Warning Signs

Do you recognize stressors and symptoms that lead to firefighter suicide?  (Article from Everyone Goes Home)

People who are in danger of taking their own lives may try to reach out to others - sometimes directly, sometimes indirectly. Rarely will at-risk individuals immediately volunteer the information that they are thinking of harming themselves. Instead they might exhibit some of the following warning signs:

  • Talking about suicide, death, or preoccupation with dying. Might say, “I wish I were dead” or “People would be better off if I am not around” or “Soon you won’t have to worry about me” or “I just can’t take it anymore. I am done.”
  • Has a suicidal plan and the means to carry it through (note: many attempts, especially in youth are impulsive. Thus, absence of a plan is not evidence of absence of risk)
  • Trouble eating or sleeping (sleeping all the time, unable to sleep at all, not able to eat or overeating)
  • Intensity of distress and agitation accompanied by depression.
  • Significant changes in behavior and/or personality
  • Withdrawing from family and friends
  • Loss of interest in activities, work, school, hobbies, or social interactions
  • Deteriorating physical appearance
  • Giving away prized possessions and saying goodbye
  • Previous suicide attempts
  • Increased drug and/or alcohol use
  • Statements about hopelessness, or worthlessness or feeling like a burden to others
  • Taking unnecessary risks
  • Sudden happiness or calmness following a depressed mood
  • Obsession with suicidal means (guns, knives, hanging materials)
  • Problems in school or work performance
  • Chronic pain or frequent complaints of physical symptoms
  • An inability to concentrate, trouble remembering things
  • Stockpiling medications
  • Buying a gun
  • Taking a sudden interest or losing interest in religion
  • Getting ones affairs in order - paying off debt, getting a will, getting life insurance
  • Scheduling medical appointments for vague symptom