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Anyone can be at risk for suicide.
Risk factors for suicide are complex, but consist of a chain of events leading an individual to feel anguish and hopelessness, with the capacity to be lethal (due in part to impacted judgment and access to means). Risk factors indicate that someone is at heightened risk but may not indicate immediate risk (warning signs).
Risk factors identified by annual Navy Cross Disciplinary Case Reviews and the Centers for Disease Control1 include:
  • Easy access to lethal means (methods of suicide with especially high fatality rates)
  • Relationship issues (divorce, separation, break-up)
  • Transitions (retirement, PCS, discharge, etc.)
  • Current or pending disciplinary or legal action
  • Financial problems
  • Academic, career or personal setbacks
  • Perceived rejection, abandonment or loss of status
  • Physical or psychological health issues (sleep deprivation, medical condition, etc.)
  • Severe or prolonged stress
  • History of alcohol and/or substance abuse
  • History of previous suicide attempts
  • Barriers to accessing psychological health treatment
  • Family history of suicide or violence
  • Sexual or physical abuse
  • Traumatic experience
  • Death of a close friend or family member

1. Centers for Disease Control. Suicide: Risk and Protective Factors (2015, August 28). Retrieved from  

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