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Protective Factors for Suicide

Protective factors are the positive conditions and personal and social resources that promote resiliency and reduce the potential for youth suicide as well as other highrisk behaviors. It is important to understand that protective factors do not prevent suicide.

Protective factors associated with suicidal behavior include:


  • Cultural and religious beliefs that discourage suicide and support selfpreservation
  • Skills in problem solving, conflict resolution, and anger/stress management
  • Opportunities to participate in projects/activities
  • Resiliency
  • Strong sense of selfworth
  • A sense of personal control
  • Good impulse control
  • Not drinking alcohol in excess/not using illegal substances
  • A reasonably stable environment
  • Responsibilities/duties to others
  • Asking for help
  • Being aware of resources


  • Close family bonds
  • Sense of social support
  • Positive connections with an adult
  • Pets
  • Availability of and access to effective clinical care for mental/physical/substance use disorders
  • Restricted access to lethal means of suicide


  • Respect for helpseeking behavior
  • Skills to recognize and respond to signs of risk


  • Urban/suburban setting
  • Media influence

Compiled from: AAS
Maine Youth Suicide Prevention Guidelines