Suicide: 14 Warning Signs Your Loved One Maybe at Risk

by Neseret on February 15, 2013

It should be noted that some people who die by suicide do not show any suicide warning signs.

But about 75 percent of those who die by suicide do exhibit some suicide warning signs, so we need to be aware of what the suicide warning signs are and try to spot them in people. If we do see someone exhibiting suicide warning signs, we need to do everything that we can to help them. ~ Kevin Caruso ~

Suicide is preventable if we can notice some of these signs and symptoms and intervene early enough. Many people may notice warning signs of suicide but feel afraid to talk about it with their loved one. Too often they’re afraid to talk about it because they believe talking about it may make their loved one become more suicidal.

However, if you notice your loved one is displaying these warning signs it is essential you talk to them about suicide. Ask them if they’re thinking about suicide. A person thinking about suicide often feels alone. The conversation may just break that feeling of loneliness and isolation.

It is a relief to talk about it…

Below are 14 warning signs that indicate a person maybe suicidal. The more of these signs a person shows the more at risk they are for committing suicide. It is important to intervene as soon as you notice these signs. Better to be cautious than not in this situation.

1. Depression and sadness

Undiagnosed and untreated depression is the # 1 cause of suicide. Many people either do not know they are suffering from depression while others know they are suffering from depression but do not seek help because of fear of stigma. Either way, untreated depression is a serious risk factor for suicide.

2. Expressing feelings of hopelessness and helplessness

Hopelessness is the hallmark of a suicide. They see absolutely no way out of their situation. Everything is closing in on them. Often the person has been feeling this way for a long time and the longer nothing changes the more hopeless they feel.  It is a very scary to be in a space of feeling like there is no hope.

3. Misusing substances

This is a serious issue especially if the person is taking psychiatric medications, specifically anti-anxiety medications. These medications combined with alcohol and drugs will lower a person’s heart rate to death. Another part of the danger is that a person’s judgement is very much impaired under the influence of alcohol and drugs. This may contribute to overdose or impulsive actions.

4. Isolation: Withdrawing from family and friends

This is often related to anxiety and depression. Many people tend to isolate when they are feeling anxious or depressed. They may not attend family events, not show up for work or school, and not answer phone calls etc.

5. Loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities

Again this is a symptom of depression. The person may not have the energy or desire to do the things that use to bring them joy. They feel like nothings makes them happy.

6. Change in sleep patterns

The person maybe sleeping much more than they use to or their sleep maybe much less than before. Many people who are depressed tend to experience changes in their sleep pattern. Some people tend to sleep more when they’re depressed and others experience lack of sleep.

7. Change in eating habits

Many people lose their appetite when they are depressed or feeling suicidal. This may result in their losing considerable weight. Others find themselves eating more (sort of like stuffing their pain).

8. Sudden change in personality and acting impulsively

People who are suicidal may exhibit behaviours that are impulsive. They may be doing things that seem out of norm for them. They may put themselves in situations that are high risk and dangerous. Such as misusing alcohol and drugs. Drinking and driving etc.

9. Experiencing dramatic mood shifts

1/3 of people diagnosed with bipolar disorder commit suicide. Those who suffer from depression, postpartum depression, PTSD are also at great risks.  Frankly, anyone suffering from mental illness is at risk for suicide and should be assessed regularly for thoughts of self harm.

10. Performing poorly at work or school

A person may have been struggling for weeks or months and sometimes years with thoughts of suicide. They may have been struggling with depression for years. Their situation may not have improved for long time. Eventually this person is just going through the motions. They’ve given up on life.

11. Giving away prized possessions and writing a will.

This is a classic warning sign. Once a person decides to commit suicide they tend to want to put their house in order so to speak by writing a will or giving prized possessions. This needs to be taken extremely seriously.

12. Talking, writing, drawing, or listening to music about death and or suicide

A suicidal person starts to see death as a way out and become very fascinated about the idea. This is especially true for teenagers and young adults.  Apparently there are many websites today that talk and promote suicide and the means to do it. There are also suicide pacts.

13. Feeling strong anger or rage.

Many people carry unresolved anger and rage. It could be related to their past and relationships that were traumatic. Others have been treated very badly in their childhood and in toxic relationships they turn their anger and rage against themselves. Suicide is the ultimate violence towards oneself.

14. Feeling excessive guilt or shame.

Everyone experiences guilt and even shame sometimes related to something in their life. However the type of guilt and shame someone who is suicidal experiences is excessive and exaggerated. To the point of thinking everyone and the entire world would be better off without them.

Please take time to share your thoughts and questions below. I would love to hear from you. If you found this article helpful please share it on Facebook and Twitter.

Peace, Love & Gratitude,


{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Denise March 3, 2013 at 9:15 am

I just found you on Twitter.
I know what you are saying and I understand what you are saying but….when you are part of a family who suffer severe anxiety and depression, it is so very hard to convince the person with suicidal tendencies that there is life beyond hopelessness, there is a future that is not full of despair. My nephew committed suicide two years ago. He left behind a loving wife and two beautiful children. He left behind a mother and auntie who feel guilty about passing on the gene of depression, who know all too well the self destructive thinking, the constant voices. By the time we are referred for help we have convinced ourselves there is no help that will work for us. ‘I know how you feel’ means nothing and helps even less. And you are right – at your lowest point you only see that ending it will bring relief to everyone around you because you are a burden. The loss of my nephew was a wakeup call for the other 3 boys in our family. They have been able to openly admit they have similar tendencies and are seeking help earlier rather than later. I, as you can see, have started a website and that in itself is therapeutic for me. If I can show just one person that there is a life less anxious, less depressed, then I will have achieved success. Thank you, Denise


Neseret March 3, 2013 at 11:29 pm

Dear Denise,

My deepest sympathy about the loss of your nephew. I’m glad you and your family are actively getting the help and support you need. I love and admire your courage to share your story through your website. Your story and wisdom will help many through their dark night of the soul.

I believe speaking up is a big part of the solution. More than 2/3 of people with mental illness do not seek treatment because of fear of stigma. Others seek help but recieve very limited and ineffective help. I believe in a holistic approach to healing and that is what I write about on my website. People need to be treated as whole. As human beings we are much more than the sum total of our bodily hormones and chemicals.

I want to comment on the feelings of guilt your “mother and anunties” are feeling about passing the “gene of depression”. Mental illness is like any other illness and challenge in life. It is treatable. It also comes with some gifts if you are willing to work with it.

To learn to cope and live with mental illness is one of the most challenging things anyone can go through. If you learn to do it well, you learn to be patient, compassionate, understanding, and truly caring. I see a depth that is not often present in the average person in individuals who live with mental illness.

This is not to say I wish anyone the burden and anguish of mental illness. At the same time looking back on my work with countless individuals with mental illness and my own suffering I would not change anything. Going through everything I have, including the nightmare of trauma, the hopelessness and dispair of living with depression is part of what makes me who I am today.

I like who I am today. I like who I am becoming. I would not change a thing.

Peace, Love, & Gratitude,


PS: So grateful you found me on Twitter. I would love to connect further and perhaps do an interview. Thank you for your comment.


Denise March 4, 2013 at 6:57 am

thank you for your kind response.
I completely agree when you say ‘it comes with gifts’.
I am gifted with being compassionate, caring, forward thinking, motivational. I love seeing people grow and develop under my guidance and tutelage. Yet I never considered these abilities as anything other than ‘normal’ in my ‘abnormal’ life.

Over the past 6 months however, I have learned to accept the compliments and the positive feedback. I agree that all life experiences, good, bad, and ugly, have made me who I am today – and I like that person.

If you ever want to contribute a blog to my website about your holistic approach, I would be very grateful.
Thankyou once again,


Neseret March 5, 2013 at 2:37 am


You are very welcome. I would be honored to write a guest post about holsitic approach in mental health. Likewise you’re welcome to contribute to my blog on a topic of your choosing. Furthermore, I would love to connect over skype or phone if you’re open to doing so. My Skype ID is Neseret. It would be lovely to learn more about you and your work and share ideas.

Peace, Love, & Gratitude,



Jayne March 26, 2013 at 3:12 am

Firstly I would like to offer my sympathy at the loss of your dear nephew. Second I think this article is incredible and is something everyone should read up on as in our society today depression is rampant.
Thank you for speaking up.
God Bless you


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