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10th Sep 2021

If you’re worried about someone in your life, these are the signs of suicide to listen and look out for

Ann Cronin

Brought to you by Pieta

Today, Friday 10 September, is World Suicide Prevention Day.

Pieta is spotlighting their Know the Signs of Suicide initiative, highlighting the key signs that might indicate someone is suicidal.

Since the beginning of the year, the Pieta crisis helpline has received over 27,000 calls relating to suicide, self-harm, and suicide bereavement, showing us just how important it is that we continue the conversation surrounding mental health and suicide.

In Ireland, the overall suicide rate for males is three times higher than for females.

GAA star Ray Connellan, Campaign Ambassador for Pieta’s Know the Signs of Suicide initiative, says there is still a negative stereotype that prevents men from speaking out.

“I just feel the world we live in lends itself to men being ‘tough’ and the old expression ‘man up’ feeds into stereotypes that men need to get up and get on with it, there’s no room to not be okay which shouldn’t be the case for anyone.

“Again, like with the conversations with young men, the GAA circles don’t lend themselves to being open and sensitive, so those conversations can be tough to bring up in that environment. I think we’re making progress, but there is still a lot to be done.”

Pieta’s Know the Signs of Suicide initiative is a great tool to use if you’re concerned about someone in your life. These are the signs you should listen or watch out for if you’re worried someone in your life might be thinking about suicide…

Signs to listen for:

  • If someone is talking or writing about hurting themselves, dying or saying they want to die
  • Talking about ways to die or having a suicide plan
  • Saying that they are ‘trapped’ or have no options in their life
  • Saying they have no purpose in their life, that they feel hopeless
  • Saying they feel like a burden to those around them

Signs to look out for:

  • Giving items away or saying goodbye to people
  • Becoming more inward-looking or withdrawing from friends and family
  • Changes in sleeping pattern – too much or too little sleep
  • Extreme emotions or dramatic change in mood
  • Increasing their use of drugs or alcohol

If someone opens up to you or you’re concerned someone might be suicidal, Pieta recommends the A.P.R. approach – Ask, Persuade, Refer.

Just like CPR, it can save a life.

Ray continues, “If you’re struggling to bring it up with someone, it will just take one brave moment. Pick a time when it’s comfortable and just be as honest as possible. And likewise, if you feel you’ve noticed a change in someone, be the one to bring it up. Make their life easier by opening the door to the chat.

Know The Signs of Suicide highlights key warning signs to look and listen out for and if you believe someone is considering suicide, the Ask, Persuade, Refer approach can help approach the conversation.”


If a loved one has opened up to you or you’ve noticed any of these signs, ask them directly if they are thinking about suicide or wanting to kill themselves. Talking to them openly and listening to what they have to say is one of the best things you can do.


Once you’ve asked the question, persuade them to seek help, or allow you to assist them in getting help. If you cannot persuade them, remember that Pieta’s 24/7 Crisis Helpline is open 24 hours day.


Following that, you can refer or guide them to Pieta. If you can, make the call for them or travel to the appointment with them.

“We need to just accept that mental health issues don’t discriminate and men are as likely if not more likely to suffer. We need to be able to openly discuss the topic with one another. It’s important to have awareness days like World Suicide Prevention Day to have open global conversations, it’s important to see a day dedicated to the commitment and focus on suicide prevention,” Ray says.

Pieta’s professional counsellors specialise in suicide prevention and tackling self-harm. The charity has centres all over Ireland and Pieta’s Freephone Crisis Helpline is open 24/7. All services are provided free of charge and no referral is needed. For more information and help visit

Brought to you by Pieta

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