Suicide is a major public health problem and is the eleventh leading cause of death in the U.S. with over 33,000 people dying by suicide each year. The ultimate and most harrowing act of self-injury is suicide. Studies show that twice as many people die from suicide than from murder annually. Suicide is the fourth leading cause of death of adults between the ages of 18 and 65 in the U.S., accounting for one person dying by suicide every 16 minutes
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In the U.S., it is calculated that a suicide is attempted approximately once every minute. Suicide attempts occur far more often than completed suicides at a rate of 12-25 attempts per every suicide death. Studies show that there are four male suicides for every female suicide, and three times as many females attempt suicide as males attempt suicide. On an average day, about 90 Americans die by suicide, and 2,300 more people attempt to commit suicide. Nearly all suicide attempts are announcements of tremendous pain, not innocuous ways to dig up attention.
Some people harm themselves to let go of feelings of rage, misery, and despair or to communicate uncontrollable emotions. These people often struggle to manage their feelings and react to that loss of control by hurting themselves. Many times, suicidal thoughts stem from a longing to put an end to profound psychological anguish. In these cases, death looks like the only way out.
People from all ages, genders, ethnicities, religions, and races are prone to suicide. However, some widespread risk factors include: depression, mental disorders, alcohol and substance abuse, separation and divorce, physical and sexual abuse, a family history of suicide, and a personal history of suicide attempts.
Violence, against others or yourself, is a learned behavior and can therefore be changed. Though, changing the way you react to and deal with feelings – changing your very behavior – is not easy. If you are contemplating suicide or know someone who is, seek help immediately. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, a free 24-hour hotline, is available at 1-800-273-TALK.
For more information about suicide visit these links, all provided by NIMH: