Suicide: Facts and Warning Signs

  • Worldwide there are more deaths due to suicide than to accidents, homicides, and war combined.
  • Over 47,000 people in the U.S. die by suicide every year.
  • Currently, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S., and the 2nd leading cause of death in youth.
  • Every day, approximately 123 Americans take their own life.
  • One person dies by suicide every 12 minutes in the U.S.
  • In the U.S. in 2017 (the latest year for which rates are available), the suicide rate among men was 3.54 male deaths by suicide for each female death by suicide.
  • There are four male suicides for every female suicide, but three female attempts for each male attempt.
  • In 2017, 9.8 million adults had seriously considered suicide, 2.8 million adults made suicide plans, and 1.3 million adults had attempted to take their life within that year.
  • Firearms are the most frequent method of suicide among adults in the U.S.
  • Over 90 percent of people who die by suicide had at least one psychiatric illness at the time of death. The most common diagnoses are depression and drug and/or alcohol abuse.


  • Early recognition and treatment of depression and other psychiatric illnesses appears to be the best way to prevent suicide.
  • Certain personality disorders, such as borderline and antisocial personality disorders, appear to carry high risk for suicide. Impulsivity also appears to be a risk factor for suicide.
  • Between 20 and 50 percent of people who kill themselves had previously attempted suicide. Although most people who die by suicide have not made a previous attempt, a serious suicide attempt is a clear risk factor for suicide death.
  • Suicidal individuals often talk about suicide directly or indirectly using statements like, “My family would be better off without me.” Sometimes they talk as if they are saying goodbye or going away and may arrange to put their affairs in order.
  • Other signs that may be exhibited by an individual contemplating suicide include giving away articles they value, paying off debts or changing a will.

For more information on Warning Signs of Suicide, please visit: