Merck Manual

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Risk Factors for Suicidal Behavior

Risk Factors for Suicidal Behavior

  • American Indian or Alaska Native

  • Male

  • Painful or disabling illness

  • Living alone

  • Economic downturns or debt

  • Unemployment

  • Bereavement or loss

  • Humiliation or disgrace

  • Hopelessness

  • Aggressive or impulsive behavior

  • Depression, especially when it is accompanied by anxiety or is part of bipolar disorder

  • Recent hospitalization for depression

  • Most other mental disorders, such as personality disorders

  • Persistent sadness even when other symptoms of depression are lessening

  • A history of drug or alcohol abuse

  • A history of prior suicide attempts

  • A history of suicide or mental disorders in family members

  • Traumatic childhood experiences, including physical or sexual abuse

  • Preoccupation with and talk about suicide

  • Well-defined plans for suicide