RISK FACTORS

Risk factors are characteristics or conditions that increase the chance that a person may try to take his or her life.  The more risk factors there are, the higher the risk.

 

(a)  Health factors:

 

(i)  Mental health conditions, such as:

 

•  Depression;

•  Bipolar (manic-depressive) disorder;

•  Schizophrenia;

•  Borderline or antisocial personality disorder;

•  Conduct disorder;

•  Psychotic disorders, or psychotic symptoms in the context of any other disorder; and/or

•  Anxiety disorder.

 

(ii)  Substance abuse disorders.

 

(iii)  Serious or chronic health condition and/or pain.

 

(b)  Environmental factors:

 

•  Contagion (i.e., exposure to another person's suicide, or to graphic or sensationalized accounts of suicide);

•  Access to lethal means, such as firearms and drugs;

•  Prolonged stress factors, such as harassment, bullying, relationship problems and/or unemployment; and/or

•  Stressful life events, such as the death of a loved one, divorce and/or job loss.

 

(c)  Historical factors:

 

•  Family history or suicide;

•  Family history of mental health conditions;

•  Previous suicide attempts; and/or

•  Childhood abuse.

 

* [Courtesy of American Foundation for Suicide Prevention]

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