Recognizing Suicidal Thoughts

Recognizing Suicidal Thoughts


Suicide, the act of taking ones own life, is an all-too-common and tragic public health crisis nowadays, often committed to cope with intense emotional pain. Suicide is particularly tragic because it is a preventable death and leaves behind many loved ones and family members, also known as "suicide survivors", who have to suffer this terrible loss.

Suicidal ideation or suicidal thinking is much more common than most people have – in fact, most people have thought about suicide at one point or another. These thoughts are quite troubling, especially as they are usually accompanied by a mental illness such as depression or bipolar disorder.

It is critical to know how to recognize and identify signs that a person may be considering suicide.

  • Contemplating suicide may change their actions or mood, such as speaking or moving at a sudden speed or slow pace.
  • Thoughts of Life is not worth living.
  • Prepare or say they want to hurt or kill himself/herself, or someone else.
  • Talk, write, read, or draw about death, including writing suicide notes and talking about things that can cause physical harm, such as pills, guns, or knives.
  • Drinking more alcohol or use drugs, including prescription drugs.
  • When do not want to see people any longer and you want to be alone a lot.
  • Do not take care of themselves or follow medical advice.
  • Give away their stuff and/or hurry to complete the will.
  • Experiencing depression, panic attacks, impaired concentration
  • Increased isolation, talking about being a burden to others.
  • Knowing, identifying, or being associated with someone who has committed suicide.

Note: Warning signs are not always apparent and can differ from person to individual. Many people are straightforward about their thoughts, while others can hide about suicidal thinking and feelings.


The National Institute for Mental Health (NIMH) suggests the following tips for helping someone who may be going through a crisis:

  • Asking them if they are thinking about suicide. Studies show that asking does not increase the risk.
  • Keeping them safe by staying around and removing means of committing suicide, such as knives, where possible.
  • Listening to them and being there for them.
  • Encouraging them to call a helpline or contacting someone the individual might turn to for support, for example, a friend, family member, or spiritual mentor or therapist
  • Following up with them after the crisis has passed, as this appears to reduce the risk of a recurrence.

If you are thinking about suicide or you know someone who feels suicidal, some suicidal people do not display such symptoms and some warning signs may not be apparent people who feel suicidal can try to hide or say they are all right, learn signs about suicide alert and get treatment and support.

We are not a medical service or suicide prevention helpline. If you are feeling suicidal, we suggest you immediately call a suicide prevention helpline - e.g. Vandrevala Foundation Helpline - 1 860 266 2345 (24x7), Aasra - +91 22 2754 6669 (24x7).

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