This article on Epainassist.com has been reviewed by a medical professional, as well as checked for facts, to assure the readers the best possible accuracy.

We follow a strict editorial policy and we have a zero-tolerance policy regarding any level of plagiarism. Our articles are resourced from reputable online pages. This article may contains scientific references. The numbers in the parentheses (1, 2, 3) are clickable links to peer-reviewed scientific papers.

The feedback link “Was this Article Helpful” on this page can be used to report content that is not accurate, up-to-date or questionable in any manner.

This article does not provide medical advice.


Spotting the Red Flags for Suicidal Risks & Who Are Most Likely To Commit Suicide?

Suicide refers to the act of taking one’s own life. It is not possible to see what any person is feeling inside, which is what makes it so challenging to identify when someone is going through a rough time and having suicidal thoughts. However, there can be many outward warning signs that indicate that a person might be thinking about committing suicide. Here are some ways in which you can spot the red flags for suicidal risks.

Spotting the Red Flags for Suicidal Risks & Who Are Most Likely To Commit Suicide?

Red Flags For Suicidal Risks

Here are some of the potential red flags or warning signs for suicide:(1, 2, 3, 4, 5)

  • Long-lasting severe sadness or depression, moodiness, and unexpected and violent rage.(6, 7)
  • Feelings of deep hopelessness about the future and having very little expectation about the situation improving.(8, 9, 10)
  • Severe sleeping problems, including an inability to sleep for several days.(11, 12, 13)
  • Dealing with a divorce, separation, or breakup of a long-term relationship.(14, 15)
  • Loss of job, money, home, self-esteem, or status. A major and sudden life crisis like this may be a trigger for a suicide attempt. Diagnosis of a major illness, loss of job, home, or serious financial problems can push a person towards suicide.(16, 17)
  • Alcohol or drug abuse.(18, 19, 20, 21)
  • Mental health condition.(22, 23, 24)
  • Withdrawing from the social circle. Choosing to be alone and making extraordinary efforts to avoid friends and taking part in social activities. These are also possible signs of depression, which is one of the leading causes of suicide. This can also include the loss of pleasure in hobbies or activities that the person enjoyed in the past.
  • Sudden change in personality or appearance. A person who is contemplating suicide may display a change in behavior or attitude, such as suddenly speaking or moving with unusual slowness or speed. Furthermore, the person may suddenly show very less concern about how they look and their overall appearance.
  • They may exhibit dangerous or self-harming behavior. Potentially harmful behavior such as reckless driving, increased use of alcohol or drugs, practicing unsafe sex, and other such behaviors may be a red flag that the person no longer has any concern for their life.
  • It is important to know that a person who is thinking of committing suicide may start to put their personal things and business in order. This may include visiting family members and friends, making a will, giving away personal things, and even cleaning up their home or room. Some people may even start writing notes for their family and friends before committing suicide. Some people may buy poison or firearms.
  • Some people may even start threatening or talking openly about ending their life. Nearly 50 to 75 percent of people who are thinking about suicide actually do give a warning sign to their close friends or family members. While it is never an outright open threat, it is usually included in their talks. You may find that they are talking an unusual amount about life after death, how no one will notice they are gone, or even about general death. However, of course, not everyone who is considering suicide will talk about it. And also, not everyone who threatens with suicide will actually follow through with it. However, every threat of suicide needs to be taken seriously.

Another unique sign that a person might be contemplating suicide can be the onset of sudden calmness. If you find them suddenly becoming calm, especially after a period of moodiness or depression can also be a huge sign that the person has decided to go ahead and end it all.

Who Are Most Likely To Commit Suicide?

In today’s world, suicide rates are the highest among young adults, teenagers, and the elderly. Surprisingly, white men over the age of 65 years are known to have the highest rate of suicide.(25, 26)

Suicide rates are also found to be significantly higher in the following:

  • People who have tried to commit suicide in the past.
  • Older adults who have lost a spouse.
  • People with a history of suicide in the family.
  • People with a history of emotional, sexual, or physical abuse.
  • People with a friend or colleague who has committed suicide.
  • People who are prone to violent outbursts or impulsive behavior.
  • People with long-term disability, pain, or terminal illness.
  • People who have recently been released from a psychiatric hospital. The time following the release is usually a very difficult period of transition for such people.
  • People in certain professions like health care providers and police officers.
  • People with alcohol or substance abuse problems.

Statistics show that women are nearly three times more likely to try suicide as compared to men. However, men are much more likely to go through with the act of suicide than women.(27, 28)

Conclusion: Is It Possible To Prevent Suicide?

It is not possible to prevent suicide all the time. However, the risks of suicide can certainly be reduced if there is a timely intervention. Research has shown that the best way to try to prevent suicide is by being aware of the risk factors and being alert to any red flags, such as signs of substance abuse, depression, and any mental disorders.

Recognizing the warning signs for suicide and staging an intervention before the person is able to go through with the act.

If you know someone who is exhibiting any of the warning signs of suicide, don’t be afraid to ask them if they are depressed, feeling angry, taking drugs, or thinking about suicide. You can also recommend that they consult a therapist or doctor for the treatment of depression or other medical conditions.


  1. Schnyder, U., Valach, L., Bichsel, K. and Michel, K., 1999. Attempted suicide: Do we understand the patients’ reasons?. General hospital psychiatry, 21(1), pp.62-69.
  2. Jobes, D.A. and Mann, R.E., 1999. Reasons for living versus reasons for dying: Examining the internal debate of suicide. Suicide and Life‐Threatening Behavior, 29(2), pp.97-104.
  3. Boergers, J., Spirito, A. and Donaldson, D., 1998. Reasons for adolescent suicide attempts: Associations with psychological functioning. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 37(12), pp.1287-1293.
  4. Fegg, M., Kraus, S., Graw, M. and Bausewein, C., 2016. Physical compared to mental diseases as reasons for committing suicide: a retrospective study. BMC palliative care, 15(1), pp.1-6.
  5. Van Orden, K.A., Wiktorsson, S., Duberstein, P., Berg, A.I., Fässberg, M.M. and Waern, M., 2015. Reasons for attempted suicide in later life. The American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 23(5), pp.536-544.
  6. Sibold, J., Edwards, E., Murray-Close, D. and Hudziak, J.J., 2015. Physical activity, sadness, and suicidality in bullied US adolescents. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 54(10), pp.808-815.
  7. Heinz, A., Catunda, C., van Duin, C. and Willems, H., 2020. Suicide prevention: Using the number of health complaints as an indirect alternative for screening suicidal adolescents. Journal of affective disorders, 260, pp.61-66.
  8. De Leo, D. and Ormskerk, S.C., 1991. Suicide in the elderly: General characteristics. Crisis: The Journal of Crisis Intervention and Suicide Prevention.
  9. Mendonca, J.D. and Holden, R.R., 1996. Are all suicidal ideas closely linked to hopelessness?. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, 93(4), pp.246-251.
  10. Kirby, M., Bruce, I., Coakley, D., Radic, A. and Lawlor, B.A., 1997. Hopelessness and suicidal feelings among the community dwelling elderly in Dublin. Irish Journal of Psychological Medicine, 14(4), pp.124-127.
  11. Bjørngaard, J.H., Bjerkeset, O., Romundstad, P. and Gunnell, D., 2011. Sleeping problems and suicide in 75,000 Norwegian adults: a 20 year follow-up of the HUNT I study. Sleep, 34(9), pp.1155-1159.
  12. Gunnell, D., Chang, S.S., Tsai, M.K., Tsao, C.K. and Wen, C.P., 2013. Sleep and suicide: an analysis of a cohort of 394,000 Taiwanese adults. Social psychiatry and psychiatric epidemiology, 48(9), pp.1457-1465.
  13. McCall, W.V., 2011. Insomnia is a risk factor for suicide—what are the next steps?. Sleep, 34(9), pp.1149-1150.
  14. Kposowa, A.J., 2003. Divorce and suicide risk. Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, 57(12), pp.993-993.
  15. Stack, S., 1990. New micro-level data on the impact of divorce on suicide, 1959-1980: A test of two theories. Journal of Marriage and the Family, pp.119-127.
  16. Coope, C., Donovan, J., Wilson, C., Barnes, M., Metcalfe, C., Hollingworth, W., Kapur, N., Hawton, K. and Gunnell, D., 2015. Characteristics of people dying by suicide after job loss, financial difficulties and other economic stressors during a period of recession (2010–2011): A review of coroners׳ records. Journal of Affective Disorders, 183, pp.98-105.
  17. Guldin, M.B., Ina Siegismund Kjaersgaard, M., Fenger‐Grøn, M., Thorlund Parner, E., Li, J., Prior, A. and Vestergaard, M., 2017. Risk of suicide, deliberate self‐harm and psychiatric illness after the loss of a close relative: a nationwide cohort study. World Psychiatry, 16(2), pp.193-199.
  18. Pompili, M., Serafini, G., Innamorati, M., Dominici, G., Ferracuti, S., Kotzalidis, G.D., Serra, G., Girardi, P., Janiri, L., Tatarelli, R. and Sher, L., 2010. Suicidal behavior and alcohol abuse. International journal of environmental research and public health, 7(4), pp.1392-1431.
  19. Rossow, I. and Amundsen, A., 1995. Alcohol abuse and suicide: A 40‐year prospective study of Norwegian conscripts. Addiction, 90(5), pp.685-691.
  20. Chatterji, P., Dave, D., Kaestner, R. and Markowitz, S., 2004. Alcohol abuse and suicide attempts among youth. Economics & Human Biology, 2(2), pp.159-180.
  21. Kim, H.M., Smith, E.G., Stano, C.M., Ganoczy, D., Zivin, K., Walters, H. and Valenstein, M., 2012. Validation of key behaviourally based mental health diagnoses in administrative data: suicide attempt, alcohol abuse, illicit drug abuse and tobacco use. BMC health services research, 12(1), pp.1-9.
  22. Qin, P., 2011. The impact of psychiatric illness on suicide: differences by diagnosis of disorders and by sex and age of subjects. Journal of psychiatric research, 45(11), pp.1445-1452.
  23. Windfuhr, K. and Kapur, N., 2011. Suicide and mental illness: a clinical review of 15 years findings from the UK National Confidential Inquiry into Suicide. British Medical Bulletin, 100(1), pp.101-121.
  24. Allebeck, P. and Allgulander, C., 1990. Suicide among young men: psychiatric illness, deviant behaviour and substance abuse. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, 81(6), pp.565-570.
  25. Robins, L.N., West, P.A. and Murphy, G.E., 1977. The high rate of suicide in older white men: A study testing ten hypotheses. Social psychiatry, 12(1), pp.1-20.
  26. Schmutte, T., O’Connell, M., Weiland, M., Lawless, S. and Davidson, L., 2009. Stemming the tide of suicide in older white men: a call to action. American journal of men’s health, 3(3), pp.189-200.
  27. Curtin, S.C., Warner, M. and Hedegaard, H., 2016. Suicide rates for females and males by race and ethnicity: United States, 1999 and 2014.
  28. Navaneelan, T., 2012. Suicide rates: An overview.
Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:September 23, 2022

Recent Posts

Related Posts