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Types of suicide

A major public health problem and a leading cause of death in the United States is suicide. Learn about the signs, symptoms, risk factors, warning signs, and ongoing research related to suicides and how to build plans for suicide prevention.

Suicide is when people direct violence at themselves with the intent to end their lives, and they die because of their actions.

Inward suicidal thoughts can be hard to identify but there are some outward warning signs that show a person may be at risk of suicide.

Behaviors and warning signs that someone is thinking about suicide

  • Talking about wanting to die or wanting to kill themselves
  • Talking about feeling empty, hopeless, or having no reason to live
  • Planning or looking for a way to kill themselves, such as searching online, stockpiling pills, or newly acquiring potentially lethal items (e.g., firearms, ropes)
  • Talking about great guilt or shame
  • Talking about feeling trapped or feeling that there are no solutions
  • Feeling unbearable pain, both physical or emotional
  • Talking about being a burden to others
  • Using alcohol or drugs more often
  • Acting anxious or agitated
  • Withdrawing from family and friends
  • Changing eating and/or sleeping habits
  • Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge
  • Taking risks that could lead to death, such as reckless driving
  • Talking or thinking about death often
  • Displaying extreme mood swings, suddenly changing from very sad to very calm or happy
  • Giving away important possessions
  • Saying goodbye to friends and family
  • Putting affairs in order, making a will

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