//Suicide Prevention
Suicide Prevention2018-09-14T12:10:11+00:00

Suicide Prevention

Suicide Prevention

Suicide Prevention

If you know someone in crisis:
Call the toll-free National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (NSPL) at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The service is available to everyone. The deaf and hard of hearing can contact the Lifeline via TTY at 1-800-799-4889. All calls are confidential.

Contact social media outlets directly if you are concerned about a friend’s social media updates or dial 911 in an emergency.

Suicide is a major public health concern. Over 40,000 people die by suicide each year in the United States; it is the 10th leading cause of death overall. Suicide is complicated and tragic but it is often preventable. Knowing the warning signs for suicide and how to get help can help save lives.

Statistics:

The behaviors listed below may be signs that someone is thinking about suicide.

  • Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the US for all ages. (CDC)
  • Every day, approximately 105 Americans die by suicide. (CDC)
  • There is one death by suicide in the US every 13 minutes. (CDC)
  • Depression affects 20-25% of Americans ages 18+ in a given year. (CDC)
  • Suicide takes the lives of over 38,000 Americans every year. (CDC)
  • The highest suicide rates in the US are among Whites, American Indians and Alaska Natives.
  • Only half of all Americans experiencing an episode of major depression receive treatment. (NAMI)
  • 80% -90% of people that seek treatment for depression are treated successfully using therapy and/or medication. (TAPS study)
  • An estimated quarter million people each year become suicide survivors (AAS).
  • There is one suicide for every estimated 25 suicide attempts. (CDC)
  • There is one suicide for every estimated 4 suicide attempts in the elderly. (CDC)

Additional Facts About Suicide in the US:

  • The annual age-adjusted suicide rate is 13.26 per 100,000 individuals.
  • Men die by suicide 3.5x more often than women.
  • On average, there are 121 suicides per day.
  • White males accounted for 7 of 10 suicides in 2015.
  • Firearms account for almost 50% of all suicides.
  • The rate of suicide is highest in middle age — white men in particular.

Suicide Rates by Age

In 2015, the highest suicide rate (19.6) was among adults between 45 and 64 years of age. The second highest rate (19.4) occurred in those 85 years or older. Younger groups have had consistently lower suicide rates than middle-aged and older adults. In 2015, adolescents and young adults aged 15 to 24 had a suicide rate of 12.5.

Suicide Rates by Race/Ethnicity

In 2015, the highest U.S. suicide rate (15.1) was among Whites and the second highest rate (12.6) was among American Indians and Alaska Natives (Figure 5). Much lower and roughly similar rates were found among Hispanics (5.8), Asians and Pacific Islanders (6.4), and Blacks (5.6).

Note that the CDC records Hispanic origin separately from the primary racial or ethnic groups of White, Black, American Indian or Alaskan Native, and Asian or Pacific Islander, since individuals in all of these groups may also be Hispanic.

Suicide Methods

In 2015, firearms were the most common method of death by suicide, accounting for a little less than half (49.8%) of all suicide deaths. The next most common methods were suffocation (including hangings) at 26.8% and poisoning at 15.4%.

Suicide Attempts

No complete count is kept of suicide attempts in the U.S.; however, each year the CDC gathers data from hospitals on non-fatal injuries from self-harm.

494,169 people visited a hospital for injuries due to self-harm. This number suggests that approximately 12 people harm themselves for every reported death by suicide. However, because of the way these data are collected, we are not able to distinguish intentional suicide attempts from non-intentional self-harm behaviors.

Many suicide attempts, however, go unreported or untreated. Surveys suggest that at least one million people in the U.S. each year engage in intentionally inflicted self-harm.

Females attempt suicide three times more often than males. As with suicide deaths, rates of attempted suicide vary considerably among demographic groups. While males are 4 times more likely than females to die by suicide, females attempt suicide 3 times as often as males. The ratio of suicide attempts to suicide death in youth is estimated to be about 25:1, compared to about 4:1 in the elderly.

Suicide Warning Signs:

Something to look out for when concerned that a person may be suicidal is a change in behavior or the presence of entirely new behaviors. This is of sharpest concern if the new or changed behavior is related to a painful event, loss, or change. Most people who take their lives exhibit one or more warning signs, either through what they say or what they do.

Talk

If a person talks about:

  • Being a burden to others
  • Feeling trapped
  • Experiencing unbearable pain
  • Having no reason to live
  • Killing themselves

Behavior

Specific things to look out for include:

  • Looking for a way to kill themselves, such as searching online for materials or means
  • Increased use of alcohol or drugs
  • Acting recklessly
  • Withdrawing from activities
  • Isolating from family and friends
  • Sleeping too much or too little
  • Visiting or calling people to say goodbye
  • Giving away prized possessions
  • Aggression

Mood

People who are considering suicide often display one or more of the following moods:

  • Depression
  • Loss of interest
  • Rage
  • Irritability
  • Humiliation
  • Anxiety

If these warning signs apply to you or someone you know, get help as soon as possible, particularly if the behavior is new or has increased recently. One resource is the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, 1-800-273-TALK (8255). The Lifeline is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The deaf and hard of hearing can contact the Lifeline via TTY at 1-800-799-4889.

Risk factors for Suicide:

What leads to suicide?

There’s no single cause for suicide. Suicide most often occurs when stressors exceed current coping abilities of someone suffering from a mental health condition. Depression is the most common condition associated with suicide, and it is often undiagnosed or untreated. Conditions like depression, anxiety and substance problems, especially when unaddressed, increase risk for suicide. Yet it’s important to note that most people who actively manage their mental health conditions lead fulfilling lives.

The main risk factors for suicide are:

Risk factors are characteristics or conditions that increase the chance that a person may try to take their life.

Health Factors:

  • Mental health conditions

    • Depression
    • Bipolar (manic-depressive) disorder
    • Schizophrenia
    • Borderline or antisocial personality disorder
    • Conduct disorder
    • Psychotic disorders, or psychotic symptoms in the context of any disorder
    • Anxiety disorders
  • Substance abuse disorders
  • Serious or chronic health condition and/or pain

Environmental Factors

  • Stressful life events which may include a death, divorce, or job loss
  • Prolonged stress factors which may include harassment, bullying, relationship problems, and unemployment
  • Access to lethal means including firearms and drugs
  • Exposure to another person’s suicide, or to graphic or sensationalized accounts of suicide

Historical Factors:

  • Previous suicide attempts
  • Family history of suicide attempts

Treatment and Therapies:

Ninety percent of people who die by suicide have a mental disorder at the time of their deaths. There are biological and psychological treatments that can help address the underlying health issues that put people at risk for suicide.

Treatment for Suicide and Suicide Attempts

At this time, there is only one medication, clozapine, approved by the FDA for suicide risk reduction in patients with schizophrenia. There is one study of mood disorder patients that shows that treatment with antidepressants, atypical antipsychotics, and lithium reduced death by suicide. There are meta-analyses of small lithium studies that show that suicide is reduced in patients with either bipolar disorder or major depression taking lithium, but those findings are controversial.

There are two proven psychotherapies for treating those who attempt suicide: cognitive behavior therapy for suicide attempters (CBT for suicide attempters) and dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) for patients with borderline personality disorder and recurrent suicidal ideation and behaviors. Clearly theses short term interactive therapies make a difference.

There are many small studies of various interventions, including promising short term therapies that include the family, that show that repeat suicide attempts are reduced under the treatment condition being tested.

Psychotherapies

Beyond medicines, specific types of psychotherapies have been proven effective for treating depression. These are usually short term lasting from 12–16 weeks and they are formalized and interactive. Sessions may take place one to two times a week with a professional who has been specifically trained and certified in the treatment they are using.

The most common types of psychotherapy for depression are cognitive behavior therapy (CBT), interpersonal therapy (IPT), behavioral activation (BH), and cognitive behavioral analysis system of psychotherapy (CBASP). There is clear evidence from research studies that combining antidepressants with any one of these psychotherapies is the best treatment for chronic depression, meaning that the patient has had a depressive illness for two years or more.

If you are in crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741-741.

Medications:

Some individuals at risk for suicide might benefit from medication. Doctors and patients can work together to find the best medication or medication combination, as well as the right dose.
Clozapine, is an antipsychotic medication used primarily to treat individuals with schizophrenia. However, it is the only medication with a specific U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) indication for reducing the risk of recurrent suicidal behavior in patients with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder who are at risk for ongoing suicidal behavior. Because many individuals at risk for suicide often have psychiatric and substance use problems, individuals might benefit from medication along with psychosocial intervention.

If you are prescribed a medication, be sure you:

  • Talk with your doctor or a pharmacist to make sure you understand the risks and benefits of the medications you’re taking.
  • Do not stop taking a medication without talking to your doctor first. Suddenly stopping a medication may lead to “rebound” or worsening of symptoms. Other uncomfortable or potentially dangerous withdrawal effects also are possible.
  • Report any concerns about side effects to your doctor right away. You may need a change in the dose or a different medication.
  • Report serious side effects to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online or by phone at 1-800-332-1088. You or your doctor may send a report.

Other medications have been used to treat suicidal thoughts and behaviors but more research is needed to show the benefit for these options. For basic information about these medications, you can visit the NIMH Mental Health Medications webpage. For the most up-to-date information on medications, side effects, and warnings, visit the FDA website .

Helping Someone in Emotional Pain:

5 Action Steps for Helping Someone in Emotional Pain:

  • 1. Ask: “Are you thinking about killing yourself?” It’s not an easy question but studies show that asking at-risk individuals if they are suicidal does not increase suicides or suicidal thoughts.
  • 2. Keep them safe: Reducing a suicidal person’s access to highly lethal items or places is an important part of suicide prevention. While this is not always easy, asking if the at-risk person has a plan and removing or disabling the lethal means can make a difference.
  • 3. Be there: Listen carefully and learn what the individual is thinking and feeling. Findings suggest acknowledging and talking about suicide may in fact reduce rather than increase suicidal thoughts.
  • 4. Help them connect: Save the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline’s number in your phone so it’s there when you need it: 1-800-8255 (TALK). You can also help make a connection with a trusted individual like a family member, friend, spiritual advisor, or mental health professional.
  • 5. Stay Connected: Staying in touch after a crisis or after being discharged from care can make a difference. Studies have shown the number of suicide deaths goes down when someone follows up with the at-risk person.

Instant access: It may be helpful to save several emergency numbers to your cell phone. The ability to get immediate help for yourself or for a friend can make a difference.

  • The phone number for a trusted friend or relative
  • The non-emergency number for the local police department
  • The Crisis Text Line: 741741
  • The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)

Social Media: Knowing how to get help for a social media friend can save a life. Contact the social media site directly if you are concerned about a friend’s updates or dial 911 in an emergency.

Statistics:

The behaviors listed below may be signs that someone is thinking about suicide.

  • Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the US for all ages. (CDC)
  • Every day, approximately 105 Americans die by suicide. (CDC)
  • There is one death by suicide in the US every 13 minutes. (CDC)
  • Depression affects 20-25% of Americans ages 18+ in a given year. (CDC)
  • Suicide takes the lives of over 38,000 Americans every year. (CDC)
  • The highest suicide rates in the US are among Whites, American Indians and Alaska Natives.
  • Only half of all Americans experiencing an episode of major depression receive treatment. (NAMI)
  • 80% -90% of people that seek treatment for depression are treated successfully using therapy and/or medication. (TAPS study)
  • An estimated quarter million people each year become suicide survivors (AAS).
  • There is one suicide for every estimated 25 suicide attempts. (CDC)
  • There is one suicide for every estimated 4 suicide attempts in the elderly. (CDC)

Additional Facts About Suicide in the US:

  • The annual age-adjusted suicide rate is 13.26 per 100,000 individuals.
  • Men die by suicide 3.5x more often than women.
  • On average, there are 121 suicides per day.
  • White males accounted for 7 of 10 suicides in 2015.
  • Firearms account for almost 50% of all suicides.
  • The rate of suicide is highest in middle age — white men in particular.

Suicide Rates by Age

In 2015, the highest suicide rate (19.6) was among adults between 45 and 64 years of age. The second highest rate (19.4) occurred in those 85 years or older. Younger groups have had consistently lower suicide rates than middle-aged and older adults. In 2015, adolescents and young adults aged 15 to 24 had a suicide rate of 12.5.

Suicide Rates by Race/Ethnicity

In 2015, the highest U.S. suicide rate (15.1) was among Whites and the second highest rate (12.6) was among American Indians and Alaska Natives (Figure 5). Much lower and roughly similar rates were found among Hispanics (5.8), Asians and Pacific Islanders (6.4), and Blacks (5.6).

Note that the CDC records Hispanic origin separately from the primary racial or ethnic groups of White, Black, American Indian or Alaskan Native, and Asian or Pacific Islander, since individuals in all of these groups may also be Hispanic.

Suicide Methods

In 2015, firearms were the most common method of death by suicide, accounting for a little less than half (49.8%) of all suicide deaths. The next most common methods were suffocation (including hangings) at 26.8% and poisoning at 15.4%.

Suicide Attempts

No complete count is kept of suicide attempts in the U.S.; however, each year the CDC gathers data from hospitals on non-fatal injuries from self-harm.

494,169 people visited a hospital for injuries due to self-harm. This number suggests that approximately 12 people harm themselves for every reported death by suicide. However, because of the way these data are collected, we are not able to distinguish intentional suicide attempts from non-intentional self-harm behaviors.

Many suicide attempts, however, go unreported or untreated. Surveys suggest that at least one million people in the U.S. each year engage in intentionally inflicted self-harm.

Females attempt suicide three times more often than males. As with suicide deaths, rates of attempted suicide vary considerably among demographic groups. While males are 4 times more likely than females to die by suicide, females attempt suicide 3 times as often as males. The ratio of suicide attempts to suicide death in youth is estimated to be about 25:1, compared to about 4:1 in the elderly.

Suicide Warning Signs:

Something to look out for when concerned that a person may be suicidal is a change in behavior or the presence of entirely new behaviors. This is of sharpest concern if the new or changed behavior is related to a painful event, loss, or change. Most people who take their lives exhibit one or more warning signs, either through what they say or what they do.

Talk

If a person talks about:

  • Being a burden to others
  • Feeling trapped
  • Experiencing unbearable pain
  • Having no reason to live
  • Killing themselves

Behavior

Specific things to look out for include:

  • Looking for a way to kill themselves, such as searching online for materials or means
  • Increased use of alcohol or drugs
  • Acting recklessly
  • Withdrawing from activities
  • Isolating from family and friends
  • Sleeping too much or too little
  • Visiting or calling people to say goodbye
  • Giving away prized possessions
  • Aggression

Mood

People who are considering suicide often display one or more of the following moods:

  • Depression
  • Loss of interest
  • Rage
  • Irritability
  • Humiliation
  • Anxiety

If these warning signs apply to you or someone you know, get help as soon as possible, particularly if the behavior is new or has increased recently. One resource is the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, 1-800-273-TALK (8255). The Lifeline is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The deaf and hard of hearing can contact the Lifeline via TTY at 1-800-799-4889.

Risk factors for Suicide:

What leads to suicide?

There’s no single cause for suicide. Suicide most often occurs when stressors exceed current coping abilities of someone suffering from a mental health condition. Depression is the most common condition associated with suicide, and it is often undiagnosed or untreated. Conditions like depression, anxiety and substance problems, especially when unaddressed, increase risk for suicide. Yet it’s important to note that most people who actively manage their mental health conditions lead fulfilling lives.

The main risk factors for suicide are:

Risk factors are characteristics or conditions that increase the chance that a person may try to take their life.

Health Factors:

  • Mental health conditions

    • Depression
    • Bipolar (manic-depressive) disorder
    • Schizophrenia
    • Borderline or antisocial personality disorder
    • Conduct disorder
    • Psychotic disorders, or psychotic symptoms in the context of any disorder
    • Anxiety disorders
  • Substance abuse disorders
  • Serious or chronic health condition and/or pain

Environmental Factors

  • Stressful life events which may include a death, divorce, or job loss
  • Prolonged stress factors which may include harassment, bullying, relationship problems, and unemployment
  • Access to lethal means including firearms and drugs
  • Exposure to another person’s suicide, or to graphic or sensationalized accounts of suicide

Historical Factors:

  • Previous suicide attempts
  • Family history of suicide attempts

Treatment and Therapies:

Ninety percent of people who die by suicide have a mental disorder at the time of their deaths. There are biological and psychological treatments that can help address the underlying health issues that put people at risk for suicide.

Treatment for Suicide and Suicide Attempts

At this time, there is only one medication, clozapine, approved by the FDA for suicide risk reduction in patients with schizophrenia. There is one study of mood disorder patients that shows that treatment with antidepressants, atypical antipsychotics, and lithium reduced death by suicide. There are meta-analyses of small lithium studies that show that suicide is reduced in patients with either bipolar disorder or major depression taking lithium, but those findings are controversial.

There are two proven psychotherapies for treating those who attempt suicide: cognitive behavior therapy for suicide attempters (CBT for suicide attempters) and dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) for patients with borderline personality disorder and recurrent suicidal ideation and behaviors. Clearly theses short term interactive therapies make a difference.

There are many small studies of various interventions, including promising short term therapies that include the family, that show that repeat suicide attempts are reduced under the treatment condition being tested.

Psychotherapies

Beyond medicines, specific types of psychotherapies have been proven effective for treating depression. These are usually short term lasting from 12–16 weeks and they are formalized and interactive. Sessions may take place one to two times a week with a professional who has been specifically trained and certified in the treatment they are using.

The most common types of psychotherapy for depression are cognitive behavior therapy (CBT), interpersonal therapy (IPT), behavioral activation (BH), and cognitive behavioral analysis system of psychotherapy (CBASP). There is clear evidence from research studies that combining antidepressants with any one of these psychotherapies is the best treatment for chronic depression, meaning that the patient has had a depressive illness for two years or more.

If you are in crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741-741.

Medications:

Some individuals at risk for suicide might benefit from medication. Doctors and patients can work together to find the best medication or medication combination, as well as the right dose.
Clozapine, is an antipsychotic medication used primarily to treat individuals with schizophrenia. However, it is the only medication with a specific U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) indication for reducing the risk of recurrent suicidal behavior in patients with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder who are at risk for ongoing suicidal behavior. Because many individuals at risk for suicide often have psychiatric and substance use problems, individuals might benefit from medication along with psychosocial intervention.

If you are prescribed a medication, be sure you:

  • Talk with your doctor or a pharmacist to make sure you understand the risks and benefits of the medications you’re taking.
  • Do not stop taking a medication without talking to your doctor first. Suddenly stopping a medication may lead to “rebound” or worsening of symptoms. Other uncomfortable or potentially dangerous withdrawal effects also are possible.
  • Report any concerns about side effects to your doctor right away. You may need a change in the dose or a different medication.
  • Report serious side effects to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online or by phone at 1-800-332-1088. You or your doctor may send a report.

Other medications have been used to treat suicidal thoughts and behaviors but more research is needed to show the benefit for these options. For basic information about these medications, you can visit the NIMH Mental Health Medications webpage. For the most up-to-date information on medications, side effects, and warnings, visit the FDA website .

Helping Someone in Emotional Pain:

5 Action Steps for Helping Someone in Emotional Pain:

  • 1. Ask: “Are you thinking about killing yourself?” It’s not an easy question but studies show that asking at-risk individuals if they are suicidal does not increase suicides or suicidal thoughts.
  • 2. Keep them safe: Reducing a suicidal person’s access to highly lethal items or places is an important part of suicide prevention. While this is not always easy, asking if the at-risk person has a plan and removing or disabling the lethal means can make a difference.
  • 3. Be there: Listen carefully and learn what the individual is thinking and feeling. Findings suggest acknowledging and talking about suicide may in fact reduce rather than increase suicidal thoughts.
  • 4. Help them connect: Save the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline’s number in your phone so it’s there when you need it: 1-800-8255 (TALK). You can also help make a connection with a trusted individual like a family member, friend, spiritual advisor, or mental health professional.
  • 5. Stay Connected: Staying in touch after a crisis or after being discharged from care can make a difference. Studies have shown the number of suicide deaths goes down when someone follows up with the at-risk person.

Instant access: It may be helpful to save several emergency numbers to your cell phone. The ability to get immediate help for yourself or for a friend can make a difference.

  • The phone number for a trusted friend or relative
  • The non-emergency number for the local police department
  • The Crisis Text Line: 741741
  • The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)

Social Media: Knowing how to get help for a social media friend can save a life. Contact the social media site directly if you are concerned about a friend’s updates or dial 911 in an emergency.

Source save.org