Many factors contribute to suicide risk.

A combination of situations could lead someone to consider suicide. Risk factors increase the possibility of suicide, but they might not be signs of immediate danger or direct causes.


  • Previous suicide attempt

  • Mental illness, such as depression

  • Social isolation

  • Criminal problems

  • Financial problems

  • Impulsive or aggressive tendencies

  • Job problems or loss

  • Legal problems

  • Serious illness

  • Substance use disorder

  • Changes in eating and sleeping habits.

  • Difficulty thinking and concentrating.

  • Complaints of continued boredom.

  • Complaints of headaches, stomach aches, or fatigue with no actual physical problems.

  • Expressions of guilt and/or not allowing anyone to give him or her praise or rewards.

  • Running away from home or responsibilities


  • Adverse childhood experiences such as child abuse and neglect

  • Bullying

  • Family history of suicide

  • Relationship problems such as a break-up, violence, or loss

  • Sexual violence


  • Barriers to health care

  • Cultural and religious beliefs

  • Suicide contagion in the community


  • Stigma associated with mental illness or help-seeking

  • Easy access to lethal means among people at risk (e.g. firearms, medications)

  • Media portrayals of suicide

Risk Factors Can Also Vary Across Groups (contributed by the Suicide Prevention Resource Center)

Risk factors can vary by age group, culture, sex, and other characteristics. For example:

  • Stress resulting from prejudice and discrimination (family rejection, bullying, violence) is a known risk factor for suicide attempts among lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) youth.

  • The historical trauma suffered by American Indians and Alaska Natives (resettlement, destruction of cultures and economies) contributes to the high suicide rate in this population.

  • For men in the middle years, stressors that challenge traditional male roles, such as unemployment and divorce, have been identified as important risk factors.

Please note : High risk for suicide, whether for individuals or communities, is usually found in a combination or “constellation” of multiple risk factors

If you feel there is imminent danger ... please call 911 or go to the hospital emergency room