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Depression is the #1 cause of suicidal behavior

Depression is number one cause of suicidal behavior and depression is highly treatable. If you know that a student had a history of mental disorders, particularly clinical depression, don’t hesitate to reach out to them.

Other risk factors

There are a number of additional factors that can increase a teen’s suicide risk.

  • Family history of suicide
  • Family history of child maltreatment
  • Previous suicide attempt(s)
  • History of mental disorders, particularly clinical depression
  • History of alcohol and substance abuse
  • Cultural and religious beliefs (e.g., belief that suicide is noble resolution of a personal dilemma)
  • Local epidemics of suicide
  • Physical symptoms: eating disturbances, changes in sleep pattern, chronic headaches, stomach problems, menstrual irregularities

Protective factors

These protective factors can help reduce the impact of risk factors and build resiliency.

  • Effective clinical care for mental, physical, and substance abuse disorders
  • Easy access to a variety of clinical interventions and support for help seeking
  • Family and community support (connectedness)
  • Support from ongoing medical and mental health care relationships
  • Skills in problem solving, conflict resolution, and nonviolent ways of handling disputes
  • Cultural and religious beliefs that discourage suicide and support instincts for self-preservation


Call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline

If a student is experiencing a mental health crisis or medical emergency, call toll-free at 800.273.8255. You’ll be connected to a skilled, trained counselor at a crisis center in your area, anytime 24/7.

At School?
Not sure what to do or who to talk to? Refer to your school's suicide policy.

Text "IN" to 741741
Connect with a trained mental health responder quickly and easily from your phone.


Learn More