Suicide risk factors such as depression and bipolar illness tend to run in families. However, having a family member who is depressed or who died by suicide does not automatically mean that you will become depressed or die by suicide. Because family members may be at greater risk, however, people who have a family history of suicide or mental illness should be particularly alert to psychiatric symptoms in themselves and get an evaluation as early as possible. Another consideration is that when a suicide has already occurred within a family, this may appear to open the door for others to consider it as an acceptable way to end one’s life eg. well, Dad did it…so I will too!

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