Risk Factors

Risk Factors

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:

Gender
  • Males die by suicide at a rate 4 times higher than females, although females attempt suicide at a much higher rate than males.
Hopelessness
  • 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
  • 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.
Existential Issues
  • A lack of purpose or meaning may leave an individual questioning whether it is worth it to continue living.
Negative Self-Talk
  • Negative self-talk feeds and supports poor self-esteem, feelings of being unworthy and a sense of hopelessness.
Cognitive Restriction
  • 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/Cultural
  • 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.

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