Incarceration is hard for everyone involved, and suicide is among the leading causes of death for incarcerated people while they are imprisoned. Preventing suicide is often possible and takes the efforts of many. In partnership with the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (NY DOCCS), we’d like to make sure you’re informed about the warning signs that indicate your incarcerated loved one may be contemplating suicide.

General signals people show that mean they may be at risk for suicide include: 

  • They stop activities they normally do (going to the yard, mess hall or a program).
  • They stop talking to people they normally do (family, friends or other incarcerated individuals).
  • They talk about giving up on life and feeling hopeless or helpless.
  • They talk about death or suicide.

The following are some examples of statements people might make that indicate they may be at risk for suicide:  

  • “I can’t take it anymore.”
  • “You are better off without me.”
  • “I don’t have anything to live for anymore.”
  • “I can’t hold it together anymore.”
  • “I feel like I am burden to you/my family/everyone.”
  • “I have a debt I can’t repay.”
  • “I’m in over my head.”
  • “I can’t get over the loss of my relationship.”
  • “I am giving away my commissary/radio/magazines.”

If you are worried that your incarcerated loved one may be considering self-harm or suicide, please contact the facility where your loved one is housed to share your concerns as soon as possible.

Every life is valuable; and by fostering a culture of care and compassion, we can all work together to help prevent suicide.


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