header

Step 2: Be Able To Identify

Be able to identify a friend who may be hurting. 
Suicide is PREVENTABLE. Four out of five young people who attempt suicide will show clear warning signs before an attempt. That means in 80% of suicide attempts, we have the opportunity to recognize a friend who may be struggling and get them help.  

You should be concerned if a friend exhibits multiple of these signs over an extended period of time.  


Look for these warning signs in your friends:


Click on the + symbol below to view more information for each topic.

open source web page maker

Almost everyone who attempts or completes suicide has given warning signs through their words or behaviors. Do not ignore any suicide threats. The following statements may indicate serious suicidal feelings.


  • "I’d be better off dead."
  • "I won’t be bothering you much longer."
  • "You’ll be better off without me around."
  • "I hate my life."
  • "I am going to kill myself."
  • Suicide threats are not always verbal.

Depression is one of the leading causes of suicide attempts. Mental or addictive disorders are associated with 90% of suicide. One in ten youth suffer from mental illness serious enough to be impaired, yet fewer than 20% receive treatment. Depression can be exhibited in many ways including the following which are detailed in more depth:


  • Sudden, abrupt changes in personality
  • Expressions of hopelessness and despair
  • Declining grades and school performance
  • Lack of interest in activities once enjoyed
  • Increased irritability and aggressiveness
  • Withdrawal from family, friends and relationships
  • Lack of hygiene
  • Changes in eating and sleeping habits

Recent research has identified a connection between interpersonal violence and suicide. Suicide is associated with fighting for both males and females, across all ethnic groups, and for youth living in urban, suburban, and rural areas. You should be concerned if a friend is exhibiting unusually irritable behavior.  

You should be concerned if a friend suddenly starts to lose interest in sports or hobbies that they used to enjoy participating in.  

  • The captain of the football team no longer wants to be on the team.
  • A dancer decides to leave the team because she does like it anymore.
  • Your music loving friend decides to quit the band.

  • A friend of yours that typically eats more than anyone you know barely eats or skips lunch.
  • Someone eating noticeably more without adding any additional exercise to their daily routine.

  • He/She is not dressing as they typically would.
  • Lack of personal hygiene.

Almost everyone who attempts or completes suicide has given warning signs through their words or behaviors. Do not ignore any suicide threats. The following statements may indicate serious suicidal feelings.


  • A model student suddenly failing classes or not turning in assignments.
  • Lack of concern for school, classes, and grades.
  • Grades dropping suddenly

This can be seen throughout their:

  • Essays and writings about death
  • Poems about death
  • Artwork or drawings depicting death
  • Social media posts and comments
  • Talking a lot about death or dying

Youth who have attempted suicide are at risk to do it again. In fact, they are eight times more likely than youth who have never attempted suicide to make another suicide attempt.

  • One out of three suicide deaths is not the individual’s first attempt.
  • The risk for completing suicide is more than 100 times greater during the first year after an attempt.
  • Take any instance of deliberate self-harm seriously.

Once the decision has been made to end their life, some young people begin making final arrangements.

  • Giving away prized or favorite possessions
  • Putting their affairs in order
  • Saying good-bye to family and friends
  • Making funeral arrangements

By themselves, many of these observations are not sure signs that someone is suicidal, but could mean that they are struggling with issues in their lives and could use help. If these issues are not addressed or treated, they can result in suicidal thoughts or attempts.

footer