Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario

Nursing Best Practice Guidelines

Risk Factors

Demographic or Social Factors

  • Being an older adult
  • Being male
  • Poverty
  • Being Aboriginal, especially youth ages 14-24 (Chandler & Lalonde, in press)
  • White race (APA, 2003)
  • Gay, lesbian or bisexual orientation – association. with attempts (APA, 2003)
  • Being single (widow, divorced, separated, single)
  • Social isolation, including new or worsening estrangement, and rural location
  • Economic or occupational stress, loss, or humiliation
  • New incarceration
  • History of gambling
  • Easy access to firearms

Clinical Factors

  • Past and current major psychiatric illness, including bipolar, schizophrenia and major depressive disorder (especially depression)
  • Personality disorder (borderline, narcissistic, antisocial)
  • Impulsive or violent traits by history
  • Current medical illness
  • Family history of suicide
  • Previous suicide attempts or other self-injurious or impulsive acts
  • Current anger, agitation, or constricted preoccupation
  • Current abuse of alcohol or drugs (including solvents)
  • Easy access to lethal toxins (including prescribed medication)
  • Formulated plan, preparations for death or suicide note
  • Low ambivalence about dying versus. living
  • Childhood trauma (sexual abuse, physical abuse) (APA, 2003)
  • Suicidal ideas (current or previous)
  • Suicidal intent (APA, 2003)
  • Hopelessness (APA, 2003)
  • Severe or unremitting anxiety (APA, 2003)
  • Panic attacks (APA, 2003)
  • Impulsiveness (APA, 2003)
  • Aggression (APA, 2003)

Recent stressors (especially losses of emotional, social, physical, or financial security)