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Suicide Statistics

Statistics on Suicide in the U.S.

Statistics are "cold," according to one survivor, Gwendolyn Carr (co-author of the book, Fierce Goodbye: Living in the Shadow of Suicide). But the numbers are important to understanding and curbing the number of persons who take their life each year. Also, cold statistics take on meaning when you meet the survivors that tell their stories, (as in these pages), and view pages like 1000 Deaths Photo Memorials which offers more than 1,000 photos and stories of the people behind the statistics.

On an average day, one person ends their life every 17 minutes.

Suicide Deaths
  • Suicide takes the lives of about 30,000 each year.
  • On an average day, one person ends their life every 17 minutes.
  • Every 1 hour and 39 minutes an elderly person kills him or herself.
  • Every 2 hours and 12 minutes a teenager/young adult kills him or herself.
  • Overall, it is the11th most common cause of death, more frequent than homicide which ranks 14th.
  • Among young people, it is the 3rd most common cause of death.
  • There are 4.1 male deaths by suicide for each female death.
Suicide Attempts
  • In an average year there are 734,000 annual attempts (estimated, no annual national data available).
  • For every death by suicide, there are 25 attempts.
  • Among youth, there are 100 to 200 attempts for every death - often used as a cry for help among the young.
  • Among the elderly, there are 4 attempts for every death - the elderly are most often the most lethal in carrying out the attempt.
  • There are 3 female attempts for each male attempt - males are more lethal in killing themselves, i.e., using guns. Nearly 60 percent of all suicides are done with a firearm.
  • 5 million living Americans (estimated) have attempted to kill themselves.

Each suicide intimately affects at least 6 other people (estimated)

Survivors (Family members and friends of a loved one who died by suicide)

  • Each suicide intimately affects at least 6 other people (estimated)
  • Based on this estimate, there are approximately 4.5 million American survivors of suicide.
Suicide Among the Elderly (for more statistics see Suicide and the Elderly)
  • Suicide rates increase with age and are highest among age 65 and older.
  • Men account for 81 percent of suicides in that age group.
  • Suicide rates are highest for those who are divorced or widowed.
Suicide Among the Young
  • Among persons age 15 to 24, suicide is the third leading cause of death, behind accident and homicide.
  • Persons under age 25 account for approximately 16 percent of all suicides.
  • People living in a household where a firearm is kept are almost 5 times more likely to die by suicide than people who live in gun-free homes.
  • Suicide is the second leading cause of death for college age youth, as well as for ages 15 to 19 in many states.
  • NHSDA Report / SAMHSA (U.S. Dept of Health) - In 2000, over three million youth seriously considered suicide in the U.S. and of that number over one million attempted suicide. That equates to over 2700 attempts each day by young people between the ages of 12-17. This averages almost 2 attempts each minute.

Compiled statistics from Suicidology.org web site on survivors, Center for Disease Control, and National Institute of Mental Health
and from The Jason Foundation, Inc.. See http://www.nimh.nih.gov/SuicidePrevention/suifact.cfm,
http://www.cdc.gov/ncipc/factsheets/suifacts.htm,
http://www.suicidology.org/displaycommon.cfm?an=1&subarticlwaenbr=21

Suicide Among Homosexuals
  • Lesbians are two times more likely to attempt suicide than straight women.
  • Attempts by gay and lesbian youth account for up to 30% of all completed suicides.
  • Gay teens are 3 times more likely to attempt suicide than their heterosexual peers.
  • Gay youth are 4 times more likely to make a suicide attempt requiring medical attention.
  • Gay men are six times more likely to attempt suicide than their heterosexual peers.

From The Trevor Project - http://www.thetrevorproject.org/


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