Warning signs and risk factors associated with Suicide

risk factors

Experiencing the death of a child by suicide is every parent's worst nightmare and it can be even worse when you know that it could possibly have been avoided.

Unfortunately, suicidal thoughts can impair a person’s judgement leaving them feeling like they have no one to turn or talk to and ultimately, their friends and loved ones don’t find out how bad things were until it’s too late.

Nobody wants to think about someone they love feeling like they don’t want to live anymore but if you’re concerned, it’s important to reach out to that person. 

Here are some of the warning signs that someone may be contemplating suicide: 

  • Withdrawal from family and social life


  • Extreme mood swings


  • Wild or reckless behaviour


  • Increased alcohol and drug use


  • Uncharacteristic aggression


  • Giving away precious possessions


  • Collecting or saving medication and pills


  • Making amends or saying goodbye to friends and family

Suicidal behaviors are a psychiatric emergency. If you or a loved one starts to take any of these steps, seek immediate help from a health care provider or call 112 or 999.

If you are wondering who might be more at risk of committing suicide, there are certain internal and external factors that can contribute to the situation. These include but are not limited to:

  • A recent loss or tragedy


  • A family history of suicide
  • Substance use: Drugs can create mental highs and lows that worsen suicidal thoughts
  • Alcohol abuse
  • A history of trauma or sexual abuse
  • A serious or chronic medical illness

  • Gender: Research shows that men are four times more likely to die by suicide than women

If you’re worried that a child or young person is experiencing suicidal thoughts and they won’t open up to you, encourage them to talk to us. Childline is here for every child, all day, every day. They can chat online at childline.ie, or call 1800 66 66 66.

You can find out more about the National Office of Suicide Prevention here.

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