Suicide Prevention – Statistics and Resources

Suicide is a preventable death. That means that if a person receives enough support and treatment, it may be possible to prevent a person from seeking out such a drastic outcome.

Consider some of the most worrisome suicide statistics:

  • In 2021, 48,100 people committed suicide in the United States, according to the S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
  • Suicide is the 11th leading cause of death in the United States. In death among children between the ages of 10 and 14, suicide is the second leading cause of death. It is the third highest cause of death in those between the ages of 15 and 24.
  • In 2021, there were 26,031 homicides committed throughout the country. There were nearly twice as many people who died as a result of suicide.

These numbers are alarming, but when you consider other figures shared in the 2022 National Survey on Drug Use and Health from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, there is even more to be considered:

  • In 2022, 5.2% of all adults in the United States had serious thoughts about suicide.
  • The highest number of people reporting these thoughts were those between the ages of 18 and 25. This is the equivalent of 13.2 million adults in the country.
  • 6% of all adults reported attempting suicide in the previous year. This is the equivalent of 1.6 million people in the country.

Also, consider that, according to the CDC, the number of people who are committing suicide has increased by 36% from 2000 to 2021.

Is Suicide Preventable?

In every way, suicide is a preventable cause of death. It is linked to mental health disorders, including depression and substance use disorders. Those who suffer from these conditions are at the highest level of risk for attempting suicide. Many times, treatment for the underlying cause can help to minimize the risk of attempted suicide.

By understanding who is at risk for suicide, it may be possible to seek out treatment sooner, minimizing the risk of a negative outcome like this.

Who Is at Risk for Suicide?

The CDC  reports that the following groups are at the highest risk for committing suicide:

  • Veterans
  • People living in rural areas
  • People who identify as lesbian, gay, or bisexual
  • In terms of race and ethnicity, those who are non-Hispanic American Indian and Alaskan Native Americans have the highest rate, followed by non-Hispanic White people.
  • In terms of occupation, those who work in the mining and construction industry have the highest risks.

Other people who are at a higher risk for committing suicide include:

  • Those with previous attempts
  • Individuals with a family history
  • Those with mood disorders such as bipolar disorder or depression
  • Those who suffer from substance use disorders
  • Those suffering a serious breakup or life-changing event
  • Those facing chronic illness, especially those with chronic pain

What Are the Warning Signs of Suicide?

To support suicide prevention, it is critical for family, friends, and co-workers to act to get a person’s help if they notice any of the more common warning signs of suicide. Those include:

  • Talking or writing about death, dying, or suicide
  • Engaging in reckless behavior or increasingly risky activities
  • Feeling hopeless, helpless, or worthless
  • Not feeling as if there is a reason to live
  • Dramatic mood swings
  • Increased use of drugs or alcohol
  • Pulling away from friends, family, or activities once enjoyed
  • Feeling trapped or as a burden

What Can Help Prevent Suicide?

Most people experience difficult periods. A person with resources and support is less likely to engage in suicidal thoughts and actions. The key is recognizing the need for treatment and seeking out care as soon as possible. Some of the protective factors that may help to reduce the risk and prevent suicide include:

  • Having contact with mental health care professionals when there is any risk of complications, suicidal warning signs, or traumatic events in a person’s life.
  • Feeling a strong connection to other people, including family members, the community, social institutions, or other individuals.
  • Having access to emergency mental health care when there is a substantial risk
  • Stress management and conflict resolution skills
  • Building a strong sense of cultural identification

What Can You Do to Help Someone That Is at Risk for Suicide?

There are several steps that anyone can take if they feel a family member, friend, co-worker, or even a stranger may be at risk for suicide. Preventing suicide has to come from external forces. That means that someone has to reach out and offer help. Here are some ways to do that:

  • Know the Suicide Crisis and Lifeline and call when there is a need: Call or Text 988 for help. You can also chat with a professional by visiting
  • Ask them if they are thinking about hurting themselves. The CDC states that asking this question does not increase the risk of a person taking such an action, but it can help to reduce that risk.
  • Keep a person safe. If they are in immediate danger, do not leave them alone. You can take someone who is at risk to the emergency room or contact 911 for immediate help.

Most often, help to prevent suicide should not wait until there is a crisis. Instead, consider these steps:

  • Ask the person what is happening. Offer help for the challenges they are facing at that moment and support for long-term improvement.
  • Connect the person with professional help. This could include reaching out to a doctor, another person in the field, or a mental health treatment center.
  • Follow up and stay in contact. Suicidal thoughts develop over time, and they do not go away instantly.

What Everyone Can Do to Prevent Suicide

Suicide prevention is a task everyone can take by engaging in behaviors like the following:

  • Make sure difficult and stressful events are taken seriously. Know when it’s time to reach out for professional help because your mental health is not improving.
  • Treat all other people with compassion. You have no idea what they are facing.
  • Provide a supportive place for a person who needs it. Offer a nonjudgmental ear for them to talk to.

If you or someone you know is at risk for suicide at any level, reach out for help immediately. You can always call 911 or text 988 for immediate help. Do not wait. Suicide prevention is an ongoing need.

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