Suicide Risk Factors
Many have pointed out that the risk factors for suicide mirror the population of the fire service. Importantly, it has also been noted that thousands of signs, symptoms and risk factors have been reported by various organizations. Using those risk factors to try and predict who will attempt or commit suicide has thus far proven to be challenging even for professionals. The Center For Disease Control has listed the following prominent characteristics as some of the possible contributing factor for increased risk of suicide:
- family history of suicide and/or child maltreatment.
- previous suicide attempt.
- history of mental disorders and/or alcohol/substance abuse.
- feelings of hopelessness.
- impulsive or aggressive tendencies.
- local epidemics of suicide.
- isolation from others.
- barriers to treatment including stigma.
- loss (relational, social, work, or financial).
- physical illness.
- access to lethal means.
Although it is not necessary for all of these risk factors to be present for someone to commit suicide, they should be used to raise your index of suspicion. If you suspect someone is contemplating suicide, don’t hesitate to act.
- I Ideation– Having suicidal thoughts or ideations
- P Purposelessness– feeling no reason for living
- A Anxiety – anxiety or agitated with insomnia or excessive sleep
- T Trapped– feeling no way out of the situation they are in
- W Withdrawal – Withdrawal from friends, family, or society
- A Anger– Uncontrolled anger or rage
- R Recklessness – Acting or engaging in risky or reckless behaviors
- M Mood – Dramatic mood changes
You can remember these actions through KNOW, ASK, LISTEN, CONNECT. DO NOT AT ANY TIME PUT YOURSELF IN DANGER. IF THE PERSON IN CRISIS HAS A WEAPON OR IS AN IMMEDIATE DANGER TO SELF AND/OR OTHERS, CALL 911 RIGHT AWAY.