· Threatening suicide, an increased interest in death and dying, expressing a strong wish to die (always treat a suicide threat as a crisis)
· Observable signs of serious depression, including: unrelenting low mood; pessimism; hopelessness; desperation; anxiety, psychic pain, and inner tension; withdrawal; sleep problems (either too much or too little); abnormal food intake (either too much or too little); pronounced weight loss or gain
· Increased alcohol and/or other drug use
· Behavior that is out of character, including impulsiveness or unnecessary risk-taking
· A sudden and unexpected change to a cheerful attitude (after a depression), especially when the person is on antidepressants
· Making a plan: making a will, giving away prized possessions, taking out insurance, saying goodbye, sudden or impulsive purchase of a firearm, obtaining other means of killing oneself such as poisons or medications
· Don't be afraid to ask your loved one if they're suicidal. Be direct. Be open, supportive, and non-judgmental.
· If the answer is yes, be open, supportive, and non-judgmental (e.g., avoid phrases like, "that's selfish," or "…but you have so many reasons to live"). Tell them how much you care about them. Above all, LISTEN. Often, simply acknowledging suicidal feelings is enough to substantially decrease risk of suicide.
· Seek appropriate help. Allow your loved one to give input on what might work best for them. Help them make a recovery plan. If they are badly hurt or in danger, call 911.
If you feel you are in crisis, don't hesitate to ask for help. Talk to a friend or family member, or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. They are confidential, to a point, but may contact authorities if they think you're in immediate danger to yourself. If you're not in the U.S., click here for a link to crisis centers around the world.
· This is How it Feels: A Memoir of Attempting Suicide and Finding Life - Craig Miller
· Haldol and Hyacinths: A Bipolar Life - Melody Moezzi
· Out of the Whirlpool: A Memoir of Remorse and Reconciliatn - Sue Wiygul Martin
· Eight Stories Up: An Adolescent Chooses Hope Over Suicide - DeQuincy Lezine
· An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness - Kay Redfield Jamison
· Loud in the House of Myself: Memoir of a Strange Girl - Stacy Pershall
· The Center Cannot Hold: My Journey Through Madness - Elyn Saks