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These general signs may mean someone is at risk for suicide:
Risk is greater if a behavior is new or has increased and if it seems related to a painful event, loss, or change.
Talking about wanting to die or to kill oneself.
Looking for a way to kill oneself, such as searching online or buying a gun.
Talking about feeling hopeless or having no reason to live.
Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain.
Talking about being a burden to others.
Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs.
Acting anxious or agitated; behaving recklessly.
Sleeping too little or too much; withdrawing or feeling isolated.
Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge.
Displaying extreme mood swings.
Giving away one's possessions.
There is no single, agreed-upon list of risk factors. The list below summarizes the risk factors identified by the most recent research.
Behavioral Health Issues/Disorders
Substance abuse or dependence (alcohol and other drugs)
Conduct/disruptive behavior disorders
Other disorders (e.g., anxiety disorders, personality disorders)
Previous suicide attempts
Self-injury (without intent to die)
Genetic/biological vulnerability (mainly abnormalities in serotonin functioning, which can lead to some of the behavioral health problems listed above)
Note: The presence of multiple behavioral health disorders (especially the combination of mood and disruptive behavior problems or substance use) increases suicide risk.
Social alienation and isolation, lack of belonging
Low stress and frustration tolerance
Impulsivity: Risk taking, recklessness
Poor problem-solving or coping skills
Perception of self as very underweight or very overweight
Capacity to self-injure
Perception of being a burden (e.g., to family and friends)
Adverse/Stressful Life Circumstances
Interpersonal difficulties or losses (e.g., divorce, loss of a job, breaking up with a girlfriend or boyfriend)
Disciplinary or legal problems
Bullying, either as victim or perpetrator
School or work problems (e.g., actual or perceived difficulties in school or work, not attending school or work, not going to college)
Physical, sexual, and/or psychological abuse
Chronic physical illness or disability
Exposure to suicide of peer Risky Behaviors
Alcohol or drug use
Delinquency; Aggressive/violent behavior
Family history of suicide or suicidal behavior
Family/Parental mental health problems •
Personal/Parental divorce or Death of parent or close relative
Problems in parent-child relationship or another close relationship
Negative social and emotional environment, including negative attitudes, beliefs, feelings, and interactions of staff at school or work
Lack of acceptance of differences
Expression and acts of hostility
Lack of respect and fair treatment
Lack of respect for the cultures of all students
Limitations in physical environment, including lack of safety and security
Violence or bullying
Limited access to mental health care
Access to lethal means, particularly in the home
Exposure to other suicides, leading to suicide contagion
Exposure to stigma and discrimination based on sexual orientation; gender identity; race and ethnicity; disability; or physical characteristics, such as overweight. Stigma and discrimination lead to: victimization, Internalization of blame, low self-esteem and discrimination, lack of support from others, rejection by others, and lack of access to work opportunities and health care
Assess risk for suicide, suicidal thoughts, attempt, plan or intent
Build coping, problem-solving and cognitive skills
Address related problems, such as depression and other mental health issues, like anger and substance abuse
Improve resilience and support
Improve interpersonal relationships
Prevent or reduce self-destructive behavior
Immediate crisis counseling related to disasters, 24/7.