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:
• Bipolar (manic-depressive) disorder;
• 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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