Suicide Signs and Risk Factors Checklist

This checklist is designed to determine behaviours that may indicate a patient may be considering suicide. The results must be interpreted in the context of an individual’s circumstances and as such should be used only in combination with a comprehensive medical and clinical assessment. It is NOT a stand-alone diagnostic tool.


  • Talking about wanting to die or to kill oneself
  • Looking for a method to kill oneself (e.g. searching online or buying a rope)
  • Talking about feeling hopeless or having no reason to live
  • Talking about feeling trapped or in extreme emotional pain
  • Talking about being a burden to others
  • Increasing use of alcohol or drugs
  • Acting anxious or agitated; behaving recklessly
  • Sleeping more or less than what is normal for them
  • Withdrawing or feeling isolated
  • Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge
  • Displaying extreme mood swings

Risk factors

  • History of self-harm or previous suicide attempt
  • Mental or substance use disorders, especially depression
  • Physical illness: terminal, painful or debilitating illness
  • Family history of suicide, substance abuse and/or other psychiatric disorders
  • History of sexual, physical or emotional abuse
  • Socially isolated or living alone
  • Bereavement in childhood
  • Family disturbances
  • Unemployment, change in occupational or financial status
  • Rejection by a significant person (e.g. relationship breakup)
  • Recent discharge from a psychiatric facility

If a patient’s presentation meets 1 or more criteria from both of the above categories, there is an increased chance that they may be considering suicide. In this case, it is important to complete a thorough suicide risk assessment at the time of your consultation.

It is also recommended that they be referred to a psychologist for a more comprehensive assessment. To book an appointment with a psychologist, contact Strategic Psychology on (02) 6262 6157 or email


Reference: American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (DSM-5). Washington, D.C.: American Psychiatric Association.