Suicide FactsSuicide takes the lives of nearly 30,000 Americans every year.
Many who attempt suicide never seek professional care.
There are twice as many deaths due to suicide than HIV/AIDS.
Between 1952 and 1995, suicide in young adults nearly tripled.
Over half of all suicides occur in adult men, ages 25-65.
In the month prior to their suicide, 75% of elderly persons had visited a physician.
Suicide rates in the United States are highest in the spring.
Over half of all suicides are completed with a firearm.
Symptoms and Danger Signs
Warning Signs of SuicideThese signs may mean someone is at risk for suicide. Risk is greater if a behavior is new or has increased 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 searching 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 agitated; behaving recklessly.
- Sleeping too little or too much.
- Withdrawn or feeling isolated.
- Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge.
- Displaying extreme mood swings.
Additional Warning Signs of Suicide
- Preoccupation with death.
- Suddenly happier, calmer.
- Loss of interest in things one cares about.
- Visiting or calling people to say goodbye.
- Making arrangements; setting one's affairs in order.
- Giving things away, such as prized possessions.
In an emergency, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
Common MisconceptionsThe following are common misconceptions about suicide:
"People who talk about suicide won't really do it."Not True. Almost everyone who commits or attempts suicide has given some clue or warning. Do not ignore suicide threats. Statements like "you'll be sorry when I'm dead," "I can't see any way out," -- no matter how casually or jokingly said, may indicate serious suicidal feelings.
"Anyone who tries to kill him/herself must be crazy."Not True. Most suicidal people are not psychotic or insane. They may be upset, grief-stricken, depressed or despairing. Extreme distress and emotional pain are always signs of mental illness but are not signs of psychosis.
"If a person is determined to kill him/herself, nothing is going to stop him/her."Not True. Even the most severely depressed person has mixed feelings about death, and most waiver until the very last moment between wanting to live and wanting to end their pain. Most suicidal people do not want to die; they want the pain to stop. The impulse to end it all, however overpowering, does not last forever.
"People who commit suicide are people who were unwilling to seek help."Not True. Studies of adult suicide victims have shown that more then half had sought medical help within six month before their deaths and a majority had seen a medical professional within 1 month of their death.
"Talking about suicide may give someone the idea."Not True. You don't give a suicidal person ideas by talking about suicide. The opposite is true -- bringing up the subject of suicide and discussing it openly is one of the most helpful things you can do.
Suicidal Thoughts: What to Do
If you have thoughts of suicide, these options are available to you:
- Dial: 911
- Dial: 1-800-273-TALK (8255). For deaf and hearing impaired, click here for options to contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.
- Check yourself into the emergency room.
- Call your local crisis agency.
- Tell someone who can help you find help immediately.
- Stay away from things that might hurt you.
- Most people can be treated with a combination of antidepressant medication and psychotherapy.
If You Don't Have InsuranceThe following options might be used:
- Go to the nearest hospital emergency room.
- Look in your local Yellow Pages under Mental Health and/or Suicide Prevention; then call the mental health organizations/crisis phone lines that are listed. There may be clinics or counseling centers in your area operating on a sliding or no-fee scale.
- Some pharmaceutical companies have "Free Medication Programs" for those who qualify.