Suicide Prevention

Suicide Risk Factors

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While no single risk factor predicts suicidal behaviour, it is helpful to be aware of circumstances that could contribute to being suicidal.

A combination of these factors that would contribute to increased vulnerability of risk.

  • Previous attempts
  • Having a family member or a person close to them die by suicide
  • Exposure to family violence, including physical or sexual abuse
  • Substantial drug or alcohol use
  • Eating disorders
  • Significant life transitions (e.g. death of a partner, job loss)
  • Mental health diagnoses (e.g. bipolar or other depressive disorders, schizophrenia, borderline personality disorder)
  • Serious physical illness
  • Severe and long-lasting pain
  • Living with few or no significant social contacts
  • Feeling of being a burden to others
  • Feelings of hopelessness and helplessness
  • Few or no significant sources for stress management and relief

Suicide Warning Signs

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In addition to recognizing a pattern of risk factors in someone you know, it also helps to pay attention to warning signs—indicators, messages or behaviours that could be suicidal communications.

  • Threatening to hurt or kill him/herself, or talking of wanting to hurt or kill him/herself; and/or, looking for ways to kill him/herself by seeking access to firearms, available pills or other means; and/or, talking or writing about death, dying or suicide, when these actions are out of the ordinary.
  • Saying they have no hope, feel trapped or feel there is no point in "going on".
  • Drinking more alcohol or using drugs, including prescription medicines.
  • No longer wanting to see people and spending increased time alone.
  • No longer taking care of themselves or following medical advice.
  • Giving away their things and/or hurrying to complete a will or settling other financial affairs.