Suicide Prevention

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that suicide was the 11th leading cause of death among Americans in 2006. The impact of suicide is wide-reaching, reaching beyond the individual who commits it to family members, friends and coworkers. The CDC has identified numerous risk factors, which are characteristics associated with suicide, and may or may not be direct causes. These risk factors are:

  • Family history of suicide
  • Family history of child maltreatment
  • Previous suicide attempt(s)
  • History of mental disorders, particularly depression
  • History of alcohol and substance abuse
  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Impulsive or aggressive tendencies
  • Cultural and religious beliefs (e.g., belief that suicide is noble resolution of a personal dilemma)
  • Local epidemics of suicide
  • Isolation, a feeling of being cut off from other people
  • Barriers to accessing mental health treatment
  • Loss (relational, social, work, or financial)
  • Physical illness
  • Easy access to lethal methods
  • Unwillingness to seek help because of the stigma attached to mental health and substance abuse disorders or to suicidal thoughts

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