Suicide Risk Factors (An H4HK Cheat Sheet)

Suicide Risk FactorsSeptember is Suicide Prevention Month and we are introducing a series of H4HK Cheat Sheets to help people to better understand the issue of suicide and how they can help. Check back each Tuesday for the rest of the month for additional cheat sheets. This first sheet covers Suicide Risk Factors. The text is included below and a printable pdf version can be accessed by clicking the picture above.


Risk Factors for suicide are those things about a person and their circumstances (many of which they have no control over) that statistically make them more predisposed to attempt suicide. They are different than warning signs which are specific behaviors which may indicate a person is contemplating suicide. It is important to consider both the warning signs (which are current and specific to an individual) and the risk factors (which are historic and based on a person’s circumstances and experiences) when assessing the risk of suicide.

Risk Factors

  • #1 risk factor is prior suicide attempts
  • Personal characteristics which can be risk factors:
    • Poor coping and problem-solving skills
    • Impulsivity
    • Instability
    • Easily Agitated
    • Panic / Anxiety
    • Relational Conflict
    • Aggressiveness / Violence
  • Demographic Risk Factors
    • Females more likely to try, Men more likely to die
    • White or Native American
    • Physical Illness or Disability
    • Homosexuality
  • Circumstantial Risk Factors
    • Alcohol/Substance Abuse
    • Family history of suicide
    • Family history of violence or abuse
    • Partner conflict
    • Firearms in home
    • Lack of strong family and social ties


For more resources for learning about, and dealing with suicide, please visit our Hope 4 Hurting Kids Suicide Help Center.
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Written by Wayne Stocks
Wayne is the founder and executive director of Hope 4 Hurting Kids. He is a happily married father of four kids with a passion for helping young people who are going through rough times. In addition to Hope 4 Hurting Kids, Wayne previously started I Am A Child of Divorce and Divorce Ministry 4 Kids to help kids who are dealing with the disruption of their parents' relationship. These are now part of Hope 4 Hurting Kids. Wayne speaks frequently at conferences and churches on issues related to helping kids learn to deal with difficult emotions and life in modern families. Wayne lives with his wife, three youngest kids, three dogs and an insane collection of his kids' other pets outside of Columbus, Ohio. In addition to his work with Hope 4 Hurting Kids, Wayne is a partner in a local consulting firm, an avid reader, coaches his son's soccer team and is a proud supporter of Leicester City Football Club (and yes, for those in know, his affinity for the club does predate the 2016 championship). You can reach Wayne at