Know the Warning Signs of Suicide

September 18, 2014 Providence Health Team

On an average day, three people in Washington take their own lives. In fact, suicide is among the top causes of death in our state, especially among people aged 15-24. And, thousands of other Washingtonians are hospitalized each year after trying to hurt themselves.

The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) works with government and private organizations to promote suicide prevention education. According to the DOH, most people considering suicide give warning signs.

When to Get Help for a Loved One

You should call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline (1-800-273-8255) or a mental health professional if someone close to you talks about:

  • Wanting to die
  • Ways to kill herself
  • Having no reason to live


It’s also important to pay attention when people talk about feeling trapped, hopeless or being a burden to others. Other indicators to be on alert for include:

  • Increased alcohol or drug use
  • Anxiety or agitation
  • Reckless behavior
  • Sleeping too little or too much
  • Withdrawing or feeling isolated
  • Rage or talk of revenge
  • Extreme mood swings


Stay Connected

According to the Centers for Disease Control, the most important factor in preventing suicide is staying connected with others. Talking with someone about suicide doesn’t increase the risk that person will take their own life. You should:

  • Talk openly and freely – ask directly if your friend is considering suicide
  • Listen without being judgmental – focus on being present with their feelings
  • Get involved – be available, supportive and interested
  • Don’t be sworn to secrecy – seek support from professionals
  • Check in regularly – schedule times to talk and find out how they’re doing
  • Offer hope of alternatives
  • Make sure they don’t have the means to take their own life
  • Get help from experts in crisis intervention and suicide prevention
  • Offer to accompany your friend to see a counselor, doctor or clergy member


If You're Considering Suicide

If you’re having thoughts of suicide, call the Suicide Prevention Hotline (1-800-273-8255) for help, contact a mental health professional or reach out to someone you love and trust.

Suicide prevention works. People can and do put suicidal thoughts behind them.

Additional Resources



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