a friend, you should seek help. Suicide is rarely a spur of the moment decision. In the days and hours before people kill themselves, there are usually clues and warning signs.


The strongest and most disturbing signs are verbal – ‘I can’t go on,’ ‘Nothing matters any more’ or even ‘I’m thinking of ending it all.’ Such remarks should always be taken seriously. Talking or joking about suicide should always be taken seriously.



  • Becoming depressed or withdrawn

  • Behaving recklessly

  • Getting affairs in order and giving away valued possessions

  • Showing a marked change in behavior, attitudes or appearance

  • Abusing drugs or alcohol

  • Suffering a major loss or life change

The following list gives more examples, all of which can be signs that somebody is contemplating suicide.

Of course, in most cases these situations do not lead to suicide.

But, generally, the more signs a person displays, the higher the risk of suicide.



  • Family history of suicide or violence

  • Sexual or physical abuse

  • Death of a close friend or family member

  • Divorce or separation, ending a relationship

  • Failing academic performance, impending exams, exam results

  • Job loss, problems at work

  • Impending legal action

  • Recent imprisonment or upcoming release



  • Crying

  • Fighting

  • Breaking the law

  • Impulsiveness

  • Self-mutilation

  • Irritability

  • Writing and/or drawing about death and suicide

  • Previous suicidal behavior

  • Extremes of behavior

  • Changes in behavior


  • Lack of energy

  • Disturbed sleep patterns – sleeping too much or too little

  • Disturbance in eating patterns

  • Sudden weight gain or loss

  • Increase in minor illnesses

  • Change of sexual interest

  • Sudden change in appearance

  • Lack of interest in appearance



  • Thoughts of suicide

  • Loneliness – lack of support from family and friends

  • Rejection, feeling marginalized

  • Deep sadness or guilt

  • Unable to see beyond a narrow focus

  • Daydreaming

  • Anxiety and stress

  • Helplessness

  • Loss of self-worth

  • Hopelessness

If you see any of these signs please call 911

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