Safety Risks

Sometimes symptoms of psychosis can result in behaviours or actions that may place the person at risk for harm to self or others. For example, psychotic beliefs or paranoia may put a person in dangerous situations where their own or others’ safety can be compromised. 

Individuals with psychosis are rarely violent and, in fact, they are at much greater risk of causing harm to themselves than to others.

Psychosis can cause a person to feel threatened by others or believe he or she is being persecuted.  This may lead to fear, agitation and actions to protect themselves. Some examples of behaviours include: staying in room, locking doors, refusing/unable to eat, drink, or sleep, voicing the need to protect self and talking about conspiracies that people are out to harm them.  Strong delusions and hallucinations may cause a person to react unpredictably or even aggressively.  For more information about tips for dealing with aggression, click here.

Symptoms of psychosis can cause distress so severe that the person may consider suicide. Ideas, thoughts or feelings of self-harm or wanting to end life should always be taken seriously.

Actions that may be signs a person is considering suicide include:

  • Talking about wanting to kill themselves, or saying they wish they were dead
  • Looking for a way to kill themselves
  • Talking about a specific suicide plan
  • Feeling hopeless or having no reason to live
  • Feeling the need to escape from an intolerable situation
  • Not wanting to be a burden to others
listen to concerns

What to do:

  • It is important to stay calm and get help quickly.
  • If the person is suicidal do not leave them alone.
  • Be there to listen to the person’s concerns, show them that you love and care for them.
  • Helping them to reduce any stress that may be adding to their feelings.
  • Remain calm, confident and try and show a sense of control and safety for your loved one.
  • Share your concerns with your clinician so you can work together to come up with a plan to reduce risks.

If someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, call 1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433) available 24/7/365 throughout BC. Skilled volunteers will be able to assist you.  

If someone you know is crisis and you are not sure where to go for help, 310 Mental Health Support (310-6789 – no area code needed) is the toll-free access for crisis or mental health support, information and resources. It is available 24/7/365 throughout BC.