• Paul Radkowski

Suicide Risk Check

If you are engaging with this program because you’re concerned about someone you care about, regardless of whether it’s anxiety, depression or something else going on for that person, suicide threats should be taken seriously. Emergency services should be contacted if there is a risk.

Signs to look for;
  • A previous suicide attempt.

  • General talk of death or suicide.

  • Talking about a specific suicide plan, including the method, date, location.

  • Making a plan (i.e. drawing up a will, talking about final wishes).

  • Writing or drawing about suicide.

  • Giving away valued possessions.

  • Sudden change in behaviour (better or worse).

  • Withdrawal from friends and activities.

  • Increased use of alcohol or other drugs.

  • Recent loss (death, job, or relationship).

  • Feelings of hopelessness or helplessness.

Remember, there is no surefire list of warning signs.

Any one of these signs, by itself, does not necessarily mean a person is suicidal, but the more of these signs that are present the greater the risk. Also, a suicidal person may not display the signs on this list. It may be right to be concerned simply because someone's behaviour is out of character. Sudden shifts in actions or attitudes may alert loved ones to potential problems.

How you can help?
  • Ask, directly, if the person is thinking about suicide. Talking openly about suicide does not increase the risk. In fact, it can bring relief to someone who has been afraid to confide their suicidal thoughts.

  • Talk to the person in a non-judgmental way, and listen to them without becoming upset.

  • Let the person know you care and want to help.

  • Believe what the person says, and take all threats seriously.

  • Look into community resources, such as crisis lines and counselling services, that you can suggest to the person.

  • Never keep someone's suicidal feelings a secret. Tell someone who can help.

  • Take action if you feel someone is at immediate risk. If necessary, make contact with the police, emergency services or a hospital to ensure the person's safety.

NOTE: Sometimes the greatest risk for someone committing suicide is when they are actually

feeling better and have more energy after a severe depressive episode. When someone is in

the depths of severe depression, they may think or make plans of suicide, yet they often don’t

have the actual energy required to take their life. When they are coming out of a severe

depression, there is an accompaniment of more energy and, oftentimes, someone will

resolve at this point to take the action of taking their life for fear of slipping back into their


What if you feel like killing yourself?
  • Tell someone right away.

  • Develop a safety plan with family and friends to make sure that you’re not alone.

  • Don’t use alcohol and/or drugs.

  • Have regularly scheduled health care appointments and keep them.

  • Keep involved in things you like to do.

  • Talk about how you’re feeling.

Inward Strong is not an emergency or crisis service. If you are in crisis, you should call 911 or go to the nearest hospital emergency room.