What Do You Know About Suicide?

IMO, suicide IS a long-term solution for what may be a short-term problem. Who are you to say that there will not be a scientific or spiritual breakthrough within a matter of weeks. 

If you take your life there are no choices left.

I am not patronizing you. I have been suicidal on many occasions. I am here giving testimony that even though the depression, hopelessness and so very tired feelings can still be part of your life from time to time, what you can decide is that: "Suicide is no longer an option!

If you are feeling suicidal now, please stop long enough to read this by "Clicking Here"
Suicide was the 8th leading cause of death in the United States during 1997. More than 30,000 people die annually in the U.S. Suicidal people are often depressed but there are neurobiological and psychological aspects to understand also.

Facts About Suicide

Studies indicate that the best way to prevent suicide is through the early recognition and treatment of depression and other psychiatric illnesses.

True or false? Most people who talk about killing themselves rarely do.


Facts about:

Older People


Alcohol and Suicide

Firearms and Suicide

Medical Illness and Suicide

  • Over 30,000 people in the United States kill themselves every year.

  • Accounting for 1.3% of all deaths, suicide is the eighth leading cause of death in the U.S.

  • A person dies by suicide about every eighteen minutes in the U.S. An attempt is made an estimated once a minute.

  • There are more than four male suicides for every female suicide. However, at least twice as many females as males attempt suicide.

  • Every day, approximately eighty-six Americans take their own life, and 1500 attempt

  • There are an estimated eight to twenty-five attempted suicides to one completion.


  • Suicide is the sixth leading cause of death among all those 5-14 years old.

  • Suicide is the third leading cause of death among all those 15-24 years old.

  • The suicide rate for white males aged 15-24 has tripled since 1950, while for white females it has more than doubled. Among persons aged 10-14 years, the rate has increased by 100%.

  • Between 1980-1996, the suicide rate for African-American males aged 15-19 increased 105%.

  • Risk factors for suicide among the young include suicidal thoughts, psychiatric disorders (such as depression, impulsive aggressive behavior, bipolar disorder, certain anxiety disorders), drug and/or alcohol abuse and previous suicide attempts, with the risk increased if there is also access to firearms and situational stress.


  • The suicide rates for men are relatively constant from ages 25-64, but increase significantly after age 65. White men 85 and older have a suicide rate that is six times that of the overall national rate.

  • The suicide rates for women peak between the ages of 45-64 years old, and do so again after age 75.

  • Most elderly patients who complete suicide see their physicians within a few months of their death and more than a third within the week of their suicide.

  • Eight to 20 percent of older Americans and up to 37 percent in primary care settings experience symptoms of minor depression. Among those aged 65 and over, many as 3 out of 100 suffer from clinical depression.

  • Risk factors for suicide among the elderly include the presence of a mental illness — especially depression and alcohol abuse; the presence of a physical illness; social isolation – especially being widowed in males; and the availability of firearms in the home.


  • Over 60% of all people who die by suicide suffer from major depression. If one includes alcoholics who are depressed, this figure rises to over 75%.

  • More Americans suffer from depression than coronary heart disease (7 million), cancer (6 million), and AIDS (200,000).

  • Depression affects nearly 10 percent of Americans ages 18 and over in a given year, or more than 19 million people in 1998.

  • About 15% of the population will suffer from clinical depression at some time during their lifetime. Thirty percent of all clinically depressed inpatients attempt suicide.

  • Depression is among the most treatable of psychiatric illnesses. Some estimates suggest that between 80% and 90% of people with depression respond positively to treatment, and almost all patients gain some relief from their symptoms. But first, depression has to be recognized.


  • 96% of alcoholics who die by suicide continue their substance abuse up to the end of their lives.

  • Alcoholism is a factor in about 30% of all completed suicides.

  • Approximately 7 percent of those with alcohol dependence will die by suicide.

  • Click here to read an article about alcoholism and suicide risk.


  • Although most gun owners reportedly keep a firearm in their home for “protection” or “self defense,” 83% of gun related deaths in these homes are the result of a suicide, often by someone other than the gun owner.

  • Death by firearms is the fastest growing method of suicide.

  • Firearm suicide accounts for nearly 57 percent of all firearm deaths in this country — more than any other cause of firearm injury deaths.

  • White males aged 85 years and over account for the highest rate for suicide by firearms.


  • Patients who desire an early death during a serious or terminal illness are usually suffering from a treatable depressive condition.

  • People with AIDS have a suicide risk up to 20 times that of the general population.

Danger Signals

  • Past History of Attempted Suicide

    This is the strongest predictor of suicide.
    Suicidal ideation, talk or preparation are all strong predictors of suicide.

  • Certain Psychiatric Problems

    • Depression, hopelessness

    • Schizophrenia

    • Substance Abuse (alcoholism, drug abuse)

    • Personality Disorders, especially Borderline, Antisocial

  • Situational Risk Factors

    • Stressful Life Events (e.g. death of a loved one, recent loss of employment)

    • Loss or Disruption of Normal Social Support Networks (e.g. divorce, unemployment, migration)

    • Absent or Inadequate Social Support Networks (This often develops from other risk factors such as recent stressful life events or leads to risk factors such as clinical depression.)

  • Contagion

    The contagion hypothesis suggests that exposure to suicide or suicidal behavior by other may be a risk factor for suicide.
    Most commonly applied to suicide clusters seen among teenagers and young adults.

  • Genetic Predisposition

    • Individuals who attempt or complete suicide often have a significant family history of suicidal behaviors.

    • Twin studies suggest a genetically based risk for suicide that my be inherited independently of major psychiatric illness.

  • Neurotransmitters

    A clear relationship has been demonstrated between low concentrations of the serotonin metabolite 5-hydroxyindoleactic acid (5-HIAA) in cerebrospinal fluid and an increased incidence of attempted and completed suicide in psychiatric patients. This association also may hold true for individuals with a personality disorder or with schizophrenia.

  • Ready Accessibility of Firearms

    • Firearms are the most frequently used method of suicide.

    • Firearm suicides often are immediately fatal leaving minimal opportunity for post-attempt rescue.

    • Firearms both limit the pre-attempt opportunity for intervention by others

  • Demographics

    • Gender: Males are three to five times more likely to commit suicide than females.

    • Age: While most suicides occur among persons less than 40 years of age, the Caucasian elderly population displays the highest rate of suicide.

The comments contained in this website are based on professional advice, published experience, and expert opinion, but do NOT represent therapeutic recommendation or prescription. For specific information and advice, consult your personal clinician.

False - Most suicide victims have indicated their intentions at some point so their statements should be taken seriously.

*Rates are based on 1998 United States statistics (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics)