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Warning Signs

  • Abrupt changes in personality
  • Giving away possessions
  • Previous suicide attempt
  • Ending of a romance
  • Inability to tolerate frustration
  • Use of drugs and/or alcohol
  • Depression
  • Eating disturbances, (significant weight changes)
  • Change in sleep patterns
  • Unwillingness or inability to communicate
  • Sexual promiscuity
  • Extreme or extended boredom
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Accident prone (Carelessness)
  • Unusually long grief reaction
  • Unusual sadness, discouragement and loneliness
  • Hostile behavior
  • Neglect of academic work
  • Neglect of personal appearance
  • Major loss (of a loved person, home; loss of status through divorce, trauma or losing loved one)
  • Running away from home, or truancy from school
  • Withdrawal (from people, especially close friends, family and/or favorite activities)
  • Rebelliousness
  • Reckless behavior
  • Lack of esteem

Important Facts!!

  • Suicide is the second leading cause of death in 15 – 24 year old Canadians.
  • Up to 70% of Canadian high school students have seriously considered suicide.
  • 95% of all youth suicides are preventable.
  • Suicide kills more than traffic accidents.

Risk Factors

  • Problems with school or the law.
  • Breakup of romance, unexpected pregnancy.
  • A stressful family life. Having parents who are depressed or are substance abusers. A family history of suicide.
  • Loss or security. Fear of higher ups, group or gang.
  • Stress due to new situation; beginning new school, college or relocating to new community.
  • A serious illness or injury.
  • Financial pressures — or loss of job.
  • Pressure of overly high expectations to excel. Failing in school or failing to pass an important test.
  • Remorse of causing another person's pain; a broken romance, an accident that injured another person.


  • Listen, really listen, take time to let them talk. Let them know you are there for them and are really willing to help.
  • Take what is said seriously, don't laugh off his feelings... remember they may think things are hopeless.
  • Stay with the person if you feel they are in danger of self harm.
  • Don't argue, act judgmental or preach.
  • Find out if they have a plan. The more specific the plan, the greater the suicidal risk factor. Assist them in looking at alternatives and other options.
  • Keep calm and act calm but show concern and caring. Be genuine in your actions!
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