When should I take a suicide threat seriously?

There’s no way to tell if suicide threats will be acted on; sometimes the depressed person does not even know himself. There is no reliable way to predict suicide in advance. Therefore, all suicide threats must be taken seriously.

Find someone to stay with your suicidal loved one, and call his doctor and therapist. Intoxication from alcohol or illicit drugs greatly increases his risk of doing something impulsive, so it is best to take both away if possible. Take away guns and knives, and flush away any old, unused pills that could be used in a suicide attempt.

Some situations increase the risk of someone killing himself: If your loved one has attempted suicide before, the odds are greater that he will try again. If he has planned the way he intends to kill himself, then he is at higher risk of suicide, and if he is raging, panicking, irrational, illogical, hysterical, or paranoid, he may act without thinking. If your loved one is all alone, loneliness and lack of support can make it seem that no one cares what happens to him.

Some Suicide Warning Signs

• Stops being sad and starts to act nonchalant, uncaring, resigned, or distant
• Suddenly becomes quiet, secretive, or guarded
• Stops talking about getting well
• Begins to talk about how things would be without her
• Starts giving away prized possessions
• Seems to be saying good-bye to family and friends
• Collects pills, acquires a weapon, or talks about a place where suicide could take place
• Suddenly begins to make a will or final arrangements for death