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Suicide can affect anyone, but some factors may indicate higher risks of completing suicide. These are:

  • Prior attempts - a history of attempts is the highest predictor of future completed suicide.

  • Family history.

  • Childhood trauma (physical or sexual abuse, neglect).

  • Mental health conditions: depression, bipolar, conduct and anxiety disorders, anhedonia, substance use, and schizophrenia.

  • Personality traits: aggression, tendency to isolate, high impulsivity, and mood swings.

  • Physical conditions, such as a terminal or chronic illness, disability, Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), or chronic pain.

  • Access to lethal methods (drugs, firearms, sharp objects, etc.).

  • Contact with suicide (particularly teens).

  • Feelings of hopelessness.

  • Acute and prolonged stress (relationship problems, loss, financial hardship, unemployment, etc.)

  • Gender - although females attempt suicide two to three times more often than males, men die at higher rates due to the lethality of the methods they use.

an old cuple on a bench

Age Groups

Suicide affects all age groups, and the annual rates will vary in different countries but according to Our World in Data, which comprises numbers from the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), Global Burden of Disease (GBD), and the World Health Organization, people over the age of 70 are at greater risk of dying by suicide. To see the global suicide rates by age group, go to the World Data Page.

For the Our World Data webpage, CLICK HERE. 


Being subject to discrimination also increases the risk of suicide, which brings attention to specific populations:

  • Indigenous peoples.

  • LGBTQ+. (For this population, please check the "How to stay safe online" guide.

  • Refugees and migrants.

  • Prisoners and ex-convicts.

For a review of risk factors outlined by various institutions, CLICK HERE

Sources used on this page:

1. Our World Data: CLICK HERE

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