Suicide Facts in the U.S.
- A suicide attempt is made about once every 31 seconds, and a suicide is completed once every 13 minutes . That breaks down to about 2,818 attempts and 113 deaths in a single day.
- Each death by suicide affects 115 people. That's 1 million new people affected every year .
- Suicide is the second leading cause for young people and the tenth leading cause of death in the U.S. overall .
- The rate of suicide has been steadily increasing since 2000 , and is at its highest rate since 1991 .
- Suicide rates are highest for females aged 45-54 and males aged 75 and older .
- Men are 4 times more likely to die by suicide than women, but women attempt suicide 3 times more often than men .
- Caucasian men are the group most likely to die by suicide, followed by Native Americans .
- More Americans suffer from depression than coronary heart disease (7 million), cancer (6 million) and AIDS (200,000) combined .
Warning signs of suicide:
- Threatening suicide, an increased interest in death and dying, expressing a strong wish to die (always treat a suicide threat as a crisis)
- Observable signs of serious depression, including: unrelenting low mood; pessimism; hopelessness; desperation; anxiety, and inner tension; withdrawal; sleep problems (either too much or too little); abnormal food intake (either too much or too little); pronounced weight loss or gain
- Increased alcohol and/or other drug use
- Behavior that is out of character, including impulsiveness or unnecessary risk-taking
- A sudden and unexpected change to a cheerful attitude (after a depression), especially when the person is on antidepressants
- Making a plan: making a will, giving away prized possessions, taking out insurance, saying goodbye, sudden or impulsive purchase of a firearm, obtaining other means of killing oneself such as poisons or medications
If you suspect a loved one is suicidal:
- Don't be afraid to ask your loved one if they're suicidal. Be direct. Be open, supportive, and non-judgmental.
If the answer is yes, be open, supportive, and non-judgmental (e.g., avoid phrases like, "that's selfish," or "…but you have so many reasons to live", do not threaten to call the police or have them committed). Tell them how much you care about them. Above all, LISTEN,LISTEN, LISTEN . Often, simply acknowledging and validating suicidal feelings is enough to substantially decrease risk of suicide.
- Seek appropriate help. Allow your loved one to give input on what might work best for them. Help them make a recovery plan. If they are badly hurt or in danger, call 911.
Resources for those in crisis:
Resources for attempt survivors: