Warning Signs

What are the warning signs?

Suicide prevention depends heavily on our ability to recognize those people who are in distress and may be at risk.  The American Association of Suicidology developed a simple tool that we can all use to remember the warning signs of suicide.  This tool is called “IS PATH WARM” and outlines the key points to remember.

I – Ideation (suicidal thoughts)

S – Substance Abuse

P – Purposelessness

A – Anxiety

T – Trapped

H – Hopelessness/Helplessness

W – Withdrawal

A – Anger

R – Recklessness

M – Mood changes

Other signs and behaviours to be aware of and that might suggest someone being at risk of suicide include:

  • Direct and indirect verbal expressions: “I don’t want to live anymore”, “there is nothing to live for anymore”, “people will be better off without me”
  • Dramatic changes in mood
  • Loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities
  • Agitation
  • Increase in drug and alcohol use
  • Risk taking behavior
  • Aggressive, impulsive and/or violent acts
  • Expressions of hopelessness and purposelessness
  • Lack of self care or outright neglect of self
  • Changes in eating and sleeping patterns
  • Withdrawal from family, friends, and interests
  • Giving away prize possessions and/or making a will
  • Reconnecting with old friends and extended family as if to say goodbye
  • Previous unresolved or recent suicide attempts