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Suicide Warning Signs

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Having knowledge of suicide warning signs is the first step in being able to help an adolescent in need. Contrary to common belief, about 80% of those who attempt suicide do exhibit signs. Several of these signs together may indicate it’s time to talk openly with the individual you are concerned about.

It is important to remember, however, that even healthy teens exhibit some of these signs from time to time. No one single sign is a sure indicator of suicide. Look for a pattern and trust your instincts!

Verbal Suicide Signs

Direct statements like the following need immediate attention:

  • “I want to die”
  • “I don’t want to live anymore”
  • “Life stinks and I want to get out”

Indirect statements can also give clues:

  • “I want to go to sleep and never wake up”
  • “They’ll be sorry when I’m gone”
  • “Soon the pain will be over”
  • “I hate myself”

Behavioral Suicide Signs

  • Lack of energy
  • Acting bored or disinterested
  • Tearful sadness
  • Difficulty concentrating or making decisions
  • Silence or withdrawal
  • Anger and destructive behavior
  • Less interest in usual activities
  • Giving away prized possessions
  • Poor school performance
  • Confusion
  • Dwelling on death in creative activities such as music, poetry and drawing
  • Difficulty sleeping or changing sleep patterns
  • Increased thrill seeking and risky behaviors
  • Increased use of drugs and alcohol
  • Change in appearance and cleanliness
  • Change in appetite or eating habits

Environmental Suicide Signs

  • Previous suicide attempts by a family member or friend
  • Problems at school
  • Family violence
  • Sexual abuse
  • Major family change

Remember, if you suspect someone is suicidal, seek professional help!

Medical information within this site is not intended for use in the diagnosis or treatment of any health condition. Please consult a licensed health care professional for the treatment or diagnosis of any medical condition.

Source: Youth Crisis Stabilization Program, Community Health and Counseling Services. Taken with permission from


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