Who is at Risk for Suicide
Suicide Risk Factors
Suicide usually isn’t caused by one incident or event. A range of factors can contribute to and increase an individual’s risk of suicide. These include:
- Behavioral challenges or concerns, including mood disorders, depression, schizophrenia, anxiety disorders and certain personality disorders
- Alcohol and other substance use disorders
- Feelings of hopelessness
- Impulsive or aggressive tendencies
- History of trauma or abuse
- Major physical illnesses
- Previous suicide attempts
- Family history of suicide
- Job or financial loss
- Loss of relationships
- Easy access to lethal means
- Increase in suicides in the area
- Sense of isolation and lack of social support
- Lack of access to health care, especially mental health and substance abuse treatment
- Cultural and religious beliefs, such as the belief that suicide is a noble resolution of a personal dilemma
- Exposure to others who have died by suicide in real life or via the media and internet
Suicide Warning Signs
Most people who die by suicide show one or more of these warning signs:
- Talking about wanting to die or to kill themselves
- Looking for a way to kill themselves, including searching online for methods or buying a gun
- Talking about feeling hopeless or having no reason to live
- Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain
- Talking about being a burden to others
- Increasing their use of alcohol or drugs
- Acting anxious or agitated
- Behaving recklessly
- Sleeping too little or too much
- Withdrawing or isolating themselves
- Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge
- Experiencing extreme mood swings
If you or someone you know are exhibiting these signs, contact a suicide prevention lifeline or text line as soon as possible.
Some people are more at risk of suicide based on demographics.
Some of the highest rates of suicide in the U.S. are among American Indian, Alaska Native and non-Hispanic white communities. Suicide is also the leading cause of death for people held in local jails.
These populations are also more at risk:
- 78% of all people who die by suicide are male.
- Middle-aged white men experience the highest rate of suicide.
- In 2020, men died by suicide 3.88 times more than women.
- White males accounted for 69.68% of suicide deaths in 2020.
- 90% of teens who die by suicide have a mental health condition.
- 80% of teens who die by suicide show warning signs.
LGBTQ+ Youth and Adults
- Transgender adults are nearly 12 times more likely to attempt suicide than the general population.
- Lesbian, gay, bisexual and queer youth are four times more likely to attempt suicide than other youth.