Identifying signs of suicide

If you see these signs in someone you know, your intervention can help them cope better

A person who’s contemplating suicide is likely to exhibit some signs of distress or coping mechanisms. Look out for these signs:

  1. Uncharacteristic behavior: they may neglect work or hobbies, appear unkempt, or begin spending too much time by themselves all of a sudden

  2. A sudden decline in healthcare, hygiene and self-care

  3. Using statements such as “You’ll know when I am gone” or “I wish it would all end”

  4. Searching for information on painless ways to die, or start to ask questions about what happens after death

  5. Giving away their dearest belongings, asking for forgiveness, and/or saying emotional goodbyes to people

  6. Making a will out of the blue, or letting people know what they will inherit when they die. They may also give instructions on what procedures they would like to be followed after their death.

  7. Showing a sudden increase in risky behaviours such as drinking or driving rashly.

These signs are likely to point to the person's emotional distress, whether or not they are contemplating suicide. Either way, the support of a patient and empathetic person can be of great support. Initiating a conversation can help you understand how the person is doing, and how you can help.