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Suicide Risk Factors

Understanding common suicide risk factors is an important part of working with many clients. Mental health diagnoses including anorexia, depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, and substance use disorder increase the risk of suicidal behavior.

The Suicide Risk Factors handout includes symptoms and other factors that correlate with suicide risk. Be advised that this list is not exhaustive, and additional factors and combinations of factors may also increase risk.

Frequent assessment is an important part of working with clients with heightened risk of suicide. Please see our Suicide Risk Assessment.

Although it is impossible to predict suicide with perfect accuracy, you can work with your client to reduce or manage risk factors.

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1. American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed). Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Association.

2. Bryan, C. J., & Rudd, M. D. (2006). Advances in the assessment of suicide risk. Journal of clinical psychology, 62(2), 185-200.

3. Chesney, E., Goodwin, G. M., & Fazel, S. (2014). Risks of all‐cause and suicide mortality in mental disorders: a meta‐review. World psychiatry, 13(2), 153-160.

4. Menon, V. (2013). Suicide risk assessment and formulation: An update. Asian journal of psychiatry, 6(5), 430-435.

5. Murray, D. (2016). Is it time to abandon suicide risk assessment?. BJPsych open, 2(1), e1-e2.

6. Ryan, E. P., & Oquendo, M. A. (2020). Suicide risk assessment and prevention: Challenges and opportunities. Focus, 18(2), 88-99.

7. Using substance use disorder instead of substance abuse. Turning Point of Tampa. (2021, April 1). Retrieved June 23, 2022, from

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