Who is at Risk of Suicide?

Suicide 2

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.

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

Risk factors are characteristics or conditions that increase the chance that a person may try to take their life.

1. Health Factors

  • Depression
  • Alcohol and substance abuse problems
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Schizophrenia
  • 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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