Risk Factors


What is a Risk Factor?

Suicide is a complex behavior that is usually caused by a combination of risk factors in the presence of negative life events. The first step in preventing suicide is to identify and understand the risk factors. A risk factor is anything that increases the likelihood that a person will harm himself or herself. However, having these risk factors does not always mean that suicide will occur.

–Adapted from the National Youth Violence Prevention Resource Center

Most Significant Risk Factors:

  • Depression
  • Substance Abuse
  • Previous Suicide Attempt

Other Important Risk Factors:

  • History of mental disorders (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Anxiety, Depression)
  • Self-injury
  • History of alcohol and substance abuse
  • Family history of suicide and/or child abuse
  • Loss (death of a loved one, divorce, etc.)
  • Physical illness
  • Easy access to firearms
  • Being Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered or Questioning
  • Bullying/isolation