Suicide: The warning signs

September 09 2022

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Find out how to spot the signs early to be able to offer your support and empathy

Trigger warning: details of suicidal thinking and behaviour

We all want to help, but without the proper knowledge, it can be hard to know what to do or how to respond when someone seems or tells us that they are feeling suicidal. 

We've listed some warning signs to look out for that someone might be suicidal. Remember, these actions and words alone are not necessarily always a sign that someone is suicidal, but are still a cause for concern and they might be a symptom of other mental health problems. 


Things people with suicidal thoughts might say

We can't always tell when a person is considering suicide, and sometimes they will give no indication. However, what we can do is learn the potential signs and the language people may choose if they are feeling suicidal.

Here are some examples.

"I don't want to be here anymore." 

"I wish I was dead." 

"No one needs me here."

"It's all just too much."

"It would be easier if I wasn't here."

"What's even the point?" 

"I want to die." 

Making jokes or talking about death or killing oneself 


Warning signs that someone may be suicidal

Being aware of these factors which may make someone more, or less, likely to act on suicidal thoughts can be useful. It will give you a better chance of understanding a person’s situation and may mean you are able to support them or signpost them to appropriate help.

Below are some of the signs to look out for. 

Fatigue or loss of energy 

Changes in sleep pattern

Less able to think or concentrate


Feeling worthless or guilty 

Feeling hopeless or expressing that it seems like things will never get better 

Less attention to clothes or appearance 

Speaking or moving with unusual speed or slowness 


Not interested in usual hobbies 

Withdrawn from family or friends 

Sudden change in weight or appearance


Change is happening, but not fast enough. Let's all take action towards a world in which everyone builds knowledge and takes action to destigmatise mental ill health, treat ourselves and others with compassion, and prevent the tragedy of suicide.

Sometimes just having an honest supportive conversation can avert a crisis, but it is really helpful if you can be clear about what to do if you have any concerns that a student is at risk of suicide. Find out more about warning signs and risk factors, and learn what to do if you become aware of someone who you think may be at risk of taking their own life, below.


Read more 

Sabita Burke
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