POLICE ASSOCIATION OF NOVA SCOTIA 55 • Supportive and effective medical and mental health care • Policies in workplaces and schools that support good mental health For a more detailed list of risk and protective factors, please visit the Canadian Association For Suicide Prevention website. Warning Signs Few suicides occur without warning. Most people who die by suicide indicate to others in some way that they were at risk. We refer to these ways of telling as ‘warning signs’. Use the IS PATH WARM acronym to identify the common warning signs for suicide. If someone is demonstrating any of these signs, they may be at risk: • Ideation- Talking about death or suicide, or making direct statements such as “wish I was dead” or “I am going to kill myself” • Substance Abuse - Increased use of drugs or alcohol • Purposelessness - Feeling no purpose in life • Anxiety- Experiencing excessive anxiety • Trapped- Indicating feeling trapped in a particular situation or in life in general • Hopelessness / Helplessness - Indicating that nothing will change or get better • Withdrawal - Wanting to be alone or avoiding social contact • Anger - Constant irritableness or sudden outbursts of anger/aggression • Recklessness - Engaging in risky or selfdestructive behaviour • Mood Changes - Sudden and dramatic fluctuations in mood Other common warning signs and behaviours to consider are: • Giving away valued possessions (e.g., a favorite book or beloved pet) • Change in normal routine, including eating and sleeping patterns • Putting affairs in order suddenly (e.g., finalizing insurance or dealing with debt) • Saying goodbye to people as though it were a final goodbye • Loss of interest in hobbies and activities that were once enjoyed • Lack of self-care • Previous suicide attempt(s) Reach Out! If you notice one or more of these risk factors and/or warning signs, reach out and ask that person about suicide. If you are uncomfortable asking this question, you can connect them with someone who can. Your suspicion about suicide does not need to be more than a feeling or a worry. We know that it is better to ask directly about suicide rather than not say anything at all. For more information, please connect with the Nova Scotia Mental Health Mobile Crisis Team (NS MHMCT) please call 902- 429-8167 or 1-888-429-8167 (Toll Free). Source: Nova Scotia Strategic Framework to Address Suicide. Provincial Strategic Framework Development Committee. RISK FACTORS & WARNING SIGNS