Someone I Know Needs Help

… life and death forces were battling it out, and this battle can continue up to very near the time of death, leaving people confused about why someone would do something life-affirming one moment and then die the next. The only way out of this confusion is to recognize the deep ambivalence that characterizes even the most suicidal person.

Thomas Joiner

Identifying the warning signs of suicide

If you’re here you are concerned that someone you know and care about is at risk of suicide. A widely used mnemonic–IS PATH WARM* can help identify the warning signs of suicide.


Threatening to hurt or kill self; looking for ways to die.

Increased or excessive substance use (alcohol or drugs).

No reason for living; no sense of purpose in life.

Anxiety, agitation; unable to sleep.

Feeling trapped – like there’s no way out; resistance to help.

Hopelessness about the future.

Withdrawing from friends, family and society; sleeping all the time.

Rage, uncontrolled anger; seeking revenge.

Acting recklessly or engaging in risky activities, seemingly without thinking.

Dramatic mood changes.


You can ask for help too

Helplines aren’t just for people in crisis. If you are feeling overwhelmed or don’t know where to start, calling a helpline can help you engage with the person at risk of suicide and connect you to resources in your area.

Resources and References

* American Association of Suicidology

** Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention (CASP)