Friday, 23 November 2012 12:19

Why do some young people die by suicide?

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Why do some young people die by suicide?

Everyone who is touched by a youth suicide, or is simply curious, asks this question. Unfortunately, there is no easy answer, because each person who dies takes the reasons with them.

Suicide researchers have offered some general theories around the risk and protective factors related to suicide.

The risk factors affecting a person's life seem to fall into four areas:

Biological Sociological Psychological Existential
  • history of mental illness in family
  • depression
  • history of drug / acohol abuse in family
  • physical appearance
  • disability or illness
  • sexual orientation
  • gender
  • anxiety
  • drug / alcohol abuse
  • no-one to talk to
  • exposure to suicide
  • relationship issues
  • academic pressures
  • living up to expectations
  • pregnancy
  • divorce
  • bereavement
  • abuse
  • access to the means of suicide
  • bullying
  • peer pressure
  • "I'm a burden to everyone"
  • "Things would be better if I wasn't around"
  • "I hate myself"
  • "I am so stupid"
  • "Everyone hates me"
  • "Life is pointless"
  • "Why should I bother?"
  • "The world doesn't care"
  • "Nothing will ever get better"



 But there are also four areas of potentially protective factors as well:


Family Community School The Individual
  • loving and encouraging parents
  • family support
  • someone who is always available
  • brothers and sisters who show love and concern
  • supportive grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins
  • support from members of a team or group
  • friends of the family who can be trusted
  • living in a safe community
  • supportive and interested neighbours
  • strong community ties such as a church or political party
  • friends you can talk to
  • a teacher or other member of staff who notices you
  • people who believe in you
  • teachers who care
  • a safe place to learn
  • encouragement to learn
  • zero tolerance of bullying
  • acceptance of difference
  •  your own self-control
  • good levels of self-esteem
  • a sense of responsibility to self and family
  • developed coping skills
  • support of friends and peers
  • ways to vent frustration and anger safely
  • able to express your feelings and emotions
  • fear of death or dying


Life can feel like a series of random factors that we cannot always control but it is actually a balance between the risk factors and the protective factors in our lives. If we have more risk factors than protective factors then our sense of balance and self-worth can be lost, and if we have risk factors in all four areas then the risk of suicide is increased further. 

However Protective factors can bring things back into balance.  Sometimes just one person showing that they care or asking the right question is enough to prevent a tragedy.

Please remember that Suicide Prevention Works!!



 ! Information !

What can you do? Use our 4 steps to help:













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Warning Signs

Warning signs may include but are not limited to:
Withdrawing from family and friends
Having difficulty concentrating and thinking clearly
Sleeping too much or too little
Feeling tired most of the time
Gaining or losing a significant amount of weight
Talking about feeling hopeless or guilty
Talking about suicide or death
Self-destructive behaviour like drinking too much or abusing drugs
Losing interest in favourite things or activities
Giving away prized possessions
Mood swings
If a friend mentions suicide, take it seriously. If they have expressed an immediate plan, or have access to prescription medication or other potentially deadly means, do not leave them alone. Get help immediately.


The Samaritans116 123
Pieta House1800 247 247
Aware1890 30 33 02
ISPCC Childline1800 66 66 66
Teen-Line Ireland1800 83 36 34

Contact Us

Youth Suicide Prevention Ireland (RCN20070670)
Atrium Business Centre
Blackpool Retail Park, Blackpool
Cork City, Ireland
Tel 021 - 242 7173