Preventing suicide: Warning signs and how to help

If you need immediate assistance call 9-1-1 or go to your nearest hospital. If you need emotional support, help is available.

It's important to get help if you or someone you know is going through a crisis or thinking about suicide. You're not alone. Learn about the resources available to you.

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Warning signs of suicide

Warning signs that might suggest someone is at risk of suicide include:

If you or someone you know may be at risk of suicide, seek help immediately. Call 9-1-1 or get help from a crisis centre near you.

Other signs and behaviours that might suggest that someone is at risk of suicide include:

  • withdrawal from family, friends or activities
  • feeling like you have no purpose in life or reason for living
  • increasing substance use, like drugs, alcohol and inhalants
  • feeling trapped or that there's no other way out of a situation
  • feeling hopeless about the future or feeling like life will never get better
  • talking about being a burden to someone or about being in unbearable pain
  • anxiety or significant mood changes, such as anger, sadness or helplessness

Get help

The Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention provides a list of crisis centres across Canada. Crisis centres are there for people who are reaching out for help.

Kids Help Phone and the First Nations and Inuit Hope for Wellness Help Line are also available.

How to help someone in crisis

Talking honestly, responsibly and safely about suicide can help you determine if someone needs help. If you want to help someone in crisis, try:

  • listening and showing concern
    • showing concern can be an immediate way to help someone
    • listening won't increase the risk of suicide and it may save a life
  • talking with them and reassuring them that they're not alone
  • letting them know you care
  • connecting them with a:
    • crisis line
    • counsellor
    • trusted person (neighbour, friend, family member or Elder)
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