10 Ways to Recognize Suicidal Thoughts in a Loved One

In 2013 there were 41,149 suicides in the United States. That statistic is both eye-opening and frightening, especially when you have a loved one who you believe may be having suicidal thoughts. There are many signs and behaviors that people who are considering self-harm may exhibit. Below are ten of the most common warning signs that may indicate someone is experiencing suicidal thoughts.

    1. If a loved one begins withdrawing from friends and family and wants to be alone all the time, there may be a problem.
    2. If an individual talks about dying, suicide, or hurting themselves, this should always be taken seriously. Never ignore this sign.
    3. If a person seems to be preoccupied with violence, death, or dying, this may indicate that they have considered self-harm or suicide.
  • If a loved one is suddenly obsessed with getting everything in order, such as a will, giving away important possessions, or making arrangements for members of the family, they may be having thoughts of suicide.
  • If an individual seems to have feelings of self-hatred, guilt, or worthlessness, or is making statements such as, “You would all be better off if I wasn’t here,” this is a cause for concern.


  1. It is definitely a serious issue if someone starts to show self-destructive behaviors. This may include an initiation of or increase in drug or alcohol use, engaging in unsafe sex, or reckless driving, among other behaviors. Remember that drug use includes prescription drugs such as those for chronic pain in addition to illicit drugs such as heroin and cocaine. Prescription drugs can be just as dangerous as illicit substances, leading to addiction, accidental overdose, and an increase in mental health symptoms when someone is suffering from an illness such as depression.
  2. If an individual seeks out firearms, knives, pills, or other dangerous objects, they could potentially use these objects to harm themselves. Watch out for such behaviors if they are not typically interested in guns, knives, and the like.

If someone is expressing that they have no hope for their future or that they don’t believe things can ever get better, there is a problem. While it may not always point to suicidal thoughts, these beliefs almost always indicate an underlying mental illness such as depression or bipolar disorder.