Suicide: Warning signs and resources

Juan De Anda

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According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, the more of these symptoms a person shows, the greater the risk. The following warning signs are associated with suicide:

  • Talking about wanting to die
  • Displaying extreme mood swings
  • Feeling isolated or withdrawing from social environments
  • Seeking ways to kill oneself
  • Showing anger or discussing revenge
  • Sleeping too much or not enough
  • Talking about feeling hopeless or having no purpose to live
  • Sharing notions of feeling trapped or in unbearable pain
  • Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs
  • Talking about being a burden on people
  • Acting anxious, agitated or reckless

What to Do and Resources

If someone you know shows these warning signs, follow these steps:

  • Do not leave the person alone
  • Stay calm to respond more effectively and to reduce their anxiety or agitation
  • If the situation becomes dire or dangerous, call 911 or take them to an emergency room
  • Seek help from a medical or mental health professional
  • Do not minimize the situation or depth of feeling e.g. “It will get better tomorrow.”
  • Remove any firearms, alcohol, drugs or sharp objects that could be used in a suicide attempt
  • Call the U.S. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
  • Call the San Francisco Suicide Prevention Center at 415-781-0500
  • Call the SF State clinical counseling office at 415-338-2208