Youth Warning Signs

The following signs may mean that a youth is at risk for suicide, particularly in youth who have attempted suicide in the past. Risk is greater if the warning sign is new and/or has increased and is possibly related to an anticipated or actual painful event, loss, or change.

Youth Suicide Warning Signs

The presence of more than one of the following warning signs may increase a youth’s risk for engaging in suicidal behaviors in the near future:

  1. Talking about or making plans for suicide
  2. Expressing hopelessness about the future
  3. Displaying severe/overwhelming emotional pain or distress
  4. Showing worrisome behavioral cues or marked changes in behavior, particularly in the presence of the warning signs above. Specifically, this includes significant:
    • Withdrawal from or changing in social connections/situation
    • Changes in sleep (increased or decreased)
    • Anger or hostility that seems out of character or out of context
    • Recent increased agitation or irritability

How to Respond

If you notice any of these warning signs in anyone, you can help!

  1. Ask if they are OK or if they are having thoughts of suicide
  2. Express your concern about what you are observing in their behavior
  3. Listen attentively and non-judgmentally
  4. Reflect what they share and let them know they have been heard
  5. Tell them they are not alone
  6. Let them know there are treatments available that can help
  7. If you are or they are concerned, guide them to additional professional help

Get Help

NSPL_Logo

If you think that your child or another youth may need help right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Your call is free and confidential. Trained crisis workers in your area can assist you and the youth in deciding what they need right now.

Remember, if anyone is harming themselves now or has just harmed themselves, call 911 or take them to an emergency room immediately.

Click here to find mental health professionals near you.