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September 18, 2020

Recognizing Danger and Warning Signs for Suicide

Written by Christina Keller, MS, LMFT


I hear a lot of people saying that 2020 feels like they can’t catch a break. Most of us have adjusted our lives in more ways than one this year. Change is hard. When we feel we are being forced to change, those changes can be even harder. 

With everything going on it is more important than ever to take care of ourselves and check in with loved ones. Social distancing has left many feeling isolated. Checking in with those we care about can help reduce those feelings of isolation and identify when our loved ones might need some extra support during these difficult times. Looking out for danger and warning signs for suicide can be one way we can provide support.

Danger Signs:

  • Pulling away from family and friends
  • Hopelessness
  • Feeling trapped or isolated
  • Anxiety, agitation, or sleeping problems
  • Dramatic mood changes
  • Lack of a reason to live
  • Increase in risky behaviors

Warning Signs:

  • Threats to hurt or kill self
  • Looking into ways to kill self
  • Talking or writing about death, dying, or suicide
  • Giving away valued possessions (e.g., money, pets, books, etc.)
  • Settling affairs, making a will, sorting out funeral arrangements

While the presence of the above danger signs can also be attributed to symptoms of depression, the warning signs listed above should trigger immediate crisis support.  If you notice these danger or warning signs in yourself or with your loved ones, there are people who can help. Talking to a doctor or therapist can be helpful.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (800-273-8255) is also available 24 hours a day, every day of the year. This service is free, confidential, and available in English and Spanish.

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