Thursday, May 13, 2021

Life & Style

Suicide Prevention: Warning Signs, Risk Factors, Protective Factors

On Thursday, Sept. 6 at the Henry Carter Hull Library, 10 Killingworth Turnpike, Clinton, Clinical Psychologist Megan Warner, PhD, and Licensed Social Worker Alissa Goldberg, LMSW of Guilford Psychological Services will discuss how to identify suicidal risk factors, urges and ideation, and how to find support for individuals at risk or who may be worried about a loved one. The discussion is free and open to all. Here are some of the ideas they will discuss

Some warning signs may help you determine if a loved one is at risk for suicide, especially if the behavior is new, has increased, or seems related to a painful event, loss, or change.


Warning Signs:

— Talking about wanting to die or to kill themselves

—Looking for a way to kill themselves, like 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

— Extreme mood swings

— Visiting or calling people to say goodbye

— Giving away possessions

— Humiliation/shame

— Relief or sudden improvement

Risk factors are characteristics that make it more likely that someone will consider, attempt, or die by suicide. They can’t cause or predict a suicide attempt, but they’re important to be aware of. Protective factors can help reduce the likelihood of suicide.

Health Risk Factors

— Mental health conditions

— Depression

— Substance use problems

— Bipolar disorder

— Schizophrenia

— Personality traits of aggression, mood changes, and poor relationships

— Conduct disorder

— Anxiety disorders

— Serious physical health conditions including pain

— Traumatic brain injury

Environmental Risk Factors

— Access to lethal means including firearms and drugs

—Prolonged stress, such as harassment, bullying, relationship problems, or unemployment

—Stressful life events, like rejection, divorce, financial crisis, other life transitions, or loss

—Exposure to another person’s suicide, or to graphic or sensationalized accounts of suicide

Historical Risk Factors

—Previous suicide attempts

—Family history of suicide

—Childhood abuse, neglect, or trauma

Protective Factors

—Good health

—Social support/connectedness is a major protective factor

—Being married/partnered


—Parenthood, especially for mothers

—Religiosity, and participating in religious activities


—Restricted access to lethal means (e.g. no guns in the house, no access to pills, etc)




—Access to medical care

—Coping skills

—Reasons for living

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