Signs of suicide can easily go unnoticed. Even close friends and loved ones may not know or recognize warning signs, many of which seem harmless.
Warning Signs for Suicide:
They have suffered a current loss, crisis or problem
A person who has recently suffered a loss, especially to suicide, may be more at risk to attempt. Those dealing with a crisis or problem such as a break up, financial struggles or family issues are also at risk. Loss and crises can put overwhelming amounts of stress and strain on an individual, negatively impacting their mental health.
Their performance in school or work has decreased
A person experiencing crisis, depression or another mental health issue may struggle to focus or find motivation, causing their performance at school or work to slip.
They have an unusual desire for social isolation
If a social butterfly suddenly starts to withdraw from friends and family, that may be a warning sign for suicide. A person with suicidal ideations may express that they feel like a burden or feel unwanted.
They have a significant decrease in self-esteem
Expressing flaws can be common, but a sudden increase in negative comments may indicate a person is thinking of completing suicide. They may express more serious thoughts, such as feeling like a failure, feeling like no one likes them, etc.
They seem uncharacteristically calm
A person contemplating suicide may experience a sense of relief and control after deciding to attempt to complete, causing them to become calm and resolved. If they previously were upset or anxious regularly, this may indicate a decision to attempt.
They display uncharacteristic behaviors or emotional changes
Sudden changes in behavior and emotions, especially in ways that are out of the norm, may indicate possible suicidal ideations in a person. Look for changes in sleeping patterns, diet, and activity levels. Examples: if a busy body starts sleeping all day every day, or an athlete quits working out.
They are bored or lack interest in school, work or hobbies and passions
Losing interest in favorite hobbies may indicate a lack of motivation and energy associated with coping with a crisis or decreased mental health, both of which can lead to thoughts of suicide.
They have increased drug or alcohol use
Increased drug or alcohol use is a common coping strategy for people in crisis, and excessive use may indicate a lack of care for physical health often associated with suicidal thoughts.
You Recognized the Signs, Now What?
Talking about suicide can be tricky. If you think you’ve noticed any of these signs in a friend or loved one, the best thing to do is be direct and honest. Ask them, “Are you thinking of completing suicide?” and keep an open mind through the discussion. Talking about suicide does not increase the likelihood of it happening, it helps people who may be considering suicide feel more comfortable looking for help.
Common Ground Resource and Crisis Helpline: Call or text 1-800-231-1127, chat www.commongroundhelps.org
Common Ground Resource and Crisis Center: 1200 N. Telegraph Rd, Bldg #32E, Pontiac, MI 48341
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255, https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/