Suicide Clues & Warning Signs


There are verbal, behavioral and situational clues and warning signs of suicide. Take every sign seriously.

Verbal Clues

Some can be direct such as:

  • “I’ve decided to kill myself”
  • “I wish I were dead”
  • “I am going to end it all”

Or some can be indirect such a:

  • “I’m tired of my life, I just can’t go on”
  • “Who cares if I’m dead anyway?”
  • “I just want out”
  • “I wish I could go to sleep and never wake up”

Behavioral Clues

  • Co-occurring depression, moodiness, hopelessness
  • Acquiring a gun or stockpiling pills
  • Giving away prized possessions
  • Sudden interest or disinterest in religion
  • Drug or alcohol abuse
  • A history of responding to extreme stress with high-risk behavior
  • Putting personal affairs in order
  • Unexplained anger, aggression, or irritability

Situational Clues

Suicide usually coincides with some major life shift or transition or major loss.

  • Loss of any major relationship
  • Death of loved one, especially if by suicide
  • Being fired or expelled from school
  • A recent unwanted move
  • Diagnosis of a serious or terminal illness
  • Loss of financial security
  • Sudden unexpected loss of freedom/fear of punishment

What To Do If You Notice Any of These Clues

Don’t hesitate to ask if they are considering suicide. Talking about suicide won’t increase the chance that they will commit suicide, in fact it is likely to the opposite, and it can save a life! Putting the topic out in the open shows that you care and will open up the door for further conversations. Asking about suicide will help to find clarity in the situation.


Information adapted from QPR materials.