Suicide has stolen lives around the world and across the centuries. Meanings attributed to suicide and notions of what to do about it have varied with time and place, but suicide has continued to exact a relentless toll. In the United States suicide is the tenth leading cause of death and suicide attempts result in disability and suffering for hundreds of thousands of Americans each year. There are few who escape being touched by the tragedy of suicide in their lifetimes; each year there are an estimated 243,600 newly bereaved friends and family members. Each suicide intimately affects at least 6 other people.

Suicide Statistics in the U.S.*

  • dataEvery 13.0 minutes another life is lost to suicide.
  • Every day 111 Americans take their own lives and an estimated 2,781 make a suicide attempt.
  • Over 40,600 deaths by suicide occurred in the U.S. in 2012.
  • Males complete suicide at a rate of about four times that of females. However, females attempt suicide three times more often than males.
  • For young people aged 15 -24 years, suicide is the second leading cause of death!
  • The elderly made up 13.7% of the 2012 population but represented 16.4% of the suicides.
  • Among minority groups, Native Americans have the highest suicide rates.
  • Firearms are used in half of all completed suicides.
  • For every two victims of homicide in the U.S. there are three deaths from suicide.

A rate increase was seen from 2011 to 2012, continuing the recent rate increases after long-term trends of decline.

*Information taken from the “U.S.A. SUICIDE: 2012 OFFICIAL FINAL DATA” report compiled by John L. McIntosh, Ph.D. and Christopher W. Drapeau, M.A. for the American Association of Suicidology 18 October 2014.

Research Findings

  • Studies reflect that 90% of individuals who died by suicide had one or more mental disorders.
  • On average about 60% of suicides were depressed. Other disorders at risk included schizophrenia, bi-polar disorder and substance abuse disorders.
  • Feelings of hopelessness were even more predictive of suicide risk than was a diagnosis of depression.
  • Socially isolated individuals are generally found to be at a higher risk for suicide than those connected to family, friends and community.
  • The vast majority of individuals who are suicidal often show clues and warning signs.

For Additional Information:

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

American Association of Suicidology

Suicide Prevention Resource Center

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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