Suicide is never an easy thing to talk about, to prevent, or to understand, but recognizing the risk factors is an important step. Suicide is a major public health problem and September is Suicide Prevention Month. Several factors can put a person at risk for suicide. However, having these risk factors does not always mean that suicide will occur. Some of the risk factors identified by research include but are not limited to, history of previous suicide attempts or family history of suicide, history of depression or other mental illness, alcohol or drug abuse, and stressful life event or loss.

A person could be at risk if they talk about being a burden to others, feeling trapped, and/or having no reason to live. A person’s suicide risk is greater if a behavior is new or has increased, especially if it’s related to a painful event, loss, or change. Some behaviors include increased use of alcohol or drugs, acting recklessly, withdrawing from activities, visiting or calling people to say goodbye, and/or giving away prized possessions.

Connectedness is critical to individuals who may be vulnerable to suicide. Social isolation can increase the risk of suicide and, conversely, having strong human bonds can be protective against
it. Reaching out to those who have become disconnected from others and offering them support and friendship can be a life-saving act. If you suspect someone is at risk for suicide, take it seriously.

Did You Know?

  • Suicide the 10th leading cause of death for Americans.
  • Suicide is the number one preventable kind of death.
  • The highest suicide rate are among people ages 45-64 and the 2nd highest suicide rate are among ages 85 and older.
  • For many years, the suicide rate has been about 4 times higher among men than among women.

How To Help

If you or someone you know may be having thoughts of suicide:

  • Contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK
    (8255) or visit the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
  • Call your Employee Assistance Program (EAP) or other healthcare
  • For urgent matters call 911


Sources: American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, LifeWork Strategies EAP, and Adventist HealthCare. The Health Tip of the Week is for educational purposes only. For medical advice, consult your physician. Feel free to copy and distribute this health resource.