Suicide is a multifaceted problem. There is not one singular risk factor that indicates someone might be at risk for suicide; rather a combination of several risk factors leading to intolerable psychological/emotional pain that exceeds the individual’s ability to cope puts them at risk for suicide. These include:
- Males die by suicide at a rate 4 times higher than females, although females attempt suicide at a much higher rate than males.
- Hopelessness is one of the most important predictors of suicide. When an individual believes there is no hope that things will get better they are at significant risk of suicide.
- Poor self-esteem supports negative self-talk and inhibits help seeking behaviours due to a belief they are not worthy of help.
Poor Coping Strategies
- Poor coping strategies leave individuals without the ability to confront the challenges present in their life.
- A lack of purpose or meaning may leave an individual questioning whether it is worth it to continue living.
- Negative self-talk feeds and supports poor self-esteem, feelings of being unworthy and a sense of hopelessness.
- An inability to think in abstract terms, think of alternatives and problem solve. Is extremely dangerous when combined with hopelessness.
Negative Life Events
- Especially loss, any loss perceived as significant such as the death of a loved one, job, relationship, and health or financial.
Negative Family Experiences
- Trauma, sexual abuse, family violence, poor home environment, history of suicide and suicidal behaviour in family.
- Social isolation, lack of social support, bullying, belonging to a group considered to be at higher risk such as the aboriginal community, LGBTTQ and those living with a mental illness, stigma, cultural or religious beliefs, sensationalized media reporting of suicides.