The feelings of depression, anger, guilt and hopelessness sometimes produce definite danger signals.
These signals are often recognized because the suicidal person is observed:
Talking about or hinting at suicide.
Obsession with death, sad music or sad poetry. Themes of death in letters or art work.
Making specific plans to commit suicide and access to lethal means such as buying a gun.
Hallucinations or Delusions.
Although these are warning signs of suicide, they can be symptoms of other problems. Therefore, it is
necessary to ensure that the chaplain or referral services are made aware of any hallucinations or
A hallucination is an apparent perception of a sight or sound that is not actually present.
Persons who are having hallucinations imagine that they have seen or heard something that is
actually not present, e.g. Banquo's Ghost in Shakespeare's play Hamlet.
A delusion is a false persistent belief or opinion that some people maintain despite evidence to
the contrary (e.g., delusions of grandeur). Delusions can result from a deception, a
misconception or mental disorder. E.g. The classic example of a delusion is someone who thinks
that he is Napoleon.
Disorientation or confusion.
If you observe any clues other than direct verbal ones which indicate an increased potential for suicide,
ask the client about thoughts of hurting or killing himself/herself.
If any suicidal ideas are discussed with you, determine whether the person has a suicide plan. You need
to find out:
Method -- the more lethal the method, the greater the risk.