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Female Youth being casualRisk Factors

The following came from information found in suicide literature.

The most common risk factors in youth suicide is a mental illness. This includes mood disorders (such as depression, bipolar disorder), conduct disorder/poor impulse control, anxiety disorder, alcohol and other drug use.

Other risk factors found in families, individuals and the environment are listed below. The resulting stress may increase one’s likelihood of attempting/dying by suicide.


Family Risk Factors

  • Family history of suicide (especially a parent)
  • Changes in family through death, divorce, re-marriage, etc.
  • Parental alcoholism
  • Lack of strong bonding/attachment within the family, withdrawal of support
  • Unrealistic parental expectations
  • Violent, destructive parent-child interactions
  • Inconsistent, unpredictable parental behavior
  • Depressed, suicidal parents
  • Physical, emotional, or sexual abuse

Behavioral Risk Factors

  • One or more prior suicide attempt(s)
  • Alcohol/drug abuse
  • Running away
  • School failure, truancy
  • Fascination with death, violence, Satanism
  • Friends not telling adults about friends who may be suicidal

Environmental Risk Factors

  • Access to lethal means
  • Moving often
  • Social isolation/alienation or turmoil
  • Knowing someone who died by suicide
  • Anniversary of someone else’s suicide
  • Trouble with the law/loss of freedom
  • High levels of stress; pressure to succeed
  • Over-exposure to violence in mass media

Personal Risk Factors

Mental illness/psychiatric conditions such as Depression, Bipolar, Conduct and Anxiety disorders)*

  • Poor impulse control
  • Confusion/conflict about sexual identity
  • Loss of significant relationships
  • Compulsive, extreme perfectionism
  • Lack skills to manage decision-making, conflict, anger, problem solving, distress, etc.
  • Loss (or perceived loss) of identity, status
  • Feeling powerless, hopeless, helpless
  • Victim of sexual abuse
  • Pregnancy or fear of pregnancy
  • Fear of humiliation

*These do not cause suicide, but when many factors are present, these may make a difference.