Suicide is the act of intentionally causing one’s own death. There’s no single cause for suicide.
Not all people who die by suicide have been diagnosed with a mental illness and not all people with a mental illness attempt to end their lives by suicide.
There is a difference between risk factors and warning signs.
These indicate that a suicidal crisis has already begun
- Talking about wanting to die or to kill oneself
- Looking for a way to kill oneself
- Talking about feeling hopeless or having no reason to live
- Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain
- Talking about being a burden to others
- Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs
- Acting anxious or agitated; behaving recklessly
- Sleeping too little or too much
- Withdrawing or feeling isolated
- Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge
- Displaying extreme mood swings
Risk factors are characteristics or conditions that increase the chance that a person may try to take their life.
1. Health Factors
- Alcohol and substance abuse problems
- Bipolar disorder
- Personality traits of aggression, mood changes and poor relationships
- Conduct disorder
- Anxiety disorders
- Serious or chronic health
- Chronic pain
- Traumatic brain injury
2. Environmental Factors
- Access to lethal means including firearms, pesticides and poisonous drugs
- Stressful life events, like rejection, harassment, divorce, financial crisis, relationship problems or unemployment etc
- Exposure to another person’s suicide, or to graphic or sensationalized accounts of suicide
3. Historical Factors
- Previous attempts to kill oneself
- Childhood abuse, neglect or trauma
- Family history of suicide attempts
- History of self-harm
- Recent hospitalization
- Cultural beliefs that support suicide
How to get help
If you or a loved one experiences any risk factors, reach out to a mental health professional for help. With knowledge and prevention, we can help those struggling with suicidal thinking find treatment, hope, and healing.
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