Recognizing Suicidal Behavior: The Warning Signs to Look For

Recognizing Suicidal Behavior: The Warning Signs to Look For

Suicide is a tragic consequence of many mental health issues.

It leaves family, friends, and communities in shock and pain. It is estimated that about one million people worldwide dies by suicide each year. It is currently the tenth leading cause of death in the United States.

The causes and circumstances of suicide vary from person to person, but if you can recognize what suicidal behavior looks like, you might be able to save those you care about before it is too late.

Signs of Suicidal Behavior

Many times, a person’s behavior reveals that they might be suicidal, even if the person doesn’t say it aloud. Even though these behaviors don’t mean with 100% certainty that someone is planning to kill themselves, if you notice several of them together, it is better to act than not to act.

Even if there is only one behavior that you notice has changed significantly, it is better to ask the person in question about their plans and mental well-being before it is too late. Better to be embarrassed and wrong than to be right and not to act before the person dies by suicide.

We offer counseling services you can recommend, along with simply sharing your concern with the person you’re worried about.

The following are warning signs of suicidal behavior.

Talking About Suicide

It might be obvious, but it is worth repeating.

If a person talks about suicide, it is a sign they could be considering it, even if it seems like it is in jest. Take such talk seriously. More than half of those who kill themselves give friends and family a warning before doing so.

Extreme Mood Changes or Sadness

Suicide is often the result of serious mental health issues. If a person is suddenly extremely sad or negative, it could be a sign. If a person is typically very stressed in their daily life and suddenly becomes strangely calm, it can be a warning sign as well.

It might indicate that they have made peace with the decision to die by suicide. So, either extreme sadness or a sudden, extreme change in any mood can be an indicator. Any extreme change in mood or personality should be a reason to intervene and ask what is going on.

Making Preparations

If someone is serious about suicide, they typically make preparations shortly beforehand. These can include visiting family and friends to say goodbye, making a will, or giving away all their possessions.

Like everything else, just because someone does this doesn’t mean they are necessarily going to die by suicide, but it is a warning sign if it goes along with other indicators, or if it is strange behavior for the person.

Losing Interest

Losing interest in activities a person normally really enjoys is a serious warning sign. This is particularly true if a person seems to lose interest in everything all at once.

So, don’t worry if your friend decides he or she like tennis instead of golf, but do worry if he or she loses interest in hobbies and friendships altogether.

Contact Professionals

If you see the above warning signs of suicidal behavior in a person you care about, please talk to them.

If needed, feel free to contact us for more information on ways to help or to refer someone to our services.