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.

IS PATH WARM

Ideation

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

Substance misuse

Increased or excessive substance use (alcohol or drugs).

Purposelessness

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

Anxiety

Anxiety, agitation; unable to sleep.

Trapped

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

Hopelessness

Hopelessness about the future.

Withdrawal

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

Anger

Rage, uncontrolled anger; seeking revenge.

Recklessness

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

Mood changes

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)