This Minute Matters: Learn the Warning Signs of Suicide

If you need emergency assistance for yourself or a friend, call 9-1-1.

Taking just 60 seconds to start a conversation can provide the exact glimmer of hope and support that your friend or family member needs.

Depression, grief, and suicidal feelings can look or sound different from person to person. No one knows your friend or family member the way you do, so if you notice any of the behavioral or mood changes listed below, it’s time to reach out.

Here are some warning signs to look for, and what you can do to help. 

What you might see or hear: 

  • Increased use or over-consumption of alcohol or drugs 
  • Making a plan or looking for a way to kill themselves
  • Talking about wanting to die or wanting to kill themselves
  • Acting anxious or agitated
  • Talking about feeling empty, hopeless, or having no reason to live
  • Withdrawing from family and friends
  • Talking or thinking about death often
  • Engaging in risky behavior that could lead to death (e.g., driving too fast) 
  • Changing eating and/or sleeping habits
  • Talking about feelings of intense guilt or shame
  • Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge
  • Displaying extreme mood swings, suddenly changing from very sad to very calm or happy
  • Talking about feeling trapped or out of solutions
  • Giving away important possessions
  • Talking about being a burden to others
  • Saying goodbye to friends and family
  • Putting affairs in order and/or making a will

What you can do to help:

  • Be open and direct with them; if you’re comfortable, you can be as blunt as, “Are you thinking about killing yourself?” (Studies show that asking at-risk individuals if they are suicidal does not increase suicides or suicidal thoughts.)
  • Help keep them safe by reducing their access to items like weapons or pills.
  • Provide a safe space for them to talk with you, and be willing to listen; allow them to express their feelings, and be non-judgmental in your responses.
  • After the initial conversation, stay in touch regularly. Studies have shown the number of suicide deaths goes down when someone follows up with the at-risk person.

For a list of Laramie County resources you can share with a friend or family member in crisis, visit the link below. 

Find Laramie County Resources