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Factoring In Our Mental Health: Mental Health Memo for June

Factoring In Our Mental Health
 About the Author: This month’s Mental Health Memo is authored jointly between the Division of Behavioral Health and Human Services Center.

 As we grow, there are circumstances that can either help or hurt our mental health. These are called protective factors and risk factors.

These factors may include biological, psychological, economic and socio-cultural conditions.  Understanding risk factors helps offset the myth that suicide is a random act. Understanding and identifying protective factors may help protect someone from suicidal thoughts and behavior.

Risk Factors

Risk factors are situations that make it more likely that someone will consider, attempt or die by suicide. Even though risk factors may increase the possibility of suicide, they might not be the direct cause. They are, however, important to be aware of. Examples of risk factors may include a previous suicide attempt, legal or financial problems, substance use issue, mental illness or adverse child experiences such as child abuse and neglect.  Other factors may be bullying or a family history of suicide or other relationship problems such as a break-up, violence or loss. Barriers to health care, cultural and religious beliefs or a suicide cluster in the community are also factors.  

Protective Factors

Protective factors are situations that promote the health and well-being of children and families within their communities. There are things we can do in our communities that may help protect people from suicidal thoughts or behavior.
Here are just some of the actions we can all take to help others.
1)    Call 1-800-273-TALK or dial 211 to reach the Helpline Center.
2)    Text ‘HOME’ TO 741741.
3)    Learn more about resources by visiting,, or 


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