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Risk Factors Associated With Warning Signs


Research has found that 46% of people who die by suicide had a known mental health condition. Several other things may put a person at risk of suicide, including:

  • A family history of suicide

  • Substance use disorder. Drugs and alcohol can create mental highs and lows that worsen suicidal thoughts.

  • Intoxication. More than 1 in 3 people who die from suicide are under the influence of alcohol at the time of death.

  • Access to lethal weapons

  • A serious or chronic medical illness

  • Gender. Although more women than men attempt suicide, men are nearly 4x more likely to die by suicide.

  • A history of trauma or abuse

  • Prolonged stress

  • A recent tragedy or loss

  • Grief

  • Sexual orientation

  • Previous suicide attempts

  • Mental illness

  • Social Anxiety

  • Elder abuse

  • Untreated diagnosis

  • Feelings of being a burden to others

  • Feeling trapped

  • Impulsive or aggressive tendencies

  • Job problems or loss

  • Social isolation

  • Criminal problems

  • Financial problems

  • Serious illness

  • Lack of access to behavioral care and medicine

  • Adverse childhood experiences such as child abuse and neglect

  • Stigma associated with mental illness or help-seeking

  • Talking about suicide — for example, making statements such as "I'm going to kill myself," "I wish I were dead" or "I wish I hadn't been born"

  • Getting the means to take your own life, such as buying a gun or stockpiling pills

  • Withdrawing from social contact and wanting to be left alone

  • Having mood swings, such as being emotionally high one day and deeply discouraged the next

  • Being preoccupied with death, dying or violence

  • Feeling trapped or hopeless about a situation

  • Increasing use of alcohol or drugs

  • Changing normal routine, including eating or sleeping patterns

  • Doing risky or self-destructive things, such as using drugs or driving recklessly

  • Giving away belongings or getting affairs in order when there is no other logical explanation for doing this

  • Saying goodbye to people as if they won't be seen again

  • Developing personality changes or being severely anxious or agitated, particularly when experiencing some of the warning signs listed above

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