Common Suicide Risk Factors

  • Suicide risk factors vary from person to person and are not always the cause of a suicide attempt
  • Community factors, relationship factors and individual factors can all impact thoughts of suicide
  • Risk factors should not be confused with signs of suicide because people can have these factors and not be suicidal

The Risk Factors of Suicide

There are copious reasons as to why a person feels the need to end their own life, but there have been several suicide risk factors that are common in people who commit or attempt to commit suicide.

According to, common risk factors for suicide are as follows:

  • Family history of suicide
  • Family history of child maltreatment
  • History of mental disorders, particularly clinical depression
  • History of alcohol and substance abuse
  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Impulsive or aggressive tendencies
  • Cultural and religious beliefs (e.g., belief that suicide is noble resolution of a personal dilemma)
  • Local epidemics of suicide
  • Isolation, a feeling of being cut off from other people
  • Barriers to accessing mental health treatment
  • Loss
  • Physical illness
  • Easy access to lethal methods
  • Unwillingness to seek help because of the stigma attached to mental health and substance abuse disorders or to suicidal thoughts

Suicidal Risk Factors versus Warning Signs

Suicide Risk Factors

There are many suicide risk factors you should look out for in your loved ones.

Suicidal risk factors often are confused with suicidal warnings. Suicidal warnings are the precursors to a person committing or attempting to commit suicide, risk factors are the circumstances in life that could lead to a person beginning to think about suicide as an option, which would then lead to the warning signs.

Common warning signs of suicide are when a person:

  • Threatens to hurt or kill themself or talks about wanting to hurt or kill themself
  • Looks for ways to end their life
  • Talks about death, dying, or suicide
  • Acts reckless or engages in dangerous activities out of the blue
  • Increases their alcohol or drug use
  • Withdraws from their friends and family

Ways to Buffer Suicidal Behavior

If a person is feeling suicidal or exhibits any suicidal warnings, they should find a person to talk to about their feelings. Socialization is a main key to a healthy mentality versus isolation which can make people feel alone and can worsen emotional turmoil. Easy access to medical care and support from friends and family can help a person going through a hard time to overcome their suicidal thoughts and feelings.

Individuals who have increased their drug or alcohol intake should seek medical attention for their substance abuse condition in order to receive the clarity to overcome their suicidal thoughts. Drugs and alcohol heavily influence suicidal thoughts and could lead to a person making an irrational decision too quickly.

If an individual who is having suicidal thoughts does not have a trusted person to talk to they can visit their local emergency room or a call a suicide hotline to receive the help they deserve. Life’s circumstances can lead to suicide risk factors but suicidal thoughts are more common than most people think and help is always available for those who seek it out.


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