The best way to recognize depression and prevent suicide is to notice these warning signs and know how to respond if you spot them. If you believe that a friend or family member is suicidal, you can play a role in suicide prevention by pointing out the alternatives, showing that you care, and getting a doctor or psychologist involved. 


Talking About Suicide

Seeking Out Lethal Means

Preoccupation with Death

Saying Goodbye

Any talk about suicide, dying, or self-harm, such as "I wish I hadn't been born," "If I see you again..." and "I'd be better off dead." 

Seeking access to guns, pills, knives, or other objects that could be used in a suicide attempt. 

Unusual focus on death, dying, or violence. Writing poems or stories about death. 

Unusual or unexpected visits or calls to family and friends. Saying goodbye to people as if they won't be seen again. 

No Hope for Future

Self-Destructive Behavior

Self Loathing, Self Hatred

Getting Affairs in Order

Feelings of helplessness, hopelessness, and being trapped ("There's no way out"). Belief that things will never get better 
or change. 

Increased alcohol or drug use, reckless driving, unsafe sex. Taking unnecessary risks as if they have a "death wish."

Feelings of worthlessness, guilt, shame, and self-hatred. Feeling like a burden ("Everyone would be better off without me"). 

Making out a will. Giving away prized possessions. Making arrangements for family members. 

Withdrawing from Others

Sudden Sense of Calm

Withdrawing from friends and family. Increasing social isolation. Desire to be left alone. 

A sudden sense of calm and happiness after being extremely depressed can mean that the person has made a decision to commit suicide. 

Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255)

If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, please call The National Suicide Prevention
Lifeline, or visit