From Darkness To Light

UNDERSTANDING SUICIDE

The Stats:

  • In 2010, 38,364 suicides were reported in the United States, making it the 10th leading cause of death for Americans. In that year, someone in the country died by suicide every 13.7 minutes.
  • In 2010, the age cohort with the highest suicide rate (18.6 percent) was among people 45 to 64 years old.
  • While males are four times more likely than females to die by suicide, females attempt suicide three times as often as males.
  • In 2010, firearms were the most common method of suicide, accounting for a little more than half (50.6 percent) of all suicide deaths. The next most common methods were suffocation (including hangings) at 24.8 percent and poisoning at 17.3 percent.

Who’s Most At Risk?

  • Those with illnesses such as depression, substance abuse, schizophrenia or other psychotic disorders
  • Those with a history of previous suicide attempts or a family history of suicide or suicide attempts
  • Those with serious medical conditions or pain
  • Those with access to a lethal weapon

Warning Signs

  • Talking about wanting to kill themselves, or saying they wish they were dead
  • Looking for a way to kill themselves, such as hoarding medicine or buying a gun
  • Talking about a specific suicide plan
  • Expressing feelings of hopelessness or having no reason to live

What You Can Do:

  • Take it seriously.
  • Encourage professional help.
  • Take immediate action.
  • Don’t leave the person alone.
  • Remove any firearms, drugs or sharp objects that could be used for suicide from the area.
  • Take the person to a walk-in clinic at a psychiatric hospital or a hospital emergency room.
  • If these options are not available, call 911 or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) for assistance.

Excerpted from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention website.
For more information, visit afsp.org.

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