More than 30,000 Americans die by suicide each year. Knowing the signs of suicide can help you recognize a friend or family member in
need. Learn how to help a friend.
To learn more about our NDSD programs click here.
Important: If you or someone you love is considering suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or call 9-1-1 for help.
Suicide in the United States
Suicide claims the lives of approximately 1 million people worldwide, annually.4
Suicide took the lives of 34,600 Americans in 2007.2
More people die from suicide than from homicide. In 2007, there were 1.9 times as many suicides as homicides.2
Overall, suicide is the 11th leading cause of death for all Americans, and is the third leading cause of death for young people aged 15-24.2
Males are more than four times more likely to die from suicide than are females. However, females are more likely to attempt suicide than are males.1
In 2007, white males accounted for 71% of all suicides. Together, white males and white females accounted for over 90% of all suicides.2
50% of suicides in 2007 were completed with a firearm.2
Divorced, separated or widowed individuals have a suicide rate of 4 to 5 times higher than married individuals.1
In 2007, suicide in hospital settings was the most frequently reported Sentinel Event.3
Suicide Among the Elderly
Men accounted for 84% of suicides among persons aged 65 years and older in 2007.1
Firearms were the most common method of suicide by males, 65 years and older, in 2007, accounting for 79% of male suicides in that age group.2
Suffocation was the most common method of suicide by females, 65 years and older, in 2007, accounting for 37% of female suicides in that age group.2
Thoughts of death are more common in the elderly than in younger adults, however attempted suicide is less frequent.1
Suicide attempts among the elderly often have greater lethality (and clinical significance) than attempts made by younger adults due to reduced physical resilience, greater social isolation and greater determination to die.1 Also, suicidal elders often give fewer warnings and generally use more lethal means.1
Suicide Among the Young
Suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death in 14-25 year olds.2
In 2007, 14-25 year olds accounted for 14% of the suicides in the United States.2
1. American Psychiatric Association. (2003). APA Practice Guidelines for the Assessment and Treatment of
Patients with Suicidal Behaviors. American Journal of Psychiatry, 160(11), 1-117.
2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. (2010).
Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System (WISQARS), 2007 [online]. Retrieved from
3. Jacobs, D. G. (2007). A resource guide for implementing the joint commission 2007 patient safety
goals on suicide.Retrieved from
4. Nock, M. K., Borges, G., Bromet, E. J., Cha, C. B., Kessler, R. C., & Lee, S. (2008). Suicide and Suicidal
Behavior. Epidemiol Rev, 30, 133-154.