Warning Signs

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Signs of Risk

As a church leader, you can become aware of the problems facing your members that may put them at risk of suicide.
Some of the most significant risk factors are:

  • Prior suicide attempt(s)
  • Bereavement by suicide
  • Alcohol and drug abuse
  • Mood and anxiety disorders such as depression
  • Access to a means to kill oneself

The risk is usually greater among individuals with multiple risk factors generally over the long term. However, triggering events such as relationship or financial problems, leading to humiliation, shame, or despair may also be a catalyst for a suicide.

While most people with risk factors will not attempt suicide, let alone die by suicide, it is important for clergy to be aware of these risk factors so that you can take appropriate action.