10 Facts about Suicide
September is National Suicide Prevention Month. Here are 6 alarming statistics on suicide and 4 truths on suicide risk factors, suicide warning signs, and hope (yes, hope) for a total of 10 facts about suicide you need to know about right now.
6 Facts about Suicide in the United States in 2023
- According to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 50,000 individuals died by suicide last year, and in 2021, over 12 million adults had suicidal thoughts.
- In recent years, men have comprised nearly 80% of suicide deaths.
- While suicide affects every age category, those over 85 years of age have the highest suicide rate.
- Importantly, the suicide rate has been trending upward in the United State over the last 20 years.
- For non-Hispanic Black people, age-adjusted suicide rates increased 53% from 2007 through 2020.
- A firearm is involved in over half of suicides.
Read on for the final 4 of our 10 facts about suicide that you need to know right now.
4 Facts about Suicide Risk Factors, Suicide Warning Signs, & Hope
- A number of factors can increase one’s risk of suicide. These factors include: Substance use, history of mental illness, personal history of suicide attempts, family history of suicide, ownership of a firearm, life stresses like career or relationship difficulties, chronic illness, history of impulsivity, history of childhood trauma, poor healthcare access, and isolation from others.
- Given the increase in suicide rates in recent years, it is especially important to recognize suicide warning signs. These signs may include: talking about suicide or feeling trapped, talking about how others might be better off if one didn’t exist, withdrawing from others, experiencing increased anxiety, hopelessness, or irritability, experiencing changes to one’s sleeping or eating patterns, engaging in substance use, developing a suicide plan, acquiring or trying to acquire lethal means to end one’s life, and making arrangements for one’s death (like writing a suicide note, making a will, or purchasing life insurance).
- A number of factors have been shown to reduce the risk of suicide. These include: establishing care with a mental health professional, developing an understanding of psychiatric emergency resources, developing coping skills to deal with life’s stresses, strengthening relationships with friends and family, getting rid of lethal means to harm oneself (by participating in a firearm buyback event, for example), or reducing or stopping substance use.
- Those having thoughts of self-harm or suicide should seek help immediately by calling 911 or by going to the nearest emergency room or crisis response center. Another resource is the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline, which can be accessed by calling 988.
Taking steps to get help can save a life.
If you or someone you love is struggling with mental health concerns, CFR is here to help. CFR therapists, psychologists, and psychiatrists are accepting new clients, and we offer low-fee therapy options for those facing financial hardships. Request an appointment today.
About the Author
Dr. Michael Antzis is a Philadelphia Staff Psychiatrist at the Council for Relationships. If you have questions about this article’s 10 facts about suicide or about Dr. Antzis’s availability to see new patients, go here.
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