Who is affected?
The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that each year approximately one million people die from suicide, which represents a global mortality rate of 16 people per 100,000 or one death every 40 seconds.
Suicide occurs across all age, economic, social and ethnic boundaries. All of us have stress, family disruptions, grief, medical concerns or trauma at times that can become contributing factors in a suicide. For some, those stressors become so unbearable that one starts to think about not being able to survive the pain.
The good news is that suicide is often preventable.
Knowing the risk factors for suicide and who is at risk can help change and save a life.
Risk Factors for Suicide
Many people have some of the following risk factors but do not attempt suicide. Suicide is not a normal response to stress. Suicide is, however, a sign of extreme distress, not a harmless bid for attention.
- Depression, other mental disorders, or substance abuse disorder
- A prior suicide attempt
- Family history of mental illness or substance abuse
- Family history of suicide
- Family violence, including physical or sexual abuse
- Having guns or other firearms in the home
- Incarceration, being in prison or jail
- Being exposed to others’ suicidal behavior, such as that of family members, peers, or media figures
Warning Signs of Suicide
A key piece in preventing suicide is knowing the warning signs.
Any one or combination of warning signs in the below list can be a warning sign that you cannot ignore.
- Talking about wanting to die or to kill themselves
- Looking for a way to kill themselves, such as searching online 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 the 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
- Displaying extreme mood swings