IN.gov - Skip Navigation

Note: This message is displayed if (1) your browser is not standards-compliant or (2) you have you disabled CSS. Read our Policies for more information.

Office of the Indiana Attorney General

ISSI > Teen Suicide > Risk Factors Risk Factors

When trying to explain why young people take their own lives, some research indicates a correlation between high risk behaviors – such as sexual activity and drug use – with higher suicide rates. Other studies cite increases in youth depression.

Risk factors for suicidal behavior can include feelings of hopelessness or isolation, having a parent with a mood disorder, substance abuse, history of physical or sexual abuse, school or work problems and chronic physical illness.

Warning signs can include statements such as, “I won’t be a problem for you much longer.” Talking about suicide, refusing help, not tolerating praise or reward, complaining about being a “bad” person and giving away favorite possessions also can foretell suicide.

If a teen in your family, classroom or youth agency is exhibiting these warning signs, stay with that individual and ask direct questions that can help that person express their feelings. Focus on the present, not the past or the future. Remain calm, and seek help from a doctor or a mental health professional.