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Suicidal behavior is very prevalent in the U.S. and suicide is the 20th leading cause of death in 2010 for all age groups. In honor of Suicide Prevention month, we are highlighting the more frequent types of suicidal behaviors.  The tragedy is that there were on average, 105 suicides a day in 2010 in the U.S., bringing the total to 38,364.

According to the National Violent Death Reporting System, which had 16 states reporting in 2009, one-third, a full 33.3% of those taking their lives had alcohol in their system when they died, 23% had antidepressants, with 20.8% showing some form of opiates, prescription painkillers and/or heroin. At an estimated cost of $34.6 billion, the financial toll suicide is taking is monumental when you consider the medical costs and the loss of work and productivity.

Disparities in Gender

  • Males are far more likely to commit suicide than females, representing 79% of the suicides carried out in the U.S.
  • However females are more prone to reporting that they had experienced suicidal thoughts than males.
  • Among males 56% use some type of firearm to take their lives, whereas the most common way to commit suicide for women is by ingesting poison, with 37.4% opting for this method. 

Differences Among Age Groups

Among 15-24 year olds, suicide comes in third in terms of leading causes of death, for 25-34 year olds, it comes in second, for 35-54 year olds suicide is the fourth leading cause of death, and eighth among people who are 55-64 years old. 

In the category of 15-24 year olds, suicide makes up 20% of the deaths annually. The rates of suicide for females are greatest for those 45-54 years old, 9 in a population of 100,000. For males, the highest rates are among those 75 years old and older, 36 in a population of 100,000. For all adults 75 years and older was 16.3 in a population of 100,000. The prevalence of people with suicidal thoughts, planning and actual suicide attempts is significantly more among 18-29 year olds as compared to those over 30 years of age. 

Suicidal Behavior and Thoughts

These are the figures for 2008-2009 in the U.S. for adults 18 years and older.

  • It was estimated that 8.3 million adults in the U.S., which represents 3.7% of the adult population, said they had thought about suicide in the past year.
  • It was estimated that 2.2 million adults in the U.S., representing 1.0% of the adult population, reported that they’d made plans to commit suicide in the past year.
  • It was estimated that 1 million adults in the U.S., which represents 0,5% of the adult population, said they’d actually attempted suicide in the past year.

For every 25 suicide attempts, one succeeds in a completed suicide when looking at all age groups. For young adults in the age group of 15-24 year olds, there are about 100-200 suicide attempts for every successfully completed suicide.

In a nationally representative cross-section of high-school kids in grades 9-12 in 2011:

  • 15.8% of the students survey said they had given serious consideration to attempting suicide in the year prior to taking the survey;
  • 12.8% of the students said they’d made a plan for carrying out their attempted suicide in the year prior to participating in the survey;
  • 7.8% of the students taking the survey said they had made a suicide attempt at least once in the year prior to taking the survey;
  • 2.4% of the students taking the survey said they’d attempted suicide and actually injured themselves, poisoned themselves or took an overdose requiring medical intervention.

Suicidal behavior is all too common and can be fatal. 

Suicidal Behavior and Self-Inflicted Nonfatal Injuries

In 2011, a total of 487,700 people in the U.S. received some form of treatment in the emergency room for injuries that were self-inflicted. These nonfatal injuries caused approximately $6.5 billion in total costs when you combine medical expenses and loss of work and productivity.

Suicide Help