Risk and Protective Factors

To prevent suicide we aim to decrease risk factors while increasing protective factors. Learn more about risk and protective factors here.

Risk Factors

A risk factor is something that occurs in someone's life that is associated with a higher likelihood of a negative outcome. Please note that someone who has experienced one or more of these risk factors is not necessarily at risk for suicide.

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Individual Risk Factors

  • Previous suicide attempt
  • Mental illness
  • Physical illness
  • Social isolation
  • Legal problems
  • Financial problems
  • Impulsive or aggressive tendencies
  • Job problems or job loss
  • Substance use disorder

Relationship Risk Factors

  • Bullying
  • Sexual violence
  • ACE's such as abuse or neglect (learn more about ACEs here)
  • Relationship problems such as breakup, violence, or loss

Community Risk Factors

  • Barriers to healthcare
  • Cultural and religious beliefs
  • Suicide cluster in the community

Societal Risk Factors

  • Stigma associated with mental illness or help seeking
  • Easy access to lethal means by people at risk
  • Unsafe media portrayls of suicide

Protective Factors

A protective factor is associated with a lower likelihood of a negative outcome. Protective factors may reduce risk of suicidal behavior.

  • Effective clinical care for mental, physical, and substance use disorders
  • Easy access to clinical interventions and support
  • Family and community support
  • Support from medical and mental health care professionals
  • Problem solving
  • Conflict resolution and nonviolent strategies for handling disputes
  • Cultural and religious beliefs that discourage suicide
  • Trusted adult/s
  • Restricted acces to lethal means
  • Involvement in hobbies or activites
  • Strong peer support system