Suicide Facts

  • Over 50 percent of all people who die by suicide suffer from major depression.  
  • Depression affects nearly 5-8 percent of Americans ages 18 and over in a given year.
  • More Americans suffer from depression than coronary heart disease, cancer, and HIV/AIDS.
  • Depression is among the most treatable of psychiatric illnesses.
  • Suicide is preventable.
  • For every reported suicide death, approximately 11.4 people visit a hospital for self-harm related injuries.
  • Most suicidal individuals desperately want to live; they are just unable to see alternatives to their problems.
  • Psychological autopsy studies reflect that more than 90 percent of completed suicides had one or more mental disorders, most notably depression.
America
  • A person dies by suicide about every 12.8 minutes in the United States.
  • Suicide rates by state below.
The World
  • More people die from suicide than from conflict, wars, and natural disasters combined.
  • On average, almost 3000 people commit suicide every day.
  • Every 30 seconds, the loss of a person who killed themselves shatters the lives of family and friends.
  • For every person who completes a suicide, 20 or more may attempt suicide.
  • There is a growing awareness of suicide as a major public health problem, even though there is a taboo in many societies against discussing it openly.
  • Worldwide, suicide rates have increased by 60% over the last 50 years, and the increase has been particularly marked in developing countries.
  • Although reported suicide is now among the three leading global causes of death among young people aged 15-34 years, the majority of suicides are reported in adults and older adults (60 years and older).
  • The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that each year approximately one million people die from suicide, which represents a global mortality rate of 16 people per 100,000 or one death every 40 seconds. It is predicted that by 2020 the rate of death will increase to one every 20 seconds. (Source)
  • Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death in the world for those aged 15-24.
  • Depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide. (Source)
  • Suicide in South Korea is the 10th highest in the world (according to the World Health Organization).
  • One reason for its high suicide rate compared to other countries is a large amount of suicide among the elderly. The prevalence of suicide among elderly South Koreans is due to the amount of widespread poverty among senior citizens in South Korea. (Source)
  • South Korean Kpop star died by suicide in December 2017. (Source)
  • Japan has the highest suicide rate among Asian countries with more than 30,000 Japanese killing themselves each year. (Source)
  • Suicide is the second leading cause of death for Asian-Americans aged 15-34, according to the American Psychological Association. (Source)
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Adolescents
  • In 2016, adolescents and young adults aged 15 to 24 had a suicide rate of 13.15. (Source)
  • Suicide is the third leading cause of death for youth between the ages of 10 and 24, and results in approximately 4,600 lives lost each year.
  • A nationwide survey of high school students in the United States found that 16% of students reported seriously considering suicide
  • 13% reported creating a plan
  • Of the reported suicides in the 10 to 24 age group, 81% of the deaths were males and 19% were females. (Source)
LGBTQ+
  • Lesbian, gay, and bisexual kids are 3x more likely than straight kids to attempt suicide at some point in their lives.
  • Medically serious attempts at suicide are 4x more likely among LGBTQ youth than other young people.
  • African American, Latino, Native American, and Asian American people who are lesbian, gay, or bisexual attempt suicide at especially high rates.
  • Lesbian, gay, and bisexual young people who come from families that reject or do not accept them are over 8x more likely to attempt suicide than those whose families accept them.
  • Each time an LGBTQ person is a victim of physical or verbal harassment or abuse, they become 2.5x more likely to hurt themselves.
  • 41% of trans adults said they had attempted suicide, in one study. The same study found that 61% of trans people who were victims of physical assault had attempted suicide.

(Source)

Police
  • The rate for police suicides in 2017 was back up to 16/100,000, compared to a public rate of 13.5/100,000. (Source)
  • In 2016 108 officers took their own life. That’s a 14% decrease from the 2012 number. (Source)
  • 108 law enforcement officers took their own life compared to 126 suicides in 2012 (the last year of a full study by the Badge of Life). (Source)
  • For every one police suicide, almost 1,000 officers continue to work while suffering the painful symptoms of PTSD. (Source)
Men
  • Men die by suicide 3.53x more often than women.
  • White males accounted for 7 of 10 suicides (in America) in 2016.
  • The rate of suicide is highest in middle-aged white men. (Source)
  • Suicide among males is 4x’s higher than among females. Male deaths represent 79% of all US suicides. (CDC)
  • Firearms are the most commonly used method of suicide among males (51%). (CDC)
  • Suicide rates for males are highest among those aged 75+ (36 per 100,000). (CDC) (Source)
Women
  • In the last 45 years suicide rates have increased by 60% worldwide. Suicide is now among the three leading causes of death among those aged 15-44 (male and female). Suicide attempts are up to 20 times more frequent than completed suicides.
  • Although suicide rates have traditionally been highest amongst elderly males, rates among young people have been increasing to such an extent that they are now the group at highest risk in a third of all countries.
  • Mental health disorders (particularly depression and substance abuse) are associated with more than 90% of all cases of suicide.
  • However, suicide results from many complex sociocultural factors and is more likely to occur during periods of socioeconomic, family and individual crisis (e.g. loss of a loved one, unemployment, sexual orientation, difficulties with developing one’s identity, dissociation from one’s community or other social/belief group, and honour).
  • In Europe, particularly Eastern Europe, the highest suicide rates are reported for both men and women.
  • The Eastern Mediterranean Region and Central Asia republics have the lowest suicide rates.
  • Nearly 30% of all suicides worldwide occur in India and China.
  • Suicides globally by age are as follows: 55% are aged between 15 to 44 years and 45% are aged 45 years and over.
  • Youth suicide is increasing at the greatest rate.

In the US, the Centre of Disease Control and Prevention reports that:

  • Overall, suicide is the eleventh leading cause of death for all US Americans, and is the third leading cause of death for young people 15-24 years.
  • Although suicide is a serious problem among the young and adults, death rates continue to be highest among older adults ages 65 years and over.
  • Males are four times more likely to die from suicide than are females. However, females are more likely to attempt suicide than are males.
  • Females attempt suicide 3x’s as often as males. (CDC)
  • Poisoning is the most common method of suicide for females. (CDC)
  • Females experience depression at roughly 2x’s the rate of men.(SMH)

 

Minority Groups
  • Research indicates that suicide rates appear to be increasing within native and indigenous populations such as the Native Americans in the US and Alaska, and the Aborigines in Australia and New Zealand. Suicide rates within migrant communities such as African and East Asian Americans or the Black British community are, also of growing concern. Statistics show a rise but in some countries it can be difficult to calculate. For example, in the UK the place of birth is recorded on the death certificate, not ethnicity, therefore reducing data on suicides amongst minority groups. (Source)
  • In 2016, the rate of suicide among American Indians/Alaska Natives was 21.39 per 100,000 and among whites it was 18.15. In contrast, the suicide rate among Asian/Pacific Islanders was 7.00; the rate for blacks was 6.35; and the rate among Hispanics was 6.38. (Source)
  • African-Americans make up about 12 to 13 percent of the U.S. population and are underrepresented in suicide data
  • American Indians and Alaskan Natives had the highest suicide rate of any race or ethnicity: 21.39 suicides per 100,000 people, while representing approximately 3 percent of the total U.S. population.
Veterans
  • The biggest group of soldier suicides comes from older vets, aged 50 and above.
  • 20 veterans take their lives every day – 16 of which are not under VA care.
  • It is known that the rate of death by suicide among Veterans who do not use VA care is increasing at a significantly greater rate than that among Veterans who do use VA care.

Veterans are committing suicide in these high numbers attributed to triggering points:

  • Depression
  • Survivor’s guilt
  • Self-blame for mission failure
  • Impaired thinking caused by alcohol or substance abuse
  • An Altered worldview due to post-traumatic stress
  • Traumatic brain injury
Substance Abuse
  • Substance abuse and addiction actually increase the severity and duration of depressive episodes, despite any temporary relief they may provide, actually greatly increasing the likelihood of suicidal thoughts (suicidal ideation). This is exacerbated by the fact that addiction frequently damages or destroys familial, professional, personal, and financial relationships, further increasing the risk of suicide. Even worse, many substances severely impact judgment, leading to suicide attempts.
  • Of all the factors associated with suicide, only depression (66% of people who commit suicide are dealing with depression at the time) is more closely correlated than substance abuse.
  • Individuals with a substance abuse disorder are nearly six times as likely to attempt suicide at some point in their life.
  • Among veterans, men with a substance abuse disorder are more than twice as likely to commit suicide, and women with a substance abuse disorder are 6.5 times as likely to commit suicide.
  • In 2015, over 33,000 Americans died from opioids. Due to the nature of overdose, it is impossible to know how many of these deaths were accidental and how many were suicides.
  • Men with an opioid use disorder were twice as likely to commit suicide, and women with an opioid use disorder were eight times as likely to commit suicide.
  • Opioid use is associated with a 40%-60% increased likelihood of suicidal thought, and a 75% increased likelihood of suicide attempt.
  • Some studies suggest that opioid and injection drug users are 13 times as likely to die by suicide.
Rural Areas
  • Rural counties consistently had higher suicide rates than metropolitan counties from 2001-2015, according to data released today in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
  • Findings by age group revealed increases in suicide rates for all ages with the highest rates and greatest rate increases in rural counties.
  • “The trends in suicide rates by sex, race, ethnicity, age, and mechanism that we see in the general population are magnified in rural areas,” said James A. Mercy, Ph.D., director of CDC’s Division of Violence Prevention. “This report underscores the need for suicide prevention strategies that are tailored specifically for these communities.” (Source)
  • Demographics, gun ownership and the economy largely account for the regional differences
  • Suicide rate for counties outside of metropolitan areas climbed about 14 percent over the five-year period ending in 2016. By comparison, the rate within metro areas also increased — but only by 8 percent
  • Montana, Alaska and Wyoming having the highest rates of suicide. (Source)
Mental Disorders & Comorbidity
  • the majority (more than 90 per cent) of those who do die by suicide have been diagnosed with a mental illness.
  • Being diagnosed with more than one mental illness may also increase the risk of suicide. Suffering from depression alongside other diagnoses, increases the likelihood of a suicide attempt. (Source)
  • The mental illness at highest risk of suicide is Bipolar Disorder at 7.77 percent taking their own lives.
  • With a rate of 6.55 percent, schizophrenia clocks in as the 3rd highest mental illness resulting in suicide.
  • Unipolar Disorder- also known as major depressive disorder, this is like bipolar without the manic highs, and the resulting suicide rate is about 6.67 percent.
  • Of all the mental illnesses, eating disorders have the highest mortality rate, though not the highest suicide rate. 30-50 percent of anorexics have a comorbid (occurring at the same time) mood disorder, and about one in five anorexia deaths is by suicide. (Source)