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Suicide Prevention

Suicide Warning Signs

Recognizing the warning signs that may indicate your student/friend is thinking about suicide is important because it increases the likelihood of early detection and intervention. Although no one can predict with 100% accuracy who will attempt suicide and when the following signals may indicate a risk of suicide, as a general rule, the more signs that are evident the increased likelihood of suicidal behavior.

If you notice any of the below warning signs in a student or friend, it is very important that you ask them directly if they are thinking about suicide.

You cannot give a student suicidal thoughts by talking about suicide. Most people will communicate either directly or indirectly their intent to attempt suicide. It should always be taken seriously.


  • Significant loss (financial aid, death of friend/family member, loss of job)
  • Exposure to suicide acts through others (media, family, friends)
  • Diagnosis of terminal or serious illness
  • Fear of becoming a burden to others
  • Difficulties in school (dramatic decrease in academic performance)


  • Rage or aggression
  • Anxiety or agitation
  • Increased drug/alcohol use
  • Sleeping too much or too little
  • Lack of concern of personal welfare
  • Putting personal affairs in order or making amends
  • Previous suicide attempt
  • Dramatic changes in mood
  • Talking or writing about death, dying or suicide
  • Withdrawing from friends/family, social isolation

Thoughts or Feelings

  • Hopelessness
  • Feeling Trapped
  • Expressing no sense of purpose or reason to live.
  • Threatening to hurt or kill themselves
  • Direct verbal cues such as:
    • I wish I were dead
    • I’m going to end it all
    • I believe in suicide
  • Less verbal cue examples:
    • I’m so tired of it all, I just can’t go on
    • Here, take this. I won’t need it anymore
    • My family would be better off without me.

Ways you can Help

It has been found that when a person is prevented from completing suicide, they are extremely grateful later. Many times the pain the person is experiencing can be decreased and will reconnect with a desire to live.

  • Ask directly about suicide
  • Be there for your student or friend
  • Help connect to other resources

Helpful Resources

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)

Suicide Help Lines: 1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433)

Texas Suicide Prevention: 512-454-3706

The Jed Foundation: 212-647-7544

The American Foundation for Preventing Suicide: 212-363-3500