Department of Psychiatry
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Is there a risk for suicide after a suicide attempt?

A person moves a risk wheel to the highest setting, indicating high risk.Risk for suicide depends on many factors. For some people, the risk is higher just after an attempt and others will quickly go back to their usual risk (or even a lower risk). This often depends on how that person views their life situation after their attempt.

The risk of suicide is highest in the month after psychiatric hospitalization and continues for at least three months. Close psychiatric follow-up and support can reduce this risk.

Someone who has made a suicide attempt is statistically at higher risk for making another suicide attempt over the course of their life, but this does not mean that it will happen.

For some people, the suicide attempt comes from a unique stressor and if that issue is effectively addressed, the chance of further attempts is reduced. For other people, suicide attempts are a life-pattern of dealing with stress and negative emotions. Many people fall somewhere in between these two extremes.

Teaching people practical coping strategies and managing the risk factors and the stressors that resulted in the suicide attempt are key to reducing the risk of another attempt in the future.