Know the Signs

People who have an increased risk of hurting themselves or others often show signs before an act of violence takes place. When you don’t know what to look for, it can be easy to miss signs, or dismiss them as unimportant, sometimes with tragic consequences. 

Here is a list of potential warning signs* that can signal an individual may be in crisis and/or need help:

  • Suddenly withdrawing from people and activities
  • Consistent bullying or intimidating others, or being bullied by others
  • Extreme mood or personality changes
  • Victim of constant social rejection
  • Talking about plans or actively making plans to harm themselves or others
  • Bringing a weapon to school - or threatening or talking about doing so
  • Bragging about or warning others about an upcoming act of violence
  • Recruiting others to join in a planned act of violence
  • Warning students to stay away from school or events
  • Expressing fascination with guns and/or school shootings
  • Expressing hopelessness about the future
  • Extreme, prolonged sadness or distress
  • Expressing or showing feelings of isolation
  • Bragging about access to guns

* NOTE: this list is not a comprehensive list of warning signs nor does exhibiting one of these signs indicate imminent violence. When concerned about seeing troubling behaviors, tell a trusted adult or call 911, if there is an immediate threat.

Learn more about the warning signs and when and how to speak up with our Say Something program, available at no-cost to middle and high schools nationwide.