While there are some situations in which no warning signs are present prior to a suicide attempt or suicide death, most often an individual does exhibit some clues or warning signs that they are struggling with suicidal ideation. As such, it is important to be aware of the warning signs of suicide so that appropriate help can be given.
Here’s an Easy-to-Remember Mnemonic:
IS PATH WARM?
S Substance Abuse
M Mood Changes
Warning Signs of Acute Risk:
- Threatening to hurt or kill self, or talking of wanting to hurt or kill self
- Looking for ways to kill self by seeking access to firearms, available pills, or other means
- Talking or writing about death, dying or suicide, when these actions are out of the ordinary
If these warning signs are noted, seek help as soon as possible by contacting a mental health professional or calling 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
Additional Warning Signs:
- Increased substance (alcohol or drug) use
- No reason for living; no sense of purpose in life
- Anxiety, agitation, unable to sleep or sleeping all the time
- Feeling trapped – like there’s no way out
- Withdrawal from friends, family and society
- Rage, uncontrolled anger, seeking revenge
- Acting reckless or engaging in risky activities, seemingly without thinking
- Dramatic mood changes
If these warning signs are noted, seek help as soon as possible by contacting a mental health professional or calling 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
Adapted from American Association of Suicidology