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Suicide in the United States - Statistics & Facts

Suicide in the United States remains a serious and often overlooked public health issue. It is currently the tenth leading cause of death in the United States, with rates over three times higher among males. However, over the last decade, both males and females have seen increases in suicide death rates. Men aged 75 years and older have the highest death rates from suicide among males, while the highest rates for females are among women aged 45 to 64 years. The states with the highest death rates from suicide are New Mexico, Montana, and Wyoming.

Warning signs and prevention

It is often difficult to tell when someone is having suicidal thoughts. If you suspect a family member or friend is contemplating suicide, it is important to voice concerns in a calm, non-judgmental, non-confrontational manner. In 2019, around 4.5 percent of males and 5.1 percent of females in the United States reported having serious thoughts of suicide in the past year. Warning signs to look out for include talking about death, expressing feelings of hopelessness and loneliness, withdrawing from social activities, behaving aggressively or recklessly, and suffering dramatic mood swings. Suicidal thoughts, plans, and attempts are much more common among those with drug or alcohol dependence or those who have suffered a recent major depressive episode. In 2019, around 32 percent of U.S. adults with a major depressive episode in the past year had serious thoughts of suicide, compared with just 2.5 percent who did not have such an episode.

Causes and methods

Factors that increase the risk of suicide include mental illness, substance abuse, chronic disease, childhood trauma, social loss, the loss of a job, and a lack of treatment for mental health issues. However, there is usually no single reason why someone takes their own life. Recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that around 50 percent of those who die from suicide have a diagnosed mental illness. Furthermore, around 31 percent of suicide victims had a crisis around the time of their death, while 22 percent had a physical health condition. In the United States, the most common method of suicide is by firearm. There were 24,432 suicide deaths involving firearms in 2018, compared with 13,840 deaths involving suffocation, which was the second most common suicide method. Firearms are the most common method of suicide for both males and females in the U.S., but this method is much more common among males. Firearms, poisoning, and suffocation account for an almost equal share of suicide deaths among females.

If you are having suicidal thoughts, or you know someone who is, it is essential to seek help. Many countries have suicide crisis or prevention lines that offer free advice and support in such situations. If you live in the United States, you can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

Key figures

The most important key figures provide you with a compact summary of the topic of "Suicide in the U.S." and take you straight to the corresponding statistics.

Suicide rates

Suicide thoughts, plans, and attempts

Suicide methods

Suicide among adolescents

Interesting statistics

In the following 6 chapters, you will quickly find the 41 most important statistics relating to "Suicide in the U.S.".

Suicide in the U.S.

Dossier on the topic

All important statistics are prepared by our experts – available for direct download as PPT & PDF!
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Suicide in the United States - Statistics & Facts

Suicide in the United States remains a serious and often overlooked public health issue. It is currently the tenth leading cause of death in the United States, with rates over three times higher among males. However, over the last decade, both males and females have seen increases in suicide death rates. Men aged 75 years and older have the highest death rates from suicide among males, while the highest rates for females are among women aged 45 to 64 years. The states with the highest death rates from suicide are New Mexico, Montana, and Wyoming.

Warning signs and prevention

It is often difficult to tell when someone is having suicidal thoughts. If you suspect a family member or friend is contemplating suicide, it is important to voice concerns in a calm, non-judgmental, non-confrontational manner. In 2019, around 4.5 percent of males and 5.1 percent of females in the United States reported having serious thoughts of suicide in the past year. Warning signs to look out for include talking about death, expressing feelings of hopelessness and loneliness, withdrawing from social activities, behaving aggressively or recklessly, and suffering dramatic mood swings. Suicidal thoughts, plans, and attempts are much more common among those with drug or alcohol dependence or those who have suffered a recent major depressive episode. In 2019, around 32 percent of U.S. adults with a major depressive episode in the past year had serious thoughts of suicide, compared with just 2.5 percent who did not have such an episode.

Causes and methods

Factors that increase the risk of suicide include mental illness, substance abuse, chronic disease, childhood trauma, social loss, the loss of a job, and a lack of treatment for mental health issues. However, there is usually no single reason why someone takes their own life. Recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that around 50 percent of those who die from suicide have a diagnosed mental illness. Furthermore, around 31 percent of suicide victims had a crisis around the time of their death, while 22 percent had a physical health condition. In the United States, the most common method of suicide is by firearm. There were 24,432 suicide deaths involving firearms in 2018, compared with 13,840 deaths involving suffocation, which was the second most common suicide method. Firearms are the most common method of suicide for both males and females in the U.S., but this method is much more common among males. Firearms, poisoning, and suffocation account for an almost equal share of suicide deaths among females.

If you are having suicidal thoughts, or you know someone who is, it is essential to seek help. Many countries have suicide crisis or prevention lines that offer free advice and support in such situations. If you live in the United States, you can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

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