Recognizing the Warning Signs of Suicide and What You Can Do



Excessive interest in books, movies, music about suicide Take it seriously -- most people who attempt suicide display clear or subtle warning signs of their intentions before they attempt
Giving away prized possessions of personal or monetary value Be willing to listen -- even if professional help is needed

-Loss of concern for self, dress, activities, hygiene

-Acting reckless or engaging in risky activities

-Feeling trapped like there is no way out
Don't be afraid to raise the question of suicide. Asking about it will not "put the idea to attempt in their head." It may actually lead them to feel relieved because your interest and concern may give them hope and demonstrate that they aren’t alone, hopeless or as worthless as they thought.
Signs of planning a suicide such as obtaining a weapon, stockpiling pills, writing farewell letters, emails or suicide notes
Voice your concern, listen to them, be genuine, avoid making judgmental statements and hang in there even if they get angry

-Loss of interest in schoolwork and other activities

-Increased alcohol or drug use

-Unable to sleep or sleeping all the time

Let them know through your words and actions that you care, want to understand and  that they are not alone
Withdrawal from people, friends, family Threatening to hurt or kill oneself or talking about it Feeling rage or uncontrolled anger,  or seeking revenge
Ask if they have a specific plan and how far they have gone in carrying it out -- the clearer the plan and availability of means, the higher the risk. It is a myth to think that raising this issue will cause the person to think about it or commit suicide. This is not true!

Comments like "I am worthless, it's hopeless, no one cares about me, there is no hope of change, I just don't care anymore, there is nothing I can do to make it better, my family (everyone) would be better off without me" or talking about how lucky someone is who has died


Seeing no reason for living, no sense of purpose 

Get them to a professional as soon as possible -- go with them and frequently follow-up with them about how they are doing.


If they refuse to get professional help -- get help from teachers, residence hall personnel and others who can help.

Call campus police if there is imminent risk (i.e., it appears the individual may attempt suicide at any moment or if they have attempted suicide call 911). Don’t wait if the person seems at immediate risk. Call the police or take them to the ER

Call the Counseling Center at 765-285-1736 during the day and our on-call line at night and on weekends at 765-747-7330.  Come to the Counseling Center on the 3rd floor of Lucina Hall

Call 1-800-273-TALK(8255) National Suicide Prevention Hotline

People with a history of suicide attempts or people who have lost a family member or friend to suicide are at higher risk for attempting suicide, especially if they have been depressed or come from a family with a history of depression.


Don't assume the situation will take care of itself

Don't leave the person alone

Don't be sworn to secrecy

Don't be shocked or surprised by what the person says

Don't challenge or dare or argue or debate moral issues