Suicide Warning Signs

  • Most people who think about suicide do communicate this to others in some way. Commonly this will be verbal - your friend may say that "life is too much bother" and that "others would be better off without them".
  • Your friend may withdraw from people and things they have been interested in. It is possible that your friend may become uncharacteristically tearful or reckless.
  • Perhaps you have noticed that your friend is taking less care with hygiene or personal grooming.
  • There may be changes in sleeping or eating patterns - either sleeping or eating more than usual or not sleeping or eating well.
  • You may have noticed that your friend has become preoccupied with death.
  • You, or others, may suddenly be given personal possessions by your friend.
  • You may note that your friend is suddenly cheerful even though the situation still looks the same. This may indicate that a decision has been made to commit suicide.

How can I help?

  • Listen carefully and ask. Sometimes the cues are quite subtle and easy to miss if you aren’t really listening. Don’t be afraid to ask someone if they are thinking about suicide. It won’t give them ideas.
  • Take your friend seriously - even if they are talking about it flippantly.
  • Offer support, but don’t try to handle this on your own.
  • Try to persuade your friend to get professional help. If they won’t - ask a professional for advice yourself. Don’t allow yourself to be "trapped" by promises of secrecy. Where someone’s life is in danger confidentiality must come second.
  • Show the person you care. Sometimes just some thoughtful gestures or words - or even a hug helps.
  • Acknowledge that things are difficult for them. Don’t try and cheer them up or tell them to "snap out of it."
  • Suggest that if they are willing to let others help, that there may be some really good, new solutions to the problems which currently seem insurmountable.
  • Most people who think about suicide are so overwhelmed by the enormity of their problems that they can’t see any other way out. However, there are other ways of dealing with things, and most people welcome alternatives and welcome hearing options that work, but it may take some time and some talking to discover what those options are for each individual.


O’Hare Hall Basement
Phone: (718) 817-3725

McMahon Hall Room 211
Phone: (212) 636-6225

Room 203
Phone: (914) 637-3733


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