10 Risk Factors of Suicide

Signs to pay attention to if you are concerned about a loved one

photo credit: pedrosimoes7 via photopin cc.

When someone in your life speaks about suicide, it is important to listen. Even if it appears that someone is just trying to get attention, he or she likely would not be mentioning suicide if he or she was not having any thoughts about it.

How do you know if your friend or loved one is actually being serious about wanting to commit suicide? The best way to find out is to ask, and to be aware of ten classic risk of suicide, which this article will cover.

1. Talking about wanting to die, be dead, or end one's life.

Even if the topic of suicide is discussed casually or even in jest, your friend could be very subtly and not so effectively reaching out for help. Statements indicating any thought of suicide are big red flags that your friend could actually want to end his or her life.

2. Hopelessness.

When someone is truly hopeless about their situation or state of mind, they may honestly be unable to see any reason to go on.

3. Having a plan.

Having a plan about how one would go about ending his or her life is a serious risk factor for suicide. An especially detailed and lethal plan signifies an even greater risk.

4. A history of suicide attempts.

Most people who successfully complete suicide have made attempts in the past. Having a history of a failed suicide attempt greatly increases the likelihood that one will try to end his or her life at some point in the future.

5. Behavioral signs.

Someone considering suicide may start acting in a way that is a cause for concern. If, for example, someone starts to give away his or her belongings, suddenly tries to make amends with certain others, starts stockpiling medication or tries to acquire a gun, it is possible that he or she is seriously considering ending his or her life.

6. Stressful events, trauma or life crises such as loss.

Bereavement, trauma and other difficult life events raise one's risk for suicide. Certain traumas such as sexual assault can be more likely to lead to suicidal thoughts. The greater the number of stressful events in one's life, the greater the risk.

7. Substance abuse and intoxication.

Suicide often occurs when a substance abuse issue is present and one is under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Getting help for substance abuse can be extremely important not only because of the deleterious effects that drugs and alcohol has on one's physical and mental health, but also as a preventative measure against suicide.

8. Presence of a mental health disorder.

Having a diagnosis of depression, for example, increases one's risk of suicide. This is true for other mental health disorders as well, including Bipolar Disorder and Schizophrenia among others.

9. Poor impulse control.

Someone with poor impulse control has an increased risk of suicide because he or she is less likely to stop himself or herself from acting impulsively upon his or her suicidal thoughts.

10. Poor health.

Individuals with chronic and terminal health conditions face a greater than average risk of ending their lives.

Most people who commit suicide do not meet all risk factor criteria. It is also important to note that if a loved one is discussing suicide and does not meet any of the above criteria, it is still important to take him or her seriously and know how to handle this difficult situation

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