Elevated Risk Factors

Although there is no such thing as a suicidal type of young person, the statistics on youth suicide do suggest that there are certain behaviors or characteristics that can alert you to a possible elevated risk of suicidal thought. Some of the most common elevated risk factors are listed below:

Perfectionist Personalities

The pressure, often on oneself or from others, to be perfect may causes feelings of inadequacies. These young people are often the high achievers and/or school leaders that overextend themselves to exhaustion. These youth set high expectations for themselves and if those expectations become impossible to achieve, depression and eventual thoughts of suicide may occur.


These young people are considered to be at high risk for suicidal behavior because they are the targets of a great deal of victimization. They report not feeling safe in their schools, feeling confused about their sexuality and suffering some form of verbal or physical abuse.

Learning Disabled

Youth who constantly struggle to understand concepts that are easily understood by others can become depressed and feel defeated. Their struggle to perform in school is present for them daily. Youth with learning disabilities had twice the risk of emotional distress, and females were at twice the risk of attempting suicide and for violence involvement than their peers.


These young people appear to have no social or emotional support systems.

Low Self- Esteem

Feelings of worthless, shame, overwhelming guilt, self-hatred, “everyone would be better off without me.”

Depressed Youth

90% of those who complete suicide suffer from undiagnosed and treatable mental health issues.

Students in Trouble

A recent literature review of youth corrections shows that detention has a profoundly negative impact on young people’s mental and physical well-being, their education, and their employment. One psychologist found that for one-third of incarcerated youth diagnosed with depression, the onset of the depression occurred after they began their incarceration, and another suggests that poor mental health, and the conditions of confinement together conspire to make it more likely that incarcerated teens will engage in suicide and self-harm.

Abused, Molested or Neglected

Abused youth in a study by the AMA showed significantly greater risk factors for youth suicide, including family disintegration, diagnoses of depression, disruptive behavior disorders and substance abuse and dependence.

Abusers of Drugs and Alcohol

Alcohol and drug use clouds judgment, lowers inhibitions and worsens depression, and in turn can heighten the risk considerably.