Risk factors for suicide include the characteristics and circumstances of a person or their environment that increase the likelihood that they may die by suicide. Some examples of risk factors include access to lethal means, mental health challenges, relationship issues, and substance use.

Data presented in Part 2 of this report includes information from the Wisconsin Violent Death Reporting System (WVDRS) related to these risk factors. WVDRS collects information on the specific circumstances (depressed mood, substance use issue, intimate partner issue, etc.) that are reported or perceived in the investigation reports (coroner/medical examiner report, law enforcement report, and death certificate) as being related to the violent death (suicide). For the vast majority of circumstances, it is sufficient to code a circumstance if it was included in the investigation reports or occurred before or right after the fatal injury (preceding or impending events). Circumstantial information is typically based on information reported to death investigators and may not be based on actual medical or other records. Specific definitions for these circumstances can be found in Appendix 3.