Warning Signs


Recognizing the Warning Signs of Suicide
Warning Signs
Suicide Warning Signs
Youth Suicide Warning Signs

For youth who may be assessing warning signs in a peer, the list is worded differently, specifically:
How to Respond
How to Help Someone Else
Are you still concerned? Here is how you can get more help

Suicide warning signs - Extended
Suicides in Oregon: Trends and Risk Factors - 2012 Report (49 pages)How to Tell if Your Teen is Being Bullied
How to Tell if Your Teen is Being Cyberbullied
Veterans Warning Signs
Warning Signs of Abuse and Domestic Violence
Warning signs of mental illness
Warning SIgns: The Chocking Game
Depression Symptoms and Warning Signs
Online Depression Screening Test
How Can You Tell If Your Child Has Been Using Marijuana?
Experts Release Consensus Derived List of Warning Signs for Youth Suicide
Related topics: Contagion , Teen Suicide, Suicide, 741741 Crisis Text Line, Semicolon Campaign, '13 Reasons Why', Suicide 10-14 Year-Olds, Stigma, Clustering, Guns, Mental Illness, Crisis Trends, Depression, Blue Whale Suicide Challenge, Online Depression Screening Test Secrets No More, , How to talk with your kids about suicide, Need to Talk?

90% of men who die by suicide have a diagnosable mental health issue at the time of death.

46.3% had an intimate partner problem
31.6% had a problem with alcohol
29.6% had a job problem
27.5% had a financial problem
24.3% had a physical health problem
62.9% had a current depressed mood

Teen students are more likely to take their life when:

Alcohol or drugs are involved
Ff their parents are divorced
If they have access to a gun
Are failing education
Are involved in teen pregnancy
Hear of other teen suicides
Have low self-esteem
Are highly sexually active.
Source: brainblogger.com/2014/09/10/back-to-school-suicides/

Recognizing the Warning Signs of Suicide

Here is some information from the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline:

The following signs may mean someone is at risk for suicide. The risk of suicide is greater if a behavior is new or has increased and if it seems related to a painful event, loss, or change. All threats or talk of suicide should be taken seriously. If you or someone you know exhibits any of these signs, seek help as soon as possible.

  • Talking about wanting to die or to kill oneself.
  • Looking for a way to kill oneself, such as searching online or buying a gun.
  • Talking about feeling hopeless or having no reason to live.
  • Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain.
  • Talking about being a burden to others.
  • Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs.
  • Acting anxious or agitated; behaving recklessly.
  • Sleeping too little or too much.
  • Withdrawing or feeling isolated.
  • Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge.
  • Displaying extreme mood swings.

The National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) reminds us that these are some of the warning signs of suicide:

  • Suicidal threats in the forms of direct and indirect statements
  • Suicide notes and plans
  • Prior suicidal behavior
  • Making final arrangements (e.g., making funeral arrangements, writing a will, giving away prized possessions)
  • Preoccupation with death
  • Changes in behavior, appearance, thoughts and/or feelings.

To learn more about the characteristics of suicide, resiliency factors, what you can do, and community resources to address suicide, please visit our CCSD website and read about "Preventing Youth Suicide -Tips for Parents and Educators."

Warning Signs

Suicide is rarely a spur of the moment decision. In the days and hours before people kill themselves, there are usually clues and warning signs.

The strongest and most disturbing signs are verbal – ‘I can’t go on,’ ‘Nothing matters any more’ or even ‘I’m thinking of ending it all.’ Such remarks should always be taken seriously. Of course, in most cases these situations do not lead to suicide. But, generally, the more signs a person displays, the higher the risk of suicide.


  • Suffering a major loss or life change
  • Family history of suicide or violence
  • Sexual or physical abuse
  • Death of a close friend or family member
  • Divorce or separation, ending a relationship
  • Failing academic performance, impending exams, exam results
  • Job loss, problems at work
  • Impending legal action
  • Recent imprisonment or upcoming release


  • Showing a marked change in behavior, attitudes or appearance
  • Crying
  • Fighting
  • Behaving recklessly
  • Breaking the law
  • Impulsiveness
  • Abusing drugs or alcohol
  • Self-mutilation
  • Writing about death and suicide
  • Previous suicidal behavior
  • Extremes of behavior
  • Changes in behavior
  • Getting affairs in order and giving away valued possessions

Physical Changes

  • Lack of energy
  • Disturbed sleep patterns – sleeping too much or too little
  • Loss of appetite
  • Becoming depressed or withdrawn
  • Sudden weight gain or loss
  • Increase in minor illnesses
  • Change of sexual interest
  • Sudden change in appearance
  • Lack of interest in appearance

Thoughts and Emotions

  • Thoughts of suicide
  • Loneliness – lack of support from family and friends
  • Rejection, feeling marginalized
  • Deep sadness or guilt
  • Unable to see beyond a narrow focus
  • Daydreaming
  • Anxiety and stress
  • Helplessness
  • Loss of self-worth

Warning Signs

Suicide takes the lives of nearly 30,000 Americans a year, nearly twice as many deaths as from gun violence. There are an estimated 8 to 25 attempts for every completed suicide.

Every 18 minutes someone dies from suicide. More than 50% of suicides are men between 25-65 years of age. For young people, 15-24 years, it is the third leading cause of death.

Despite these grim statistics, you need to know that suicide is preventable. Most people, about 80%, who die by suicide give verbal or behavioral clues to the impending event. The number one cause of suicide is untreated depression. The following are some “warning signs” of suicide.

Note: The diagnosis and treatment of depression and other psychiatric disorders requires trained medical professionals. The information provided below is to be used for educational purposes only. It should NOT be used as a substitute for seeking professional care for the diagnosis and treatment of any mental/psychiatric disorders.

Potential Emotional Indicators

  • Hopelessness/Helplessness
  • Panic/Anxiety
  • Feelings of guilt and/or shame
  • Depression
  • Moodiness
  • Irritability/anger
  • Increased crying
  • Persistently sad or “empty” mood
  • Sudden euphoria or happy/calm mood
  • Feelings of worthlessness

Potential Behavioral Indicators

  • Talking about suicide, making a plan or preoccupation with death
  • Giving prized possessions away
  • Change in weight/appetite
  • Increase or decrease in sleep
  • Dangerous or impulsive behavior
  • Self injurious behavior (i.e. cutting or burning oneself)
  • Drug or alcohol abuse
  • Previous suicide attempts
  • Family history of suicide attempts
  • Withdrawal from family/friends, isolating
  • Preparation for death (i.e. setting one’s affairs in order)
  • Loss of interest in things that normally one cares about

If you suspect a friend or loved one is considering suicide, take your suspicion seriously.
Source: crisisclinic.org/find-help/suicide-support/why-suicide/

Warning Signs

Four out of five teens who attempt suicide give clear warning signs.

Warning Signs of suicidal ideation include, but are not limited, to the following:

  • Talking about suicide
  • Making statements about feeling hopeless, helpless, or worthless
  • A deepening depression
  • Preoccupation with death
  • Taking unnecessary risks or exhibiting self-destructive behavior
  • Out of character behavior
  • A loss of interest in the things one cares about
  • Visiting or calling people one cares about
  • Making arrangements; setting one’s affairs in order
  • Giving prized possessions away

Along with these warning signs, there are certain Risk Factors that can elevate the possibility of suicidal ideation.

  • Perfectionist personalities
  • Gay and Lesbian youth
  • Learning disabled youth
  • Loners
  • Youth with low self- esteem
  • Depressed youth
  • Students in serious trouble
  • Abused, Molested or Neglected Youth
  • Genetic predisposition
  • Parental history of violence, substance abuse, or divorce

You may be the first and last person to see these signs in a young person.
Source: jasonfoundation.com/youth-suicide/warning-signs/

Suicide Warning Signs

  • Appearing depressed or sad most of the time.
  • (Untreated depression is the number one cause for suicide.)
  • Talking or writing about death or suicide.
  • Withdrawing from family and friends.
  • Feeling hopeless.
  • Feeling helpless.
  • Feeling strong anger or rage.
  • Feeling trapped -- like there is no way out of a situation.
  • Experiencing dramatic mood changes.
  • Abusing drugs or alcohol.
  • Exhibiting a change in personality.
  • Acting impulsively.
  • Losing interest in most activities.
  • Experiencing a change in sleeping habits.
  • Experiencing a change in eating habits.
  • Losing interest in most activities.
  • Performing poorly at work or in school.
  • Giving away prized possessions.
  • Writing a will.
  • Feeling excessive guilt or shame.
  • Acting recklessly.

It should be noted that some people who die by suicide do not show any suicide warning signs.

But about 75 percent of those who die by suicide do exhibit some suicide warning signs, so we need to be aware of what the suicide warning signs are and try to spot them in people. If we do see someone exhibiting suicide warning signs, we need to do everything that we can to help them.

If you or someone you know exhibits several of the suicide warning signs listed above, immediate action is required, so please read the information on the home page of this website and take action.

Always take suicide warning signs seriously.
Source: www.suicide.org/suicide-warning-signs.html

Youth Suicide Warning Signs

  • Talking about or making plans for suicide
  • Expressing hopelessness about the future
  • Displaying severe/overwhelming emotional pain or distress
  • 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/situations
    • Changes in sleep (increased or decreased)
    • Anger or hostility that seems out of character or out of context
    • Recent increased agitation or irritability

For youth who may be assessing warning signs in a peer, the list is worded differently, specifically:

1. Are they talking about wanting to die, be dead, or about suicide, or are they cutting or burning themselves?
2. Are they feeling like things may never get better, seem to be in terrible emotional pain (like something is wrong deep inside but they can't make it go away) or struggling to deal with a big loss in their life?
3. Is your gut telling you to be worried because they have withdrawn from everyone and everything, have become more worried or on edge, seem unusually angry or just don't seem normal to you?

How to Respond

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

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

Are you still concerned? Here is how you can get more help.

If you think that your child or another youth may need help right now, call 24/7 the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or Text the National Crisis Text Line at 741741. Your call or text 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.
Source: www.youthsuicidewarningsigns.org/#!healthcare-professionals/cm0e

Suicide warning signs - Extended

Learn how to recognize the danger signals.

Be concerned if someone you know:

  • Talks about committing suicide
  • Has trouble eating or sleeping
  • Exhibits drastic changes in behavior
  • Withdraws from friends or social activities
  • Loses interest in school, work or hobbies
  • Prepares for death by writing a will and making final arrangements
  • Gives away prized possessions
  • Has attempted suicide before
  • Takes unnecessary risks
  • Has recently experienced serious losses
  • Seems preoccupied with death and dying
  • Loses interest in his or her personal appearance
  • Increases alcohol or drug use.

Feeling suicidal yourself? Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or the Crisi Text Line at 741741.. This government hotline connects individuals in suicidal crisis to their nearest suicide prevention and mental health service provider.
Source: www.apa.org/topics/suicide/signs.aspx

How to Help Someone Else

If someone is feeling depressed or suicidal, our first response is to try to help. We offer advice, share our own experiences, try to find solutions. We’d do better to be quiet and listen. People who feel suicidal don’t want answers or solutions. They want a safe place to express their fears and anxieties, to be themselves.

Listening – really listening – is not easy. We must control the urge to say something – to make a comment, add to a story or offer advice. We need to listen not just to the facts that the person is telling us but to the feelings that lie behind them. We need to understand things from their perspective, not ours.

Here are some points to remember if you are helping a person who feels suicidal.

  • They want someone to listen. Someone who will take time to really listen to them. Someone who won’t judge, or give advice or opinions, but will give their undivided attention.
  • They want someone to trust. Someone who will respect them and won’t try to take charge. Someone who will treat everything in complete confidence.
  • They want someone to care. Someone who will make themselves available, put the person at ease and speak calmly. Someone who will reassure, accept and believe. Someone who will say, ‘I care.’

What do people who feel suicidal not want?

  • They don't want to be alone. Rejection can make the problem seem ten times worse. Having someone to turn to makes all the difference. Listen.
  • They don't want to be advised. Lectures don’t help. Nor does a suggestion to ‘cheer up’, or an easy assurance that ‘everything will be okay.’ Don’t analyze, compare, categorize or criticize. Listen.
  • They don't want to be interrogated. Don’t change the subject, don’t pity or patronize. Talking about feelings is difficult. People who feel suicidal don’t want to be rushed or put on the defensive. Listen.

So, if you are concerned that someone you know may be thinking of suicide, you can help. Remember, as a helper, do not promise to do anything you do not want to do or that you cannot do.

First of all...

If the person is actively suicidal, get help immediately. Call your local crisis service or the police, or take the person to the emergency room of your local hospital. Do not leave the person alone.

If the person has attempted suicide and needs medical attention, call 9-1-1 or your local emergency services number.

The following are suggestions for helping someone who is suicidal:

Ask the person - "Are you thinking of suicide?" Ask them if they have a plan and if they have the means. Asking someone if they are suicidal will not make them suicidal. Most likely they will be relieved that you have asked. Experts believe that most people are ambivalent about their wish to die.

Listen actively to what the person is saying to you. Remain calm and do not judge what you are being told. Do not advise the person not to feel the way they are.

Reassure the person that there is help for their problems and reassure them that they are not "bad" or "stupid" because they are thinking about suicide.

Help the person break down their problem(s) into more manageable pieces. It is easier to deal with one problem at a time.

Emphasize that there are ways other than suicide to solve problems. Help the person to explore these options, for example, ask them what else they could do to change their situation.

Offer to investigate counselling services.

Do not agree to keep the person's suicidal thoughts or plans a secret. Helping someone who is suicidal can be very stressful. Get help - ask family members and friends for their assistance and to share the responsibility.

Suggest that the person see a doctor for a complete physical. Although there are many things that family and friends can do to help, there may be underlying medical problems that require professional intervention. Your doctor can also refer patients to a psychiatrist, if necessary.

Try to get the person to see a trained counselor. Do not be surprised if the person refuses to go to a counselor - but be persistent. There are many types of caregivers for the suicidal. If the person will not go to a psychologist, or a psychiatrist, suggest, for example, they talk to a clergyperson, a guidance counselor or a teacher.

Most suicide attempts are unsuccessful—except when it comes to guns.

Suicides in Oregon: Trends and Risk Factors - 2012 Report (49 pages)

Key Findings

In 2010, the age-adjusted suicide rate among Oregonians of 17.1 per 100,000 was 41 percent higher than the national average.

The rate of suicide among Oregonians has been increasing since 2000.

Suicide rates among adults ages 45-64 rose approximately 50 percent from 18.1 per 100,000 in 2000 to 27.1 per 100,000 in 2010. The rate increased more among women ages 45-64 than among men of the same age during the past 10 years.

Suicide rates among men ages 65 and older decreased approximately 15 percent from nearly 50 per 100,000 in 2000 to 43 per 100,000 in 2010.

Men were 3.7 times more likely to die by suicide than women. The highest suicide rate occurred among men ages 85 and over (76.1 per 100,000). Non-Hispanic white males had the highest suicide rate among all races / ethnicity (27.1 per 100,000). Firearms were the dominant mechanism of injury among men who died by suicide (62%).

Approximately 26 percent of suicides occurred among veterans. Male veterans had a higher suicide rate than non-veteran males (44.6 vs. 31.5 per 100,000). Significantly higher suicide rates were identified among male veterans ages 18-24, 35-44 and 45-54 when compared to non-veteran males. Veteran suicide victims were reported to have more physical health problems than non-veteran males.

Psychological, behavioral, and health problems co-occur and are known to increase suicide risk. Approximately 70 percent of suicide victims had a diagnosed mental disorder, alcohol and /or substance use problems, or depressed mood at time of death.

Despite the high prevalence of mental health problems, less than one third of male victims and about 60 percent of female victims were receiving treatment for mental health problems at the time of death.

Eviction/loss of home was a factor associated with 75 deaths by suicide in 2009-2010.

2 Investigators suspect that one in four suicide victims had used alcohol in the hours prece ding their death.

The number of suicides in each month varies; there was not a clear seasonal pattern. Baker, Coos, Curry, Douglas, Grant, Harney, Jackson, Josephine, Lincoln, Klamath and Tillamook counties had a higher than state average suicide rate; and Benton, Clackamas, Hood River, Washington, and Yamhill counties had a lower than state average suicide rate.

How to Tell if Your Teen is Being Bullied

There are many warning signs that may indicate that someone is affected by bullying—either being bullied or bullying others. Recognizing the warning signs is an important first step in taking action against bullying. Not all children who are bullied or are bullying others ask for help.

It is important to talk with children who show signs of being bullied or bullying others. These warning signs can also point to other issues or problems, such as depression or substance abuse. Talking to the child can help identify the root of the problem.

  • Signs a Child is Being Bullied
  • Signs a Child is Bullying Others
  • Why don’t kids ask for help?

Signs a Child is Being Bullied
Look for changes in the child. However, be aware that not all children who are bullied exhibit warning signs.

Some signs that may point to a bullying problem are:

  • Unexplainable injuries
  • Lost or destroyed clothing, books, electronics, or jewelry
  • Frequent headaches or stomach aches, feeling sick or faking illness
  • Changes in eating habits, like suddenly skipping meals or binge eating. Kids may come home from school hungry because they did not eat lunch.
  • Difficulty sleeping or frequent nightmares
  • Declining grades, loss of interest in schoolwork, or not wanting to go to school
  • Sudden loss of friends or avoidance of social situations
  • Feelings of helplessness or decreased self esteem
  • Self-destructive behaviors such as running away from home, harming themselves, or talking about suicide

If you know someone in serious distress or danger, don’t ignore the problem. Get help right away.

Signs a Child is Bullying Others

Kids may be bullying others if they:

  • Get into physical or verbal fights
  • Have friends who bully others
  • Are increasingly aggressive
  • Get sent to the principal’s office or to detention frequently
  • Have unexplained extra money or new belongings
  • Blame others for their problems
  • Don’t accept responsibility for their actions
  • Are competitive and worry about their reputation or popularity

Why don't kids ask for help?

Statistics from the 2008–2009 School Crime Supplement show that an adult was notified in only about a third of bullying cases. Kids don’t tell adults for many reasons:

  • Bullying can make a child feel helpless. Kids may want to handle it on their own to feel in control again. They may fear being seen as weak or a tattletale.
  • Kids may fear backlash from the kid who bullied them.
  • Bullying can be a humiliating experience. Kids may not want adults to know what is being said about them, whether true or false. They may also fear that adults will judge them or punish them for being weak.
  • Kids who are bullied may already feel socially isolated. They may feel like no one cares or could understand.
  • Kids may fear being rejected by their peers. Friends can help protect kids from bullying, and kids can fear losing this support.

Source: www.stopbullying.gov/at-risk/warning-signs/index.html

How to Tell if Your Teen is Being Cyberbullied

Only 10% of teenagers report they’ve been cyberbullied to their parents. When asked why they don’t report cyberbullying, they responded:

  • 40% were scared their parents would get involved
  • 36% worried what their parents would do
  • 32% said they felt ashamed

While parents know cyberbullying happens, approximately 94% underestimate the amount of conflict that occurs on social media sites, and only 7% of US parents actually worry about cyberbullying. Parents should be aware of the following signs that point to their teenager being cyberbullied:

  • Sudden loss of friends
  • Changes in eating habits
  • Avoidance of social situations
  • Sudden decrease in phone or computer use
  • Apparent nervousness when receiving a text, email, or instant message
  • Anger, depression, or frustration after phone or computer use
  • Hesitation when participating in favorite activities
  • Self-destructive behaviors such as self-harm or discussion of death or suicide
  • Asking to have social media accounts shut down
  • Having uncharacteristic behaviors
  • Frequently feeling ill
  • Decreased self-esteem

Source: www.rawhide.org/blog/wellness/teen-cyberbullying-and-social-media-use-on-the-rise/

Warning Signs of Abuse and Domestic Violence

The following questions ask you about your relationship. If you are not currently in a relationship, these are signs or “red flags” to assist people in identifying a potentially abusive person.

  • Do you feel nervous around your partner?
  • Do you have to be careful to control your behavior to avoid your partner’s anger?
  • Do you feel pressured by your partner when it comes to sex?
  • Are you scared of disagreeing with your partner?
  • Does your partner criticize you, or humiliate you in front of other people?
  • Is your partner always checking up on you or questioning you about what you do without your partner?
  • Does your partner control where you go or check the mileage on your car?
  • Does your partner repeatedly and wrongly accuse you of seeing or flirting with other people?
  • Does your partner tell you that if you changed, he or she wouldn’t treat you like this?
  • Does your partner’s jealousy stop you from seeing friends or family?
  • Does your partner make you feel like you are wrong, stupid, crazy, or inadequate?
  • Has your partner ever scared you with violence or threatening behavior?
  • Does your partner throw or break objects to intimidate you?
  • Does your partner make you feel scared by driving too fast and refusing to slow down when you ask?
  • Does your partner say, “I will kill myself if you break up with me” or “I will hurt/kill you if you break up with me”?
  • Does your partner make excuses for the abusive behavior? For example: saying, “It’s because of alcohol or drugs,” or “I can’t control my temper,” or “I was just joking”?
  • Does your partner brag about bullying or harming others or animals?
  • Has your partner abused or killed your animals?
  • Does your partner impose stereotypical gender roles?

You do not deserve to be abused. Create a safety plan or call someone to talk about your relationship. You may also want to contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at (800) 799-SAFE to be contacted to a local organization.
Source: stoprelationshipabuse.org/educated/warning-signs-of-abuse/

Warning signs of mental illness

Every form of mental illness has its own symptoms but the National Alliance on Mental Illness, www.nami.org, reports that some common signs in adults and teens can include:

  • Excessive worrying or fear
  • Feeling very sad or low
  • Confused thinking or difficulty with concentrating and learning
  • Extreme mood changes
  • Strong feelings of irritability or anger
  • Avoiding friends and social activities
  • Difficulty understanding or relating to other people
  • Changes in sleeping habits or feeling tired
  • Changes in eating habits
  • Changes in sex drive
  • Difficulty perceiving reality
  • Inability to recognize changes in one's own feelings, behavior or personality
  • Substance abuse
  • Multiple physical ailments without obvious causes (such as headaches, stomach aches, vague and ongoing aches and pains)
  • Thinking about suicide
  • Inability to carry out daily activities or handle daily problems
  • An intense fear of weight gain or concern with appearance (mostly in adolescents

For young children, because they're still learning how to identify and talk about thoughts and emotions, their most obvious symptoms are behavioral, and may include:

  • Changes in school performance
  • Excessive worry or anxiety, for instance fighting to avoid bed or school
  • Hyperactive behavior
  • Frequent nightmares
  • Frequent disobedience or aggression
  • Frequent temper tantrums

Source: www.freep.com/story/life/family/2015/02/27/teen-mental-health-conference/24152679/

Veterans Warning Signs

  • Hopelessness; feeling like there’s no way out
  • Anxiety, agitation, sleeplessness, mood swings
  • Feeling like there is no reason to live
  • Rage or anger
  • Engaging in risky activities without thinking
  • Increasing alcohol or drug abuse
  • Withdrawing from family and friends

The presence of the following signs requires immediate attention:

  • Thinking about hurting or killing yourself
  • Looking for ways to kill yourself
  • Talking about death, dying, or suicide
  • Self-destructive behavior such as drug abuse, weapons, etc.

Even if there is no immediate danger, the Veterans Crisis Line is here for you. Crisis feels different for everybody and can stem from a wide range of situations. Some Veterans are coping with aging, stress, relationship problems, financial or legal issues, or lingering effects stemming from their military service, which were never addressed. Some Veterans have difficulty with their relationships or the transition back to civilian life.

Whatever’s got you down—chronic pain, anxiety, depression, sleeplessness, anger, or even homelessness—a Veterans Crisis Line responder can provide support, day or night.

Learn to Recognize the Signs

Many Veterans may not show any signs of intent to harm themselves before doing so, but some actions can be a sign that a Veteran needs help. Veterans in crisis may show behaviors that indicate a risk of harming themselves.

Veterans who are considering suicide often show signs of depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, and/or hopelessness, such as:

  • Appearing sad or depressed most of the time
  • Clinical depression: deep sadness, loss of interest, trouble sleeping and eating—that doesn’t go away or continues to get worse
  • Feeling anxious, agitated, or unable to sleep
  • Neglecting personal welfare, deteriorating physical appearance
  • Withdrawing from friends, family, and society, or sleeping all the time
  • Losing interest in hobbies, work, school, or other things one used to care about
  • Frequent and dramatic mood changes
  • Expressing feelings of excessive guilt or shame
  • Feelings of failure or decreased performance
  • Feeling that life is not worth living, having no sense of purpose in life
  • Talk about feeling trapped—like there is no way out of a situation
  • Having feelings of desperation, and saying that there’s no solution to their problems
  • Their behavior may be dramatically different from their normal behavior, or they may appear to be actively contemplating or preparing for a suicidal act through behaviors such as:

Performing poorly at work or school

Acting recklessly or engaging in risky activities—seemingly without thinking

  • Showing violent behavior such as punching holes in walls, getting into fights or self-destructive violence; feeling rage or uncontrolled anger or seeking revenge
  • Looking as though one has a “death wish,” tempting fate by taking risks that could lead to death, such as driving fast or running red lights
  • Giving away prized possessions
  • Putting affairs in order, tying up loose ends, and/or making out a will
  • Seeking access to firearms, pills, or other means of harming oneself

If you are a Veteran or know a Veteran who is showing any of the above warning signs, please call the Veterans Crisis Line , chat online , or send a text message today.
Source: https://www.veteranscrisisline.net/SignsOfCrisis/Identifying.aspx

Take a Self-Check Quiz

Crisis, stress, depression, and other issues affect people in different ways. Maybe you’re having trouble sleeping or feel out of control. Maybe your energy level is down or you feel anxious all the time. If these issues and others seem to be leading to a crisis, treatment can help. Take a confidential, anonymous risk assessment to see how you might benefit from VA or community-based services.

Take the Quiz Now

Warning SIgns: The Chocking Game

Any suspicious mark on the side of the neck, sometimes hidden by a turtleneck, scarf or permanently turned-up collar.

  • Changes in personality, such as overtly aggressive or agitated.
  • Any kind of strap, rope or belt lying around near the child for no clear reason—and attempts to elude questions about such objects.
  • Headaches (sometimes excruciatingly bad ones), loss of concentration, flushed face.
  • Bloodshot eyes or any other noticeable signs of eye stress.
  • A thud in the bedroom or against a wall—meaning a fall in cases of solitary practice.
  • Any questions about the effects, sensations or dangers of strangulation.

How Can You Tell If Your Child Has Been Using Marijuana?

If someone is actually high on marijuana, there may be some visible signs that they are under the influence:

  • They may seem unsteady on their feet or appear dizzy
  • They could have bloodshot eyes
  • They might laugh inappropriately or seem silly for no reason
  • They may have difficulty remembering something that just happened
  • As the effects wear off, they may become sleepy

Evidence of Smoking Behavior

Even if they are not visibly high, there are some signs you can look for that linger after they have been smoking:

  • The smell. The odor will linger and cling to their clothes
  • Drug paraphernalia such as rolling papers or pipes
  • A sudden uncharacteristic use of eye drops
  • The use of incense or room deodorizers
  • Pro-drug slogans on t-shirts or posters
  • Evidence of smoking, such as lighters, ashes

Sudden Behavioral Changes

Although these behavioral changes could be related to other typical teenage issues, they also could indicate marijuana use:

  • Tiredness
  • Hostility or mood swings
  • Social withdrawal
  • Depression
  • Declining attention to hygiene, grooming
  • Deteriorating relationships

Changes in Interests

These signs could also indicate other teenage-related problems, they also could be prompted by the use of marijuana:

  • A change in friends or peer group
  • Declining grades in school
  • Increased absenteeism or truancy
  • Changes in eating habits
  • A change in sleep patterns
  • Loss of interest in sports or other activities
  • Behavioral problems at school
  • Brushes with the law

If you suspect that your child has been using marijuana, you may want to just sit down and talk to them about it. If your child is using marijuana, chances are he or she will deny it and blame any evidence you found on someone else.

But, carefully watch their reaction to your conversation with them. If they over-react, that too could be an indication of their involvement with marijuana or other drugs.

How about drug testing your child? There are home drug tests available that parents can use to test their children, but be aware that there are some drawbacks when parents decide to test their kids.


National Institute on Drug Abuse. "Marijuana: Facts Parents Need to Know. " Publications March 2014

Partnership for Drug-Free Kids. "If You Catch Your Teen Smoking Pot ."
Source: www.verywell.com/how-can-i-tell-if-my-child-has-been-using-marijuana-63542

Depression Symptoms and Warning Signs

Recognizing Depression and Getting the Help You Need

Feeling down from time to time is a normal part of life, but when emotions such as hopelessness and despair take hold and just won't go away, you may have depression. Depression makes it tough to function and enjoy life like you once did. Just getting through the day can be overwhelming. But no matter how hopeless you feel, you can get better. Learning about depression—and the many things you can do to help yourself—is the first step to overcoming the problem.

How do you experience depression?

While some people describe depression as “living in a black hole” or having a feeling of impending doom, others feel lifeless, empty, and apathetic. Men in particular may even feel angry and restless. No matter how you experience it, depression is different from normal sadness in that it engulfs your day-to-day life, interfering with your ability to work, study, eat, sleep, and have fun.

Some people feel like nothing will ever change. But it’s important to remember that feelings of helplessness and hopelessness are symptoms of depression—not the reality of your situation. You can do things today to start feeling better.

What are the symptoms of depression?

Depression varies from person to person, but there are some common signs and symptoms. It’s important to remember that these symptoms can be part of life’s normal lows. But the more symptoms you have, the stronger they are, and the longer they’ve lasted—the more likely it is that you’re dealing with depression.

Symptoms of depression include:

  • Feelings of helplessness and hopelessness. A bleak outlook—nothing will ever get better and there’s nothing you can do to improve your situation.
  • Loss of interest in daily activities. You don’t care anymore about former hobbies, pastimes, social activities, or sex. You’ve lost your ability to feel joy and pleasure.
  • Appetite or weight changes. Significant weight loss or weight gain—a change of more than 5% of body weight in a month.
  • Sleep changes. Either insomnia, especially waking in the early hours of the morning, or oversleeping.
  • Anger or irritability. Feeling agitated, restless, or even violent. Your tolerance level is low, your temper short, and everything and everyone gets on your nerves.
  • Loss of energy. Feeling fatigued, sluggish, and physically drained. Your whole body may feel heavy, and even small tasks are exhausting or take longer to complete.
  • Self-loathing. Strong feelings of worthlessness or guilt. You harshly criticize yourself for perceived faults and mistakes.
  • Reckless behavior. You engage in escapist behavior such as substance abuse, compulsive gambling, reckless driving, or dangerous sports.
  • Concentration problems. Trouble focusing, making decisions, or remembering things.
  • Unexplained aches and pains. An increase in physical complaints such as headaches, back pain, aching muscles, and stomach pain.

Is it depression or bipolar disorder?

Bipolar disorder, also known as manic depression, involves serious shifts in moods, energy, thinking, and behavior. Because it looks so similar to depression when in the low phase, it is often overlooked and misdiagnosed. This is a problem, because antidepressants for bipolar depression can make the condition worse. If you’ve ever gone through phases where you experienced excessive feelings of euphoria, a decreased need for sleep, racing thoughts, and impulsive behavior, consider getting evaluated for bipolar disorder. See: Bipolar Disorder Signs and Symptoms.

Depression and suicide risk

Depression is a major risk factor for suicide. The deep despair and hopelessness that goes along with depression can make suicide feel like the only way to escape the pain. If you have a loved one with depression, take any suicidal talk or behavior seriously and watch for the warning signs:

  • Talking about killing or harming one’s self
  • Expressing strong feelings of hopelessness or being trapped
  • An unusual preoccupation with death or dying
  • Acting recklessly, as if they have a death wish (e.g. speeding through red lights)
  • Calling or visiting people to say goodbye
  • Getting affairs in order (giving away prized possessions, tying up loose ends)
  • Saying things like “Everyone would be better off without me” or “I want out”
  • A sudden switch from being extremely depressed to acting calm and happy.

If you think a friend or family member is considering suicide, express your concern and seek help immediately. Talking openly about suicidal thoughts and feelings can save a life.

If You Are Feeling Suicidal...

When you’re feeling depressed or suicidal, your problems don’t seem temporary—they seem overwhelming and permanent. But with time, you will feel better, especially if you get help. There are many people who want to support you during this difficult time, so please reach out!

Read Suicide Help or call 1-800-273-TALK in the U.S. or visit IASP or Suicide.org to find a helpline in your country.

The symptoms of depression can vary with gender and age

Depression often varies according to age and gender, with symptoms differing between men and women, or young people and older adults.

Depression in men. Depressed men are less likely to acknowledge feelings of self-loathing and hopelessness. Instead, they tend to complain about fatigue, irritability, sleep problems, and loss of interest in work and hobbies. They’re also more likely to experience symptoms such as anger, aggression, reckless behavior, and substance abuse.

Depression in women. Women are more likely to experience symptoms such as pronounced feelings of guilt, excessive sleeping, overeating, and weight gain. Depression in women is also impacted by hormonal factors during menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause. Up to 1 in 7 women experience depression following childbirth, a condition known as postpartum depression.

Depression in teens. Irritability, anger, and agitation are often the most noticeable symptoms in depressed teens—not sadness. They may also complain of headaches, stomachaches, or other physical pains.

Depression in older adults. Older adults tend to complain more about the physical rather than the emotional signs and symptoms of depression: things like fatigue, unexplained aches and pains, and memory problems. They may also neglect their personal appearance and stop taking critical medications for their health.

Types of depression

Depression comes in many shapes and forms. Knowing what type of depression you have can help you manage your symptoms and get the most effective treatment.

Major depression

Major depression is much less common than mild or moderate depression and is characterized by intense, relentless symptoms.

Left untreated, major depression typically lasts for about six months.

Some people experience just a single depressive episode in their lifetime, but major depression can be a recurring disorder.

Atypical depression

Atypical depression is a common subtype of major depression with a specific symptom pattern. It responds better to some therapies and medications than others, so identifying it can be helpful.

  • People with atypical depression experience a temporary mood lift in response to positive events, such as after receiving good news or while out with friends.
  • Other symptoms of atypical depression include weight gain, increased appetite, sleeping excessively, a heavy feeling in the arms and legs, and sensitivity to rejection.

Dysthymia (recurrent, mild depression)

Dysthymia is a type of chronic “low-grade” depression. More days than not, you feel mildly or moderately depressed, although you may have brief periods of normal mood.

  • The symptoms of dysthymia are not as strong as the symptoms of major depression, but they last a long time (at least two years).
  • Some people also experience major depressive episodes on top of dysthymia, a condition known as “double depression.”
  • If you suffer from dysthymia, you may feel like you’ve always been depressed. Or you may think that your continuous low mood is “just the way you are.”

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD)

For some people, the reduced daylight hours of winter lead to a form of depression known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD). SAD affects about 1% to 2% of the population, particularly women and young people.

  • SAD can make you feel like a completely different person to who you are in the summer: hopeless, sad, tense, or stressed, with no interest in friends or activities you normally love.
  • SAD usually begins in fall or winter when the days become shorter and remains until the brighter days of spring.

Depression causes and risk factors

While some illnesses have a specific medical cause, making treatment straightforward, depression is more complicated. Depression is not just the result of a chemical imbalance in the brain that can be simply cured with medication. It’s caused by a combination of biological, psychological, and social factors. In other words, your lifestyle choices, relationships, and coping skills matter just as much—if not more so—than genetics.

Risk factors that make you more vulnerable to depression include:

  • Loneliness and isolation
  • Lack of social support
  • Recent stressful life experiences
  • Family history of depression
  • Marital or relationship problems
  • Financial strain
  • Early childhood trauma or abuse
  • Alcohol or drug abuse
  • Unemployment or underemployment
  • Health problems or chronic pain

    The cause of your depression helps determine the treatment

    Understanding the underlying cause of your depression may help you overcome the problem. For example, if you are depressed because of a dead end job, the best treatment might be finding a more satisfying career, not taking an antidepressant. If you are new to an area and feeling lonely and sad, finding new friends will probably give you more of a mood boost than going to therapy. In such cases, the depression is remedied by changing the situation.

What you can do to feel better

When you’re depressed, it can feel like there’s no light at the end of the tunnel. But there are many things you can do to lift and stabilize your mood. The key is to start with a few small goals and slowly build from there, trying to do a little more each day. Feeling better takes time, but you can get there by making positive choices for yourself.

What you can do

  • Reach out to other people. Isolation fuels depression, so reach out to friends and loved ones, even if you feel like being alone or don’t want to be a burden to others. The simple act of talking to someone face-to-face about how you feel can be an enormous help. The person you talk to doesn’t have to be able to fix you. He or she just needs to be a good listener—someone who’ll listen attentively without being distracted or judging you.

Get moving. When you’re depressed, just getting out of bed can seem daunting, let alone exercising. But regular exercise can be as effective as antidepressant medication in countering the symptoms of depression. Take a short walk or put some music on and dance around. Start with small activities and build up from there.

Eat a mood boosting diet. Reduce your intake of foods that can adversely affect your mood, such as caffeine, alcohol, trans fats, sugar, and refined carbs. And increase mood-enhancing nutrients such as Omega-3 fatty acids.

Find ways to engage again with the world. Spend some time in nature, care for a pet, volunteer, pick up a hobby you used to enjoy (or take up a new one). You won’t feel like it at first, but as you participate in the world again, you will start to feel better.

For more information, see: Coping with Depression

When to seek professional help

If support from family and friends and positive lifestyle changes aren’t enough, find a therapist who can help you heal.

Therapy can help you understand your depression and motivate you to take the action necessary to prevent it from coming back.

Medication may be imperative if you’re feeling suicidal or violent. But while it can help relieve symptoms of depression in some people, it isn’t a cure and is not usually a long-term solution. It also comes with side effects and other drawbacks so it’s important to learn all the facts to make an informed decision.

More help for depression

Parent's Guide to Teen Depression: Recognizing the Signs and Helping Your Child

Teenager's Guide to Depression: Tips and Tools for Helping Yourself or a Friend

Depression in Men: What it Looks Like and How to Get Help

Resources and references

Signs and symptoms of depression

Signs and Symptoms of Mood Disorders – Lists the common signs and symptoms of depression and bipolar disorder. (Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance)

What Does Depression Feel Like? – Provides a list of signs and symptoms and ways you might feel if you're depressed. (Wings of Madness)

When Depression Hurts – Article on the painful physical symptoms of depression, including what causes them and how treatment can help. (Psychology Today)

Male Depression: Don't Ignore the Symptoms – Learn about the distinct symptoms of depression in men and the dangers of leaving them untreated. (Mayo Clinic)

Types of depression

The Different Faces of Depression – Discussion of the different subtypes of depression, including atypical depression, melancholic depression, and psychotic depression. (Psychology Today)

Atypical Depression: What's in a Name? – Article on the symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment of atypical depression. (American Psychiatric Association)

Dysthymia: Psychotherapists and patients confront the high cost of “low-grade” depression – In-depth look at the causes, effects, and treatment of dysthymic disorder. (Harvard Health Publications)

Seasonal Affective Disorder: Winter Depression – Guide to seasonal affective disorder and its symptoms, causes, and treatment. (Northern County Psychiatric Associates)

Depression causes and risk factors

What Causes Depression? Page 1 & Page 2 – Learn about the many potential causes of depression, including genes, temperament, stressful life events, and medical issues. (Harvard Health Publications)

Depression and Other Illnesses – An overview of the mental and physical illnesses that often co-exist with depression, and how this impacts treatment. (Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance)

Co-occurring Disorders and Depression – How medical disorders can affect depression and vice versa. (Mental Health America)
Source: www.helpguide.org/articles/depression/depression-symptoms-and-warning-signs.htm

Experts Release Consensus Derived List of Warning Signs for Youth Suicide

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death for youth 15-24 years of age and the 3rd leading cause for 10-14 year olds in the United States. Much needed attention has been given to developing suicide awareness and prevention programs for youth, in particular through the Garrett Lee Smith Youth Suicide Prevention grant program, an initiative supported by the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), however a solid understanding and agreement on the warning signs for youth suicide has never been accomplished.

To address this gap in knowledge, a panel of national and international experts convened to resolve this problem and help the public better understand the way youth think, feel, and behave prior to making life-threatening suicide attempts and inform them about how to effectively respond. The main goal was to determine what changes immediately preceded suicide attempts or deaths that are supported by research and rooted in clinical practice by experts and for the first time we can now confidently put forward that these are the warning signs that a young person might be at risk of suicide.

The newly agreed upon list of warning signs and additional resources for how to respond to recognized risk was released today and can be found at: www.youthsuicidewarningsigns.org.

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/situations

Changes in sleep (increased or decreased)

Anger or hostility that seems out of character or out of context

Recent increased agitation or irritability

Prior to the meeting, the experts reviewed and analyzed all available literature and conducted a survey of youth suicide attempt survivors, as well as those who lost a youth to suicide. The panel was then convened and consisted of researchers with extensive experience working with suicidal youth, public health officials, clinicians with decades of individual experience helping suicidal youth, school teachers, and various other stakeholders including individuals representing national organizations focused on suicide prevention. Following the consensus meeting, focus groups with youth and adults were held to gain their input on the findings and dissemination plans. The following organizations were involved.

  • Aevidum
  • American Association of Suicidology
  • Columbia University
  • Duke University Medical Center
  • George Mason University
  • Indian Health Service
  • National Center for the Prevention of Youth Suicide
  • National Institute of Mental Health
  • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
  • Society for the Prevention of Teen Suicide
  • Suicide Awareness Voices of Education
  • The Trevor Project
  • Thomas Jefferson University
  • University of British Columbia
  • University of Chicago
  • University of Colorado, Denver Veterans Administration
  • University of Michigan
  • University of Tel Aviv, Israel
  • Weill Cornell Medical College


Dr. Dan Reidenberg at dreidenberg@save.org or (952) 946-7998 or Dr. Michelle Cornette at cornette@suicidology.org

SOURCE SAVE - Suicide Awareness Voices of Education

Source: www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/experts-release-consensus-derived-list-of-warning-signs-for-youth-suicide-300140396.html

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