This page is for informational purposes only — If you or someone you love is suffering from suicidal thoughts, please contact Vertava Health to connect with a professional and receive individualized treatment and support today.

Suicide is the act of taking one’s own life, usually in reaction to mental illness or poor life circumstances. Thousands of people die by suicide in the United States every year, and an even greater number attempt suicide or experience suicidal thoughts.

Prevalence Of Suicide

  • In 2017 alone, suicide was responsible for the deaths of more than 47,000 people in the United States.
  • Among individuals aged between 10 and 34, suicide was the second leading cause of death.
  • Among individuals between the ages of 35 and 54, suicide was the fourth leading cause of death.
  • The overall rate of suicide for all age groups has been trending upward over the past two decades.
  • Approximately 4.3 percent of adults had suicidal thoughts in 2017. In total, 9.8 million people experienced these thoughts during the year.
  • 2.8 million people made suicide plans during 2017, and 1.3 million people made a suicide attempt during the same year.

Suicide In Men And Women

  • Males are more likely to complete suicide than women. In 2017, the rate of suicide for males was 22.4 per 100,000 people.
  • The rate of suicide for women in 2017 was 6.1 per 100,000 people.
  • Among females, the suicide rate is highest for those between the ages of 45 and 54.
  • Among males, the suicide rate is highest for those age 65 and older.

Suicide In Specific Populations

  • The rate of suicide varies by ethnicity, with the highest rates for individuals who identify as non-Hispanic American Indian or Alaska Natives. The rate of suicide for males in this ethnic group was 33.6 per 100,000, while the rate of suicide for females in this group was 11 per 100,000.
  • The second-highest suicide rate was found among non-Hispanic whites. Among non-Hispanic white males, the rate of suicide was 28.1 per 100,000 people. Among females in the same ethnic group, the suicide rate was 7.9 per 100,000.
  • The prevalence of suicidal thoughts is highest among people who identify as two or more races.
  • Across all age groups, suicidal thoughts were most common among adults between the ages of 18 and 25. In this age group, more than one in 10 people surveyed admitted to experiencing suicidal thoughts in the past year.
  • Suicides are more common in people who live in certain regions. Rates are highest in the western part of the United States, with the exception of California.

Suicide And The Rate Of Co-Occurring Conditions

  • Suicide and mental health disorders are intricately connected. In fact, the presence of mental health conditions is one of the strongest risk factors for both suicide attempts and deaths due to suicide.
  • According to an article published in Molecular Psychiatry, mental health conditions may be present in as many as 90 percent of patients who die from suicide.
  • Among people who make a planned suicide attempt, as many as 83.4 percent have a history of mental illness.
  • Common mental illnesses that may be associated with suicidal thoughts and attempts include substance use disorders, impulse control disorders, mood disorders, and anxiety disorders.
  • The risk of suicide is especially high among people who have bipolar disorder and PTSD.

Global Impact Of Suicide

  • The World Health Organization estimates that a total of 788,000 people died by suicide during 2015. The number of people who attempted suicide but did not die is even higher.
  • Suicide was responsible for nearly 1.5 percent of all deaths worldwide in 2015 and was one of the top 20 causes of death.
  • Among people aged 15 to 29, suicide was the second leading cause of death worldwide.
  • 78 percent of suicides in 2015 occurred in low and middle-income countries.

Suicide: Treatment Facts

  • Suicide is strongly related to depression and other mental health conditions. Treating these conditions can reduce the risk of suicidal thoughts and suicide attempts.
  • 80 to 90 percent of people who receive treatment for depression will be treated successfully with a combination of therapy and medication.
  • For people who are experiencing an active crisis, the toll-free National Suicide Prevention Hotline is available 24 hours a day.