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What Are the Warning Signs of Suicide?

Suicide is one of the leading causes of death in teenagers, and deaths by suicide are on the rise in teens and young adults. Sometimes suicide can seem sudden, but in many cases there are signs and symptoms that someone is considering it. It’s important to know the signs so you or someone you know can get help.

If you need help right now: 

  • Text HOME to 741-741 for a free, confidential conversation with a trained counselor any time of day.
  • Text or call 988 or use the chat function at 988lifeline.org.
  • If this is a medical emergency or there is immediate danger of harm, call 911 and explain that you need support for a mental health crisis.

Things someone may say or think: 

  • Talking or thinking about wanting to die, “killing themselves,” or suicide
  • Mentioning ways to end their life or making specific plans to do so
  • Thinking or talking about feeling empty, alone, or “over it”
  • Saying people in their life would be better off without them

Things someone may do: 

  • Say goodbye to friends and family
  • Sleep less—or a lot more—than usual
  • Eat much less—or a lot more—than usual
  • Withdraw from people or social activities
  • Stop taking care of their personal hygiene
  • Increase their use of alcohol or drugs
  • Act recklessly
  • Have big changes in their usual behavior

Ways someone may feel:

  • Extremely anxious, agitated, irritable, or angry
  • Persistently sad or depressed
  • Up and down in their moods 
  • Hopeless, trapped, or without purpose
  • Like a burden to others
  • Numb or not interested in the parts of life they usually enjoy

Any of these signs can indicate that someone is considering suicide or that they are experiencing serious emotional distress and need support right away. 

It is also possible that someone is thinking about suicide and not showing any of these signs. 

The bottom line is: If you’re worried about yourself or a friend, trust that instinct and take action. 

Find out How to Ask Someone If They Are Considering Suicide. 

Learn How to Tell Someone You Are Thinking About Suicide

If you or someone else is in immediate danger, call or text the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline at 988. 

If it is a medical emergency or there is immediate danger of harm, call 911. Let the operator know you are calling about a mental health emergency and follow these tips to ensure the police arrive prepared to respond appropriately.

Additional resources

SAMHSA’s National Helpline: Call 1-800-662-HELP (4357) for a referral for mental health treatment

Asian LifeNet Hotline: Call 1-877-990-8585

Trans Lifeline: Call 1-877-565-8860

The Trevor Project (LGBTQ) Helpline: Call 1-866-4UTREVOR (1-866-488-7386), chat online, or text START to 678-678

Veterans Crisis Line: Call 1-800-273-8255, chat online, or text 83825

National Domestic Violence Hotline: Call 1-800-799-SAFE (7233), chat online, or text START to 88788

National Runaway Safeline: Call 1-800-RUNAWAY (1-800-786-2929) or chat online

Rape Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN): Call 1-800-656-HOPE (4673) or chat online

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Get Help Now

If you or someone you know needs to talk to someone right now, text HOME to 741-741 or call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) for a free confidential conversation with a trained counselor 24/7. 

If you are experiencing a mental health crisis, text or call 988.

If this is a medical emergency or if there is immediate danger of harm, call 911 and explain that you need support for a mental health crisis.

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