Suicide Awareness and Suicide Prevention

By simply reading this page you can increase your suicide awareness and being suicide aware is an important part of suicide prevention. So go on, read on…

Suicide – why do people kill themselves?

There is no single answer, but a common theme appears to be the need to put an end to intense emotional pain. The cause, or more usually causes, that lead to such pain can vary greatly between individuals. Unfortunately, people on the verge of suicide are often so distressed they are not able to see other alternatives. What is more, we all have the potential to become suicidal.

Warning signs associated with suicide

Sometimes suicide can occur without warning but most people who are suicidal do give warnings and some of these are listed below:

  • History of suicide attempts
  • Talk of, or preoccupation with, death or dying
  • Showing signs of depression
  • Self-harming
  • Loss of interest in daily life or hobbies
  • Loss of interest in self and others
  • Loss of interest in school or work
  • Changes in sleeping pattern
  • Changes in appetite and/or weight
  • Putting ‘things’ in order. For example, sorting out personal possessions, making a will or attending to unfinished business
  • Substance and/or alcohol abuse
  • Unexpected changes in mood and/or behaviour
  • Suffering a recent loss. For example, due to the death of a loved one, breakdown of a relationship or perhaps the loss of a job

Please note, the warning signs listed above can also be symptomatic of other conditions and do not necessarily mean a person is suicidal but these are some of the signs you should be aware of. Moreover, the more signs displayed the greater the risk.

How YOU can help someone who may be suicidal

  • Try to remain calm
  • Ask the person how they are feeling and don’t be afraid to ask if they are feeling suicidal
  • Actively show the person that you are listening to them
  • Take what they are saying to you seriously
  • Do not make judgements. What they are feeling is their unique experience and you should refrain from giving your opinions or views
  • Let the person know that you want to help
  • Try to remove the things they could use to harm themselves or make a suicide attempt with
  • Try not to leave the person on their own if they are actively suicidal
  • Seek professional advice as soon as possible

Useful information

Note: The links are provided as a convenience only and should not be taken as an endorsement of any website, content, product or service. Visits to linked websites are at your own risk. asks and answers the question, “What can I do to help someone who may be suicidal?” empowers you to make educated health and lifestyle choices to prevent illness and improve your health. This non-profit resource provides over 150 articles reviewed by recognized professionals. This site also covers suicide prevention and what you can do to help.

If you would like to know more about the risk factors and warning signs associated with suicide, please read the leaflet ‘Concerned About Suicide which is on the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety (DHSSPS) website.

Suicide awareness and suicide prevention training suicide awareness and prevention training. Why not have a look through this website to see if training is available in your area?

Promoting suicide awareness and supporting suicide prevention