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  • Talking about suicide — for example, making statements such as "i'm going to kill myself," "i wish i were dead" or "i wish i hadn't been born"

  • Getting the means to take your own life, such as buying a gun or stockpiling pills

  • Withdrawing from social contact and wanting to be left alone

  • Having mood swings, such as being emotionally high one day and deeply discouraged the next

  • Being preoccupied with death, dying or violence

  • Feeling trapped or hopeless about a situation

  • Increasing use of alcohol or drugs

  • Changing normal routine, including eating or sleeping patterns

  • Doing risky or self-destructive things

  • Giving away belongings or getting affairs in order when there is no other logical explanation for doing this

  • Saying goodbye to people as if they won't be seen again

  • Developing personality changes or being severely anxious or agitated, particularly when experiencing some of the warning signs listed above


(be sensitive, but direct)

  • How are you coping with what's been happening in your life?

  • Do you ever feel like just giving up?

  • Are you thinking about dying?

  • Are you thinking about hurting yourself?

  • Are you thinking about suicide?

  • Have you ever thought about suicide before, or tried to harm yourself before?

  • Have you thought about how or when you'd do it?

  • Do you have access to weapons or things that can be used as weapons to harm yourself?


  • Encourage them to call a suicide hotline number

  • Encourage the person to seek treatment

  • Offer to help the person take steps to get assistance and support

  • Encourage the person to communicate with you

  • Be respectful and acknowledge the person's feelings

  • Do not be patronizing or judgmental

  • Never promise to keep someone's suicidal feelings a secret

  • Encourage the person to avoid alcohol and drug use

  • Remove potentially dangerous items from the person's home

  • Take all signs of suicidal behaviour seriously

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