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Risk Factors and Warning Signs

How do you Remember the Warning Signs of Suicide?

Here’s an Easy-to-Remember Mnemonic:


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A person in acute risk for suicidal behavior most often will show:

Warning Signs of Acute Risk:

  • Threatening to hurt or kill him or herself, or talking of wanting to hurt or kill him/herself; and/or,
  • Looking for ways to kill him/herself by seeking access to firearms, available pills, or other means; and/or,
  • Talking or writing about death, dying or suicide, when these actions are out of the ordinary.

These might be remembered as expressed or communicated IDEATION. If observed, seek help as soon as possible by contacting a mental health professional or calling 1-800-273-TALK (8255) for a referral.

Additional Warning Signs:

    Increased SUBSTANCE (alcohol or drug) use
    No reason for living; no sense of PURPOSE in life
    ANXIETY, agitation, unable to sleep or sleeping all the time
    Feeling TRAPPED - like there’s no way out
    HOPELESSNESS
    WITHDRAWING from friends, family and society
    Rage, uncontrolled ANGER, seeking revenge
    Acting RECKLESS or engaging in risky activities, seemingly without thinking
    Dramatic MOOD changes

If observed, seek help as soon as possible by contacting a mental health professional or calling 1-800-273-TALK (8255) for a referral.

I Ideation S Substance Abuse P Purposelessness A Anxiety T Trapped H Hopelessness W Withdrawal A Anger R Recklessness M Mood Change

These warning signs were compiled by a task force of expert clinical-researchers and ‘translated’ for the general public.

Warning Signs
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