Suicide Signs and Risk Factors Checklist


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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.

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