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Recognizing Suicide Warning Signs in Yourself

Close up of woman with depression.

People who are thinking about suicide may not know they are depressed. Certain thoughts, feelings, and actions can be signals that let you know you may need help. The best thing you can do is watch for signs that you may be at risk. Then, ask for help. You can talk with your regular healthcare provider or get help from a mental health provider.

Depression

Depression is a treatable illness, just like diabetes or heart disease. And like those illnesses, depression is not something that you can just "snap out of." To feel better, treatment is needed before depression gets to a point that it can endanger your life. To know if depression is causing you to feel like ending your life, ask yourself:

  • Do I feel worthless, guilty, helpless, or hopeless?

  • Have I been feeling sad, down, or blue on most days?

  • Have I lost interest in my work or people I used to enjoy?

  • Do I have trouble sleeping or do I sleep too much?

  • Do I eat more or less than normal?

  • Do I feel tired, weak, and low on energy?

  • Do I feel restless and unable to sit still?

  • Do I have trouble thinking or making choices?

  • Do I cry more than normal?

  • Do I feel life isn't worth living?

Warning signs for suicide

Call your healthcare provider or get help right away if you have any of the warning signs below. You can also call a mental health clinic or a 24-hour suicide crisis hotline for help and support. Warning signs for suicide include:

  • Thinking often about taking your life

  • Planning how you may attempt it

  • Talking or writing about committing suicide

  • Feeling that death is the only solution to your problems

  • Feeling a pressing need to make out your will or arrange your funeral

  • Giving away things you own

  • Taking part in risky behaviors, such as having sex with someone you don't know, or drinking and driving

  • Buying a lethal weapon, such as a gun, or hoarding medicines that could be used in an overdose

Call 911

If you are in immediate risk of harming yourself, call 911

To learn more

For more information about depression and suicide prevention:

  • National Institute of Mental Health

    866-615-6464

    www.nimh.nih.gov

  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

    800-273-8255 (800-273-TALK)

    www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org

  • National Alliance on Mental Illness

    800-950-6264

    www.nami.org

  • Mental Health America

    800-969-6642

    www.nmha.org

  • National Suicide Hotline

    800-784-2433 (800-SUICIDE)

Online Medical Reviewer: L Renee Watson MSN RN
Online Medical Reviewer: Marianne Fraser MSN RN
Online Medical Reviewer: Paul Ballas MD
Date Last Reviewed: 5/1/2020
© 2000-2020 The StayWell Company, LLC. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.
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