Suicide risk factors and warning signs: What we’ve learned from the research

It’s important to understand that there are many potential suicide risk variables, the following are a subset of variables with strong empirical research support: Risk factors including a history of suicidal behaviors; suicidal thoughts; suicide preparation; Warning signs including severe substance abuse; impulsivity; critical relationship problems; severe health/pain problems; serious sleep problems and legal/financial crisis. See […]

A controlled examination of acute warning signs for suicide attempts among hospitalized patients

Background. Near-term risk factors for suicidal behavior, referred to as ‘warning signs’ (WS), distinguish periods of acute heightened risk from periods of lower risk within an individual. No prior published study has examined, using a controlled study design, a broad set of hypothesized WS for suicide attempt. This study addressed this gap through examination of […]

Under the surface: The role of covert cues in peer suicide risk referrals

Suicidal thoughts and behaviors are highly prevalent among adolescents, and peers are often the first, and sometimes only, people to know about youth suicidality. Since many adolescents do not directly disclose suicidal thoughts, school-based suicide prevention programs aim to train youth to recognize warning signs of suicide in their peers that serve as “cues” to […]

Suicide in children and young people: Can it happen without warning?

Background Parents bereaved by suicide often say the death of their loved one happened “out of the blue”. It is common for suicide in young people to be preceded by a number of indications of risk, including self-harm, the communication of suicidal ideas, and recent contact with services. We examined whether there is a group […]

Early evidence on the effects of regulators`suicidality warnings on SSRI prescriptions and suicide in children and adolescents

Objective: In 2003 and 2004, U.S. and European regulators issued public health warnings about a possible association between antidepressants and suicidal thinking and behavior. The authors assessed whether these warnings discouraged use of antidepressants in children and adolescents and whether they led to increases in suicide rates as a result of untreated depression. Method: The authors examined U.S. […]

Opportunities to intervene? “Warning signs” for suicide in the days before dying.

To validate warning signs for suicide, researchers interviewed 20 respondents, representing 17 suicides in Orleans Parish, Louisiana, about characteristics of the decedent in the year, month, and days preceding the death. Decedents did exhibit behaviors consistent with existing warning signs, but these were rarely new behaviors present 7 days prior to the suicide but not […]

Acute substance use as a warning sign for suicide attempts: A case-crossover examination of the 48 hours prior to a recent suicide attempt.

OBJECTIVE: The extent to which specific categories of acute substance use are short-term risk factors, or warning signs, for suicide attempts is unknown. The aim of the current study was to quantify the near-term effects of sole use and co-use of substances on medically attended suicide attempts. METHODS: The current study used a case-crossover design, […]

A mixed methods approach to identify cognitive warning signs for suicide attempts.

This study used a mixed methods approach to examine pathways to suicidal behavior by identifying cognitive warning signs that occurred within 1 day of a suicide attempt. Transcripts of cognitive therapy sessions from 35 patients who attempted suicide were analyzed using a modified grounded theory approach. Cognitive themes emerging from these transcripts included: state hopelessness, […]

Suicide warning signs in clinical practice.

This review discusses suicide warning signs in clinical practice and has three simple goals: 1) to help practitioners differentiate in a clinically meaningful fashion between warning signs and risk factors for suicide; 2) to articulate the link among warning signs for suicide, hopelessness, and intent to die; and 3) to assist practitioners in applying warning […]

Oklahoma Suicide Prevention Toolkit

The goal of this toolkit & training is to provide community advocates the necessary tools to develop & implement successful youth suicide prevention initiatives. Contents of the toolkit include: youth suicide prevention in Oklahoma; effective suicide prevention; youth suicide prevention strategies; getting organized; everyone has a role in youth suicide prevention; why youth participation?; community […]

Prevention of Suicidal Behaviors: a Task for all

In this editorial, the authors assert suicide is preventable & that everyone should be aware of the warning signs & how to respond to them. Prevention strategies on a societal level are also discussed. (2 refs.)

Life After Death: a Family’s Walk From A (Awful Death of Suicide) to Z (Zest for Living Again)

This book follows a family’s walk through the shadow of their loved one’s suicide, showing their struggle with grief & their eventual return to a zest for living through the help of their faith. The book was written after the author’s first husband died by suicide after struggling with a diagnosis of cancer.

Suicide Prevention for Military Families: What you Need to Know About Warning Signs and Getting Help

This pamphlet offers general information on warning signs of suicide & prevention strategies for family members of military personnel & veterans.

Police Suicide: an Executive’s Perspective (In: Suicide and Law Enforcement, edited by D C Sheehan & J I Warren)

Over the last 20 years, as researchers, police administrations & psychologists have focused on police stress, much effort has dealt with its negative manifestations: heart attacks, cardiovascular disease, premature death, digestive disturbances, ulcers, divorce, & substance abuse. By its nature, police suicide has been the subject of particular interest. That police suicide is a concern […]

Suicide Prevention Among Older Adults: a Guide for Family Members

This guide was designed for family members & other people who provide social support to older adults. The purpose of the guide is to help individuals recognize suicide risk factors & warning signs, & to know what to do if an older adult is at risk for suicide. JA

Suicide Prevention and Response Protocol Fall 2007


Preventing Suicide. a Public Health Issue That is Preventable


Suicides and Homicides (IN: Drug Abuse Deaths in Nine Cities: a Survey Report, by L A Gottschalk et al)

In two surveys of nine American cities, suicides made up about one-fourth & homicides about one-tenth of the cases involving drugs. Individuals who definitely died by suicide more often were female & somewhat older than the sample as a whole. Whites were overrepresented. A very high percentage of suicide victims were reported as emotionally depressed […]

Letters to the Editor

In this letter to the editor, Berman questions whether the conclusion reached in a study by Bryan & colleagues that the mnemonic IS PATH WARM interfered with the participants’ ability to learn warning signs of suicide is accurate due to the lack of a fair & reasonable test based on understanding the purpose of a […]

Job Performance: a Possible Safety Valve in Suicide

This presentation examined suicide among industrial workers & investigated some common factors that might be helpful in identifying potential suicide victims through job performance. The relevant literature was reviewed, talks were held with employee counsellors & industrial physicians, & the feasibility of using existing occupational programs to help identify & prevent suicide among industrial workers […]

Youthful Self-Destruction: Indicators of High and low Risk Victims

The findings of an investigation of all officially recorded cases of suicide among North Carolina youth, ages 10-18 years & 19-22 years, during 1972-1977 were reported in this presentation. There were 226 & 319 suicides in the two age groups, respectively. Individuals at either high or low risk were first identified in each category & […]

The Art of Conversation: a Guide to Talking, Listening and Reducing Stigma Surrounding Suicide.

This public information booklet discusses myths about suicide, suicide in Scotland, clues that may indicate someone is suicidal, & strategies for helping a person at risk. The booklet provides advice on how to start difficult conversations & active listening. A list of suicide prevention resources is also included.

Did you Know That… Psychology Works for Suicide Risk

This public information pamphlet discusses risk factors for suicide & how psychology can help in intervention, prevention, & postvention.