A recent or serious loss; might include the death of a family member, a friend or a pet. The separation or a divorce of parents, or a breakup with a boyfriend or a girlfriend, can also be felt as a profound loss, along with a parent losing a job, or the family losing their home.
A psychiatric disorder, particularly a mood disorder like depression, or a trauma- and stress-related disorder.
Prior suicide attempts increase risk for another suicide attempt.
Struggling with sexual orientation in an environment that is not respectful or accepting of that orientation. The issue is not whether a child is gay or lesbian, but whether he or she is struggling to come out in an unsupportive environment.
A family history of suicide is something that can be really significant and concerning, as is a history of domestic violence, child abuse or neglect.
Lack of social support. A child who doesn’t feel support from significant adults in her life, as well as her friends, can become so isolated that suicide seems to present the only way out of her problems.
Bullying. We know that being a victim of bullying is a risk factor, but there’s also some evidence that kids who are bullies may be at increased risk for suicidal behavior.
Access to lethal means, like firearms and pills.
Stigma associated with asking for help. One of the things we know is that the more hopeless and helpless people feel, the more likely they are to choose to hurt themselves or end their life. Similarly, if they feel a lot of guilt or shame, or if they feel worthless or have low self-esteem.
Barriers to accessing services: Difficulties in getting much-needed services include lack of bilingual service providers, unreliable transportation, and the financial cost of services.
Cultural and religious beliefs that suicide is a noble way to resolve a personal dilemma.
Here are just some of the many resources available online:
In the wake of new information that suicide has risen to the second-leading cause of death among adolescents, a leading group of physicians is urging pediatricians to screen their patients for suicidal thoughts and risk factors.