SUICIDE RISK FACTORS
DEFINITION: "Risk factors"
refer to an individual's characteristics, circumstances, history and experiences
that raise the risk for suicide.
HOW TO READ THE 'NEGATIVE LIFE EVENTS THAT INCREASE
SUICIDE RISK' LIST: Having experienced any one (or even several)
of the items listed in the Negative Life Events list does not necessarily mean that
a person is suicidal or contemplating self-harm. However, these negative experiences
do increase the risk of suicidal behavior when compared with individuals
who have not experienced such events.
INCREASED DISPOSITION TO ENGAGE IN SELF-HARM: When compared with individuals who have not experienced these events,
the occurrence of an immediate "precipitating event" such as a personal crisis may
increase the suicide risk for people who have previously encountered the life events
noted in the Negative Life Events list.
NEGATIVE LIFE EVENTS THAT INCREASE SUICIDE RISK:
- History of one or more prior suicide attempts.
- Family history of suicide.
- Exposure to the suicidal behavior of others.
- History of violence or hostility.
- History of family violence.
- History of physical or sexual abuse.
- Psychiatric illness.
- Family history of mental disorder or substance abuse.
- Chronic physical illness, including chronic pain.
- Loss of health (real or imaginary).
- Recent, severe loss (especially a marriage or relationship), or threat of significant
- Being faced with a situation of humiliation or failure.
- Recent or impending incarceration.
- Difficult times: holidays, anniversaries, and the first week after discharge from
a hospital; just before and after diagnosis of a major illness; just before and
during disciplinary proceedings.
- Assignment or placement into a new and/or unfamiliar environment.
- Difficulty adjusting to new demands and different workloads.
- Lack of adequate social and coping skills.
- Academic, occupational, or social pressures.
- Loss of job, home, money, status, self-esteem, personal security.
OTHER RISK FACTORS RELEVANT TO MILITARY LIFE:
- Male gender.
- Caucasian race.
- E-1 to E-2 rank.
- Younger than 25 years of age.
- GED/less than high-school education.
- Divorce or recent relationship failure.
- Regular component.
- Drug and Alcohol Abuse.
- Relationship Problems.
- Legal, administrative, and financial problems.