Significant behavioral changes — or behavior that seems completely out of character — can be a signal that a person could be suicidal, according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, particularly if the change is related to trauma or loss. People usually exhibit some warning signs before they choose to end their lives.

They can include:

  • drug or alcohol abuse
  • withdrawal from activities or people
  • too much sleep or too little
  • saying goodbye or giving up prized possessions
  • aggression
  • fatigue
  • searching for information about suicide

Verbal warning can include:

  • talk of hurting oneself or lacking a reason to live
  • expressing feelings of being trapped or hopeless
  • feeling like a burden to others

Depression, often undiagnosed, is the condition most commonly associated with suicide, though anxiety and substance abuse also increase the risk. Suicides are most common when a combination of stressful external factors and health issues converge to cause despair.

People in crisis can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (-8255) or use the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741741.

Other organizations that may offer help include:

National Alliance on Mental Illness 703-524-7600; HelpLine: 800-950-6264

Source: American Foundation for Suicide Prevention