Suicide: Risk Factors


Research has found that about 90% of individuals who die by suicide experience mental illness. But mental illness is only one of the risk factors associated with suicide. There are a number of other things, all important to recognize, that may put a person at risk of suicide.

The following list is not comprehensive, meaning it is not necessarily a list of “all” possible risk factors. Nor is it a list of necessary conditions. A person may have just one or two of the following risk factors, or none, and still be at risk. But based on what is known, the following list does include some of the things that may put a person at risk:

  • A family history of suicide.
  • Substance abuse. Drugs and alcohol can result in mental highs and lows that exacerbate suicidal thoughts.
  • Intoxication. More than one in three people who die from suicide are found to be currently under the influence.
  • Access to firearms.
  • A serious or chronic medical illness.
  • Gender. Although more women than men attempt suicide, men are four times more likely to die by suicide.
  • A history of trauma or abuse.
  • Prolonged stress.
  • Isolation.
  • Age. People under age 24 or above age 65 are at a higher risk for suicide.
  • A recent tragedy or loss.
  • Agitation and sleep deprivation.

Get more information at the NAMI National Web Site.

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