Conditions that can put your loved one at higher risk for suicide

Several individual, interpersonal and societal factors may put your loved one at risk for suicide.

Some of these circumstances and conditions include:

  • A mood disorder
  • A mood disorder along with alcohol abuse
  • Age — Suicide rates are prevalent in the young and elderly
  • Gender — Men are more likely to die from suicide than women
  • Social isolation (feeling cut off from others)
  • Interpersonal conflict or loss, usually with parents or a romantic relationship
  • Ongoing family conflicts
  • History or current physical, emotional or sexual abuse
  • Problems in school, home or in the community
  • Unwillingness to seek help because of the stigma attached to mental illness, substance abuse or suicidal thoughts
  • Easy access to lethal methods, especially guns
  • Impending legal or disciplinary matters
  • Impulsive and/or aggressive tendencies
  • Contagion influence — where a person in the community commits suicide, it’s in the newspaper and then others also begin to think about suicide and make attempts
  • Lack of family support
  • Recent experience of a stressful life event, particularly one involving a loss, separation or a threat to self-esteem and confidence

How to help

If you notice changes in your child, family member or friend, a health care provider will be able to determine if they are at risk for suicide and can recommend treatment. Knowing exactly when the symptoms started will help your doctor determine why they started and how to proceed with tests and diagnosis.

Depending on the outcome of your loved one’s assessments, treatment options might include: seeking a mental health professional’s counsel, participating in a substance abuse program and taking medications.

There are several resources available if you need extra support or if you or someone you know is in crisis:

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