SUICIDE……Understanding it for preventing it!!

Recognising suicide warning signs

Someone who is thinking about suicide will usually give some clues or signs to those around them that show they are troubled. Suicide prevention starts with recognising these warning signs and treating them seriously.

The following is a list of signs that people might give when they are feeling distraught and overwhelmed, in order to communicate their distress to others. These physical changes and behaviours are indicators that a person might be thinking about suicide. It is likely that a suicidal person will display a combination of these signs rather than one single sign.

Physical changes

  • Major changes to sleeping patterns – too much or too little
  • Loss of energy
  • Loss of interest in personal hygiene or appearance
  • Loss of interest in sex
  • Sudden and extreme changes in eating habits – either loss of appetite or increase in appetite
  • Weight gain or loss
  • Increase in minor illnesses


  • Alcohol or drug misuse 
  • Fighting and/or breaking the law
  • Withdrawal from family and friends
  • Quitting activities that were previously important 
  • Prior suicidal behaviour 
  • Self-harming 
  • Putting affairs in order e.g. giving away possessions, especially those that have special significance for the person
  • Writing a suicide note or goodbye letters to people
  • Uncharacteristic risk-taking or recklessness (e.g. driving recklessly)
  • Unexplained crying
  • Emotional outbursts

Conversational signs

  • No future – “What’s the point? Things are never going to get any better”
  • Guilt – “It’s all my fault, I’m to blame”
  • Escape – “I can’t take this anymore”
  • Alone – “I’m on my own … no-one cares about me”
  • Damaged – “I’ve been irreparably damaged… I’ll never be the same again
  • Helpless – “Nothing I do makes a bit of difference, it’s beyond my control”
  • Talking about suicide or death 
  • Planning for suicide


  • Sadness
  • Anger
  • Shame
  • Desperation
  • Disconnection 
  • Hopelessness 
  • Worthlessness
  • Powerlessness
  • Loneliness
  • Isolation