Suicide Warning Signs You Should Know

Not everyone who is suicidal will show these signs, but some people will.

By knowing these signs...

you can help prevent suicide

Knowing the warning signs of suicide is the first step in understanding what’s going on for you or for a person you care about. When we have this awareness, we can get help or find support to stay safe. 

It’s actually incredibly common to have thoughts of suicide or feel like we no longer want to live. Sometimes, it’s not even that we want to die; we just want the pain to stop. If this is your experience, know that you’re not alone. Things may be incredibly hard right now, AND things will not always be this hard, even if it’s hard to imagine.

What are the signs?

  • Threatening to cause harm to oneself
  • Looking or referring to ways to kill oneself
  • Talking about being a burden to others
  • Feelings of hopelessness or uncontrolled anger
  • Acting reckless seemingly without thinking
  • Increasing alcohol or drug use
  • Withdrawing from friends, family, and society
  • Visiting, texting, or calling people to say goodbye
  • Giving away possessions
  • Changes in sleeping pattern—too much or too little
  • Experiencing dramatic mood changes
  • Seeing no reason for living or having no sense of purpose in life or value to others

What should you do if you or someone you know shows these signs?

Take action by seeking help as soon as possible by contacting a mental health professional, a parent, or by calling Lines For Life at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). You can also reach the YouthLine at 1-877-968-8491 or by texting teen2teen to 839863. Visit our article What to Know When Calling a Helpline to prepare yourself for that conversation if you’re nervous or haven’t called before.

If you feel someone is in immediate danger of taking their own life, call 911 or Lines For Life right away. If you are with the person you think is in imminent danger of taking their life, stay with that person until help arrives. Please see their About section and frequently asked questions for additional information on what to expect when contacting Lines For Life

If you are worried about a friend thinking about suicide, you might also want to check out our article: When Your Friend is Thinking of Suicide. Remember that it’s important to look out for these types of suicide warning signs to create a healthy environment for your friend, yourself, and others around you.

For more resources and helplines, check out our Crisis Support Resources page or click on the toggle boxes below.

The Crisis Text Line offers free, confidential crisis support via text 24/7. Whether you’re feeling suicidal or having a hard time managing strong emotions, a trained volunteer will connect with you and provide support.


    • Text HOME to 741741 (24/7/365)

I’m Alive Chat is an entirely online chat platform with all of their volunteers trained and certified in crisis intervention.


The National Runaway Safeline is available for youth looking for judgement-free help, available 24/7/365. They can also help you get home safe with their Home Free Program.

  • RUNAWAY YOUTH – For immediate support

    • Call 1-800-786-2929 (24/7 support)

    • Chat online here

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline gives 24/7, free & confidential suicide crisis intervention support and resources to those in need.

Teen Line allows you to speak with another teen for support and offers resources online that are relevant to teens.


    • Call 1-800-852-8336

    • Text TEEN to 839863

The Trans Lifeline is a suicide hotline for trans-identified individuals. The calls are taken by other trans people and can be used whether or not you’re in crisis.


    • Call 1-877-565-8860

    • Available 7 a.m. to 1 a.m. PST. Volunteers may be available during off hours.

The Trevor Project is dedicated to providing crisis counseling for those in the LGBTQ+ community that are considering suicide. All lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning people are welcome to call.


    • Call 1-866-488-7386 (24/7/365)

    Text START to 678678 *(24/7/365)

    • Standard text messaging rates apply

    • Chat online here

    • Designed to work best on a computer

    • Wait time can vary—use the Lifeline or text option if urgent

The Veterans Crisis Line offers free, anonymous crisis support that is confidential and available 24/7. Not only do they serve all veterans, but also service members, National Guard and Reserve members, and their family and friends.

  • CRISIS LINE – For immediate support

ULifeline is a mental health resource center for college students.

  • CRISIS LINE – For immediate support

2-1-1 USA National offers information on available community resources near you, such as supplemental food programs, shelters, crisis support, healthcare, employment, or veteran services.


    • Call 211 (24/7)
For more information:


Acknowledgments: This article was partially developed by youth and staff for 

About Youth Era

Youth Era is a nonprofit that works with teens and young adults to become happy, successful, and contributing adults members of their communities. The organization creates solutions for communities across the country that look beyond short-term assistance for the few and toward sustainable support for the many. To learn more, visit

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