Suicide Prevention Key Facts

  • Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death, claiming more than double the lives caused by homicide (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2009).
  • On average, between 2001 and 2009, more than 33,000 Americans died each year as a result of suicide, which is more than 1 person every 15 minutes (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2009).
  • More than 8 million adults report making a suicide plan in the past year.
  • 2.5 million report making a suicide plan in the past year.
  • 1.1 million report a suicide attempt in the past year (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2011)
  • Nearly 16 percent of students in grade 9 to 12 report having seriously considered suicide
  • 7.8 percent report having attempted suicide on or more times in the past 12 months (Centers for Disease and Control, 2011).


Who is Affected?

Although suicide can affect anyone, the following population are known to have an increased risk for suicidal behavior:

  • Individuals living with a mental and/or substance use disorders
  • Individuals bereaved by suicide
  • Individuals in justice and child welfare settings
  • Individuals who engage in non-suicidal self-injury
  • Individuals who have attempted suicide
  • Individuals with medical conditions
  • Individuals who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning (LGBTQQ)
  • American Indians/Alaska Natives
  • Members of the Armed Forces and veterans
  • Men in midlife
  • Older men


What are the Warning Signs of Suicidal Behavior?

These sign may mean someone is at risk of suicide. Risk is greater if behavior is new or has increase and if it seems related to a painful event, loss, or change.

  • Talking about wanting to die or to kill oneself
  • Looking for a way to kill oneself, such as search online or buying a gun.
  • Talking about feeling hopeless or having no reason to live.
  • Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain.
  • Talking about being a burden to others.
  • Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs.
  • Acting anxious or behaving recklessly
  • Sleeping too little or too much.
  • Withdrawing or feeling isolated.
  • Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge.
  • Displaying extreme mood swings.


What can you do?

If you believe that someone is at risk of suicide:

  • Ask them if they are thinking about killing themselves. (This will not put the idea into their heads, or make it more likely that they will attempt suicide).
  • Call the U.S. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273 TALK (8255).
  • Take the person to an emergency room or seek help from a mental health professional.
  • Remove any objects that could be used in a suicide attempts.
  • If possible, do not leave the person alone (however it is important to ensure your personal safety as well).


Research/References and Resources