Factors Influencing Decisions on Suicide
September 14, 2023
Suicide is rarely caused by one circumstance or event. Instead, a range of factors—at the individual, relationship, community, and societal levels—can increase risk. 
The Church acknowledges that various factors can influence an individual’s decision. Risk factors are situations or problems that can increase the possibility that a person will attempt suicide.
Factors that increase suicide risk
Individual Risk Factors:
-- Previous suicide attempt
-- History of depression and other mental illnesses
-- Serious illness such as chronic pain
-- Criminal/legal problems
-- Job/financial problems or loss
-- Impulsive or aggressive tendencies
-- Substance use
-- Current or prior history of adverse childhood experiences
-- Sense of hopelessness
-- Violence victimization and/or perpetration
Relationship Risk Factors:
-- Bullying
-- Family/loved one’s history of suicide
-- Loss of relationships
-- High conflict or violent relationships
-- Social isolation
Community Risk Factors:
-- Lack of access to healthcare
-- Suicide cluster in the community
-- Stress of acculturation
-- Community violence
-- Historical trauma
Societal Risk Factors
-- Stigma associated with help-seeking and mental illness
-- Easy access to lethal means of suicide among people at risk
-- Unsafe media portrayals of suicide
Factors that protect against suicide risk
Many factors at the individual, relationship, community, and societal levels can protect people from suicide.
Individual Protective Factors:
-- Effective coping and problem-solving skills
-- Reasons for living (for example, family, friends, pets, etc.)
-- Strong sense of cultural identity
Relationship Protective Factors
-- Support from partners, friends, and family
-- Feeling connected to others
Community Protective Factors
-- Feeling connected to school, community, and other social institutions
-- Availability of consistent and high quality physical and behavioral healthcare
Societal Protective Factors
-- Reduced access to lethal means of suicide among people at risk
-- Cultural, religious, or moral objections to suicide
—Information provided by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. 


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