Signs & Symptoms

Recognizing Signs of Depression

Depression and suicide can be scary topics to discuss, especially for young people who may have difficulty expressing their feelings. Most people who are considering suicide reveal their need for help through verbal and non-verbal messages.

Learn to recognize the following non-verbal warning signs of depression and suicide risk:

  • Abrupt change in personality: mood changes, irritability, agitation, and apathy
  • Change in behavior: poor school performance / attendance, change in routine
  • Change in sleeping pattern, insomnia, extreme difficulty, getting out of bed
  • Drug and alcohol use, increased risk-taking behavior, impulsivity
  • Fear of losing control, hurting self or others: thoughts or comments like "I don't know if I'm in control."
  • Feeling worthless, withdrawn, helpless, and overwhelmed: thoughts or comments like "Nobody cares."
  • Feelings of guilt, self-blame, self-hatred: thoughts or comments like "It's my fault. I hate myself."
  • Giving away personal possessions, putting affairs in order
  • In children, depression can be seen as agitation, hyperactivity, and restlessness
  • Isolation, loss of interest in friends, being alone: thoughts or comments like "Leave me alone."
  • Loss of hope for future, sense of futility: thoughts or comments like "Things will never get better."
  • Loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities: thoughts or comments like "I don't care anymore."
  • Marked anxiety over schoolwork, money, relationships, or illness
  • Preoccupation with death or morbid topics, ambivalence towards living
  • Pressure toward perfectionism, high self-criticism, extreme drive to succeed
  • Recent loss: through death, divorce, separation, job, finances, status, self-esteem
  • Suicidal gestures: taking pills, self-mutilation
  • Suicidal talk, plans, or statements: thoughts or comments like "I should just kill myself."

For further information about depression and suicide, please email the Youth Commission at 781-455-7518.