Talks about suicide or death.

Children or adolescents may write or create pictures depicting or describing suicide/death.

Suggestive comments. If the student starts saying things like, "I won't have to worry about this much longer," or "Things will be different soon," it may not indicate optimism but intention to commit suicide.

Drug or alcohol abuse. Alcohol is implicated in over half of all suicides.

Putting things in order and "tying up loose ends." In children, it may take the form of cleaning their room (if it's not their habit), catching up on all their schoolwork, etc.

Giving away treasured objects.

Saying "I Love You" and good-bye.

Planning the suicide.

Some "accidental" dealths may be related to depression-related impulsivity or recklessness. And when there's a gun in the house, there's an increased risk of a suicide attempt.


If a depressed student suddenly seems much better or even euphoric, don't be so quick to breathe a sigh of relief. Having decided to kill themselves, the student may suddenly feel at peace or better, so the what may seem like improvement might a sign that a suicide attempt is more likely.

As confusing as this may initially seem, suicide is most likely to occur when it seems that the threat has passed.

For some people, it may be that they don't have the energy to kill themselves until the depression has lifted a bit, so as they start to come out of the depression, they may then kill themselves. Other students may -- once they start to come out of the depression -- look at what the depression has done to their academic standing or social relationships and feel overwhelmed.

© Copyright 2002. All rights reserved, Leslie E. Packer, Ph.D. This page last updated April 5, 2002. Disclaimer: All information is for informational purposes only and does not constitute advice for any specific student or child. Problems with this site? Contact: Webmaster