Suicide means ending your own life. It is sometimes a way for people to escape pain or suffering. When someone ends their own life, we say that they “died by suicide.” A “suicide attempt” means that someone tried to end their life, but did not die.

A suicide attempt is a clear indication that something is gravely wrong in a person’s life. No matter the race or age of the person, how rich or poor they are, it is true that most people who die by suicide have a mental or emotional disorder. The most common underlying disorder is depression—30 to 70 percent of people who commit suicide suffer from major depression or bipolar (manic-depressive) disorder.

Eight out of ten people considering suicide give some sign of their intentions. People who talk about suicide, threaten suicide, or call suicide crisis centers are 30 times more likely than average to kill themselves.

The best way to prevent suicide is through early detection, diagnosis, and treatment of depression and other mood disorders.

No suicide attempt should be dismissed or treated lightly.

Know the Signs

These signs do not necessarily mean the person is considering suicide, but several of these symptoms may signal a need for help.

Things That Increase Risk

  • Pre-existing psychiatric disorders
  • Recent loss (death, relationship, job, health, etc.)
  • Psychosocial (separation or domestic difficulties, financial stress, physical or sexual abuse, etc.)
  • Isolation
  • Death of a loved one (including by suicide)
  • Previous attempts
  • Depression or Bipolar Disorder
  • Serious physical illness
  • Substance abuse and/or intoxication

Warning Signs

  • Talking about wanting to die or kill oneself
  • Looking for a way to kill oneself, searching online or buying a gun
  • Talking about feeling hopeless or wanting to die or having no reason for living
  • Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain
  • Talking about being a burden to others
  • Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs
  • Acting anxious or agitated; behaving recklessly
  • Sleeping too little or too much
  • Withdrawing from friends and activities or feeling isolated
  • Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge
  • Displaying extreme mood swings

Other Resources

American Foundation of Suicide Prevention