Suicide Attempts

One Million & Counting
cALL 800-273-8255 or
text "sos" to 741741

How many suicide attempts were there last year?
Attempters’ Longterm Survival

After a Suicide Attempt, the Risk of Another Try
Suicide Attempt as a Risk Factor for Completed Suicide: Even More Lethal Than We Knew
Hospital Presenting Self-Harm and Risk of Fatal and Non-Fatal Repetition: Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis
You Seldom Get a Second Chance With a Gunshot: Lethality of Suicidal Acts

How my failed attempts became my biggest success | Shraddha Shankar | TEDxUIUC
The interaction of dissociation, pain tolerance, and suicidal ideation in predicting suicide attempts
We've got to get serious about suicide
Nightmares and Suicide: Emperical evidence and intervention with imagery rehearsal therapy
Sleep and Suicidal Adolescents Analytical Essay by Gracey
911 is the national emergency number in the United States
Overview of Suicide
Suicide in Oregon
Oregon Healthy Teens Survey data

Netflix drama '13 Reasons Why' blamed for inspiring teen girls' attempted suicide
Suicide - Frequently Asked Questions

Related topics: Are you feeling suicidal? Attempts, Crisis Text Line, Crisis Trends, Contagion/Clustering, Depression, Emergency Phone/Chat/Text Numbers, Facebook Live , Guns, How to Help, How to talk with your kids about suicide, Mental Illness, Need to Talk?, Online Depression Screening Test , Oregon Suicides 1990 to date, Prevention, Religion, Safety Plan, Secrets No More, 741741, Semicolon Campaign, Stigma, Struggling Teen, Suicide, Suicide Internationally, Suicide Notes, Suicide Resources, Suicide 10-14 Year-Olds, Teen Depression, Teen Suicide, 3-Day Rule, 13 Reasons Why', Veterans, Warning Signs

How many suicide attempts were there last year?

We do not have national data for suicide attempt hospitalizations, but we have data for Alberta from 2010. For every death by suicide among Albertans in 2010 there were 1,833 attempted suicide/self-inflicted injury-related hospital admissions. There were 5,053 attempted suicide/self-inflicted injury-related emergency department visits. (Alberta Centre for Injury Control & Research. (2012). Suicide/self-inflicted injuries in Alberta. Retrieved from (4 page PDF)

How my failed attempts became my biggest success | Shraddha Shankar | TEDxUIUC

Shraddha Shankar is an undergraduate student who has suffered from mental illness for the majority of her life and has survived 13 suicide attempts over the course of her adolescence. In a powerful talk at TEDxUIUC, she shares her story with the public for the first time, where she shares the struggles she faced growing up with a severe mental disorder and her secret to finally finding recovery.

Shraddha is an undergraduate at Illinois studying Statistics and is an Executive Education Chair in the National Alliance on Mental Illness: Illinois Chapter. After enduring her own hardships, she hopes to empower and educate those who suffer from mental illness to help them meet their goals, regardless of the struggles they face. She is in part of creating a nationally utilized suicide prevention program required for all incoming freshman.

This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at

Attempters’ Longterm Survival

Nine out of ten people who attempt suicide and survive will not go on to die by suicide at a later date. This has been well-established in the suicidology literature. A literature review (Owens 2002) summarized 90 studies that have followed over time people who have made suicide attempts that resulted in medical care. Approximately 7% (range: 5-11%) of attempters eventually died by suicide, approximately 23% reattempted nonfatally, and 70% had no further attempts.

Even studies that focused on medically serious attempts–such as people who jumped in front of a train (O’Donnell 1994)–and studies that followed attempters for many decades found similarly low suicide completion rates. At least one study, published after the 90-study review, found a slightly higher completion rate. This was a 37-year follow-up of self-poisoners in Finland that found an eventual completion rate of 13% (Suominen 2004).

This relatively good long-term survival rate is consistent with the observation that suicidal crises are often short-lived, even if there may be underylying, more chronic risk factors present that give rise to these crises.

The relationship between suicide attempts and completions is a complex one.

  • Most people who die by suicide in the U.S. did not make a previous attempt. Prevention efforts that focus only on those who attempt suicide will miss the majority of completers. An international review of psychological autopsy studies found that approximately 40% of those dying by suicide had previously attempted (Cavanagh 2003). The proportion was lower (25-33%) among studies of youth suicide in the U.S. (Brent 1993, Shaffer 1996). A history of previous attempts is lower among those dying by firearm suicide and higher among those dying by overdose (NVISS data).
  • Most people who attempt suicide will not go on to complete suicide.
  • Still, history of suicide attempt is one of the strongest risk factors for suicide. 5% to 11% of hospital-treated attempters do go on to complete suicide, a far higher proportion than among the general public where annual suicide rates are about 1 in 10,000.

Brent D, Perper J, Moritz G, et. al. Psychiatric risk factors for adolescent suicide: a case-control study. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. 1993;32(3):521-529.

Cavanagh J, Carson A, Sharpe M, and Lawrie S. Psychological autopsy studies of suicide: a systematic review. Psychological Medicine. 2003;33:395-405.

Owens D, Horrocks J, and House A. Fatal and non-fatal repetition of self-harm: systematic review. British Journal of Psychiatry. 2002;181:193-199.

O’Donnell I, Arthur A, Farmer R. A follow-up study of attempted railway suicides. Social Science and Medicine, 1994; 38:437-42.

Shaffer D, Gould M, Fisher P, et. al. Psychiatric diagnosis inchild and adolescent suicide. Archives of General Psychiatry. 1996;53(4):339-348.

Suominen K, Isometsä E, Suokas J, et al. Completed suicide after a suicide attempt: a 37-year follow-up study. Am J Psychiatry. 2004; 161:563-564.

Other studies (Longterm Survival among Nonfatal Suicide Attempters)

We've got to get serious about suicide.

It's got to get off the back-burner. In the state (Salem), in the County - high vets hi suicide, in Brookings-Harbor, in our county health care system, in our schools, churches, coffee shops, everywhere. WE HAVE TO START TALKING ABOUT IT publically and take it off the gossiip-train.

How contagion happens. When a suicide happens, the official position is keep it out of the newspapers, board meetings, etc., so that others who have been trigger by it and are trigger (at risk-in crisis) see what's happened - no body wans to help. The avenues shut down. Eyes turn away, etc.

This is the time that eyes focus on those in our community, lall 4,000+ of them, get the help they need. Talking.

Michal Phelps, Jay Leno, list of others on web site, mental health issues, ltell their story. (Stebbens - Mick, Scott?

Wishing you a most happy birth day and many many more to come.

Nightmares and Suicide: Emperical evidence and intervention with imagery rehearsal therapy

Sleep disturbances, including difficulty initiating sleep, difficulty maintaining sleep, nightmares and early morning awakening are believed to be common among people who attempt suicide. (1) Nightmares are disturbing, visual dream sequences that occur in your mind and wake you up from your sleep. Nightmares are very common and can begin at any age. Nightmare disorder develops when you have nightmares on a frequent basis. Nightmare disorder is not as common as nightmares.

In this webinar, Dr. Michael Nadorff reviewed the literature on nightmares and suicide, including possible mediators of the relation. He also discussed the literature on nightmare treatments, and how they may hold promise for reducing suicide risk. Dr. Barry Krakow focused his presentation on Imagery Rehearsal Therapy, which is a recommended treatment for nightmare disorder. He also discussed how to conduct the treatment in a time-limited fashion, as well as ways to overcome implementation barriers.

(1) American Academy of Sleep Medicine. "Sleep Disturbances, Nightmares Are Common Among Suicide Attempters." ScienceDaily. 2 January 2007. <>
Source: (54 page PDF)

ICRC-S webinars are a free service for researchers and for injury prevention and suicide prevention practitioners. We are unable to provide CEU credits for attendance at our webinars.


Sleep and Suicidal Adolescents Analytical Essay by Gracey


In this article, the writer notes that in recent years, the growing problem of adolescent suicide has gained much recognition not just in the United States but also around the world. At present, adolescents commit suicide at a higher rate than the national average of all ages. This paper presents a literature review that examines the close relationship between sleep deprivation and suicidal ideation and actual attempts. The paper compares rates of increased sleep disturbances a week prior to death in successful adolescent suicide victims with a controlled group. This examination of sleep deprived adolescents and suicidal behaviors illustrates the need for early detection and treatment of problematic sleep patterns.

From the Paper:

"In a recent research conducted by Tina R. Goldstein and David A. Brent, Western Psychiatric Institute Clinic, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and Jeffrey A. Bridge, Columbus Children's Research Institute and Department of Pediatrics, The Ohio State University, the researchers set out to determine whether sleep difficulties is related to the increasing epidemic of adolescent suicide in the United States and around the world. They hypothesized that those who were successful in their suicidal attempt displayed signs of higher rates of sleep difficulties in both the week immediately preceding their attempt and within their "most recent depressive episode" ."

Sample of Sources Used:

•Brent, David. A., Bridge, Jeffrey. A., & Goldstein, Tina, R. ( Feb 2008). Sleep Preceding Completed Suicide in Adolescents [Electronic Version]. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology Vol 76(1), pp. 84-91.

•American Academy of Sleep Medicine (2007, January 2). Sleep Disturbances, Nightmares Are Common Among Suicide Attempters. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 7, 2008, from

911 is the national emergency number in the United States.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline ( is a 24-hour, toll-free, confidential suicide prevention hotline available to anyone in suicidal crisis or emotional distress.[19][20] A 24-hour an Online Chat in partnership with Contact USA[21] is also available.

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is a non-profit organization exclusively dedicated to understanding and preventing suicide through research, education and advocacy, and to reaching out to people with mental disorders and those impacted by suicide."[22]

Crisis Text Line ( is the only 24/7, nationwide crisis-intervention text-message hotline.[23]

Samaritans ( is a registered charity aimed at providing emotional support to anyone in distress or at risk of suicide throughout the United States[9]

The San Francisco Night Ministry ( provides free confidential telephone counseling between 10 p.m and 4 a.m. Pacific Standard Time to anyone from any locality.

The Trevor Project ( is a nationwide organization that provide crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning youth.[24]

Trans Lifeline ( is an American organization that provide crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to transgender and non-binary individuals. Trans Lifeline offers service throughout the United States and Canada.

Other suicide crisis organizations (

Suicide crisis lines can be found in many countries worldwide. Many are geared to a general audience while others are specific to a select demographic such as LGBT youth, Native American and Aboriginal Canadian youth. One of the first suicide crisis lines was the Samaritans, founded in the United Kingdom in 1943 by the Rev. Chad Varah, the then Rector of the former St. Stephen's Church in London. He decided to start a 'listening service' after reading a sermon at the grave of a 13-year-old girl who had committed suicide. She was in distress prior to her death and had no one to talk to.[1]


Not my Kid video


Preventing a single suicide attempt that leads to a hospital visit, even when there is a non-fatal outcome, has been shown to save in excess of $15,000 dollars in direct medical costs and lost productivity. Preventing a fatal outcome is invaluable.

Overview of Suicide

Suicide is a serious public health problem that affects individuals, families, and communities. In 2015 alone, more than 44,000 Americans died by suicide and almost half a million Americans received medical care for self-inflicted injuries.

Oregon’s suicide rate has been higher than the national average for the past three decades. Oregon's age-adjusted suicide rate of 17.7 per 100,000 residents in 2015 was 33 percent higher than the national average and Oregon ranked 13th place among all US states in suicide incidence. Suicide rates for Oregon and U.S. states have increased since 2000. Click on any state to display the suicide rate. (California is 10.2, Washington state

Suicide in Oregon (2011-2023)


Number of deaths, 2011-2023 73
Sucide Rate per 100,000 (2011-2023) 29.1


Number of deaths, 2011-2023 37
Sucide Rate per 100,000 (2011-2023) 41.5


Number of deaths, 2011-2023 89
Sucide Rate per 100,000 (2011-2023) 26.8


Number of deaths, 2011-2023 119
Sucide Rate per 100,000 (2011-2023) 27.8


Oregon Health Teens Survey data

This map shows results from the Oregon Healthy Teens Survey, which is a survey of 8th and 11th grade students. The map shows the results of one question from the survey: "during the past 12 months, how many times did you actually attempt suicide?". The results are reported as a percent. Clicking on a county will also display the percent of students that considered attempting suicide in the past 12 months.

Some caution should be used when interpreting these numbers:

•Districts and schools from every county, except Josephine, Wallowa and Wheeler, participated in the survey.

•Caution should be used when interpreting the results from Deschutes, Douglas, Marion, Umatilla, and Wasco counties. The percentage of students that participated in these counties was low.

•Some county results have been combined: Sherman/Gilliam/Wasco into North Central Health District (11th grade) and Grant/Harney counties.




"13 reasons Why" is a dangerous moie to let any public school student to watch without a supportive adult present to

'13 Reasons Why' should be taken off the air, psychiatrist urges

75% of mental health disorders begin before age 24. 60% before 14. Dr. Harold Koplewicz

1 in 5 children suffers from a mentl health or learning disorder Phelps

These disorders are the most common health issues faced by our nation's children

17 million kids have a mental health disorder. These are the most common disorders of childhood and adolescence. Everyone of use knows one of these children. illnesses of adolescence.: Autism, ADHD, depressoin, obsessive. compulsive disorder, 75% of all psychiatric illness occurs before the age of 24 and 50% before 14. That means that's when you are supposed to identify it and treat it because if I have a symptom for 10 years, it's much harder to treat than a symptom that's 6 months old.Certain kids are more vulnerable that otheres. 90% of all teenagers who commit suicide have a psychiatric disorder. 5,000 teenagers this year and 600,000 every two minutes will make an attempt that will lead to the emerency room. . Pu;l it off the air immediately. Teenager suicide is contageous. We know from studies oveer the last three decades that when youth watch a show that depicts a suicide, they're more likely to attempt and they're more likely to succeed. The problem with 13 ways is that, when you're in trouble, there's no help, you're hopeless and that suicide is glamorous.and effective. That's not the message we want them to have. We hwant the message, from prominant people, that when I spoke up, and I got help, I could really have a great life.

Leno Dyslexia

Wayne Brady

Play Video - 4:56



There are many groups that help people having suicidal thoughts. One, Crisis Text Line, inspired by teenagers’ attachment to texting but open to people of all ages, provides free assistance to anyone who texts “help” to 741741.


Reviewed By: Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director and Director of Didactic Curriculum, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, Department of Family Medicine, UW Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington, and David B. Merrill, MD, Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, Department of Psychiatry, Columbia University Medical Center, New York, NY. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc


Young Adolescents as Likely to Die From Suicide as From Traffic Accidents

What to Do If You Need Help

The National Institute of Mental Health recommends this site. It also warns that reporting on suicide can lead to so-called suicide contagion, in which exposure to the mention of suicide within a person’s family, peer group or in the media can lead to an increase in suicides.

There are many groups that help people having suicidal thoughts. One, Crisis Text Line, inspired by teenagers’ attachment to texting but open to people of all ages, provides free assistance to anyone who texts “help” to 741741.

If you prefer to talk on the phone, N.I.H. recommends the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255).



Sorry we missed dinner last night. I had wanted to talk with you a bit about your support of "13 Reasons Why"

I hope you will at least watch the video and read the accompanying article. And it if sparks interest, you might go to my web page on the subject which gives sample letters that states and school districts have used to involved all parents.

I have been tracking that show and the reaction to it since it first aired and though I've one seen the first 8 episodes, I have posted a number of articles from the Suicide Prevention world having major concerns about it, and there are a number of events that have happened since it first aired that closely mimicked the movie itself sending revenge tapes and then committing suicide, and a number of incidents that "13" was possibly related to. The one we had here in Brookings a couple of weeks ago is thought to be one of those. The concern is that it is triggering the "cluster" effect and without directing viewers, as part of the movie, to get help, it glorifies suicide and isn't worth continuing to air to get people to talk about the issue. That has happened and Netflix needs to put it on hold, and not start a second season, until things can be changed to focus on prevention and not focus on blaming others for one's mental health crisis.

Side bar: It is rated as TV-TM ( which is tv shows that are not appropriate for those under 18.

Do you think it is a coincidence that the unlucky number "13" is part of the title?


smarm·y.ADJECTIVE informal

ingratiating and wheedling in a way that is perceived as insincere or excessive:

"a smarmy, unctuous reply"

synonyms: unctuous · ingratiating · slick · oily · greasy · obsequious · sycophantic · fawning · slimy · sucky


What happens when a girl has the brain of an 8-year-old, and the body of a 13-year-old?

The New Puberty: How navigate early development in Today's Girls.

The New Puberty is a reassuring, empowering guide for millions of parents – as well as teachers, coaches, pediatricians, and family members – by two notable experts in the field. Compiling original research and clinical experience, Drs. Greenspan and Deardorff offer practical strategies for supporting girls entering this complex stage of their lives.

“The New Puberty is a treasure trove of information. In it, the authors take a deep dive into the psychology and biology of teen girls. It is destined to become a classic for parents and educators.”

Louann Brizendine, MD

Clinical Professor, Department of Psychiatry, UCSF and author of The Female Brain

“The New Puberty offers parents and caregivers important up-to-date information, insight, and support about early puberty. It also provides clues for identifying the emergence of more serious problems for girls entering puberty at a younger than expected age. An indispensable guide for helping our early bloomers.”

Chris Hayward, MD, MPH

Professor of Psychiatry, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral


ROSEBURG, Ore. — Inside the big wood-paneled downtown library here, a sign spells out the future in four words. Come June 1, “All services will cease.”

For generations in America, small cities like this declared their optimism and civic purpose with grand libraries that rose above the clutter of daily life and commerce. But last fall, Douglas County residents voted down a ballot measure that would have added about $6 a month to the tax bill on a median-priced home and saved the libraries from a funding crisis. So this spring, it has been lights out, one by one, for the system’s 11 branches. The Roseburg central library here is the last to go.

“We pay enough taxes,” said Zach Holly, an auto repair worker in a shop a few blocks from the library who said his vote against the tax was not about libraries at all, but government waste. “I vote against taxes, across the board,” he said.

An instinctive reaction against higher taxes has been stitched into the fabric of America in recent decades, starting with the property tax revolts of the 1970s through the anti-tax orthodoxy expressed by many conservative members of Congress today. But few places in the nation are seeing the tangled implications of what that means — in real time — more vividly than in southwest Oregon, where a handful of rural counties are showing what happens when citizens push the logic of shrinking government to its extremes.

“The trust is gone from people who are paying the bills,” said Court Boice, a commissioner in Curry County, which borders Douglas. At least four property tax proposals aimed at keeping county services afloat, like the library rescue plan in Douglas, have failed in Curry County over the last decade.

If a crime is reported after midnight there, best not hold your breath for a response, since cuts to the sheriff’s budget have meant the end of round-the-clock staffing. Even conducting an election this fall could be beyond reach, said Reneé Kolen, the Curry County clerk, who has one full-time staff member left in her elections division, and is facing another possible 30 percent cut in funding this year in her budget.

Just east of Curry in Josephine County, the jail has been defunded after nine consecutive defeats of public safety tax levies — there will be another try next week in a special election — leading to a policy of catch-and-release for nonviolent criminals.

Demographic and economic changes in this swath of the Pacific Northwest, where thick forests brush down to the rocky Pacific Coast, have given the tax resistance movement its backbone. Retirees who came in recent years for the low housing costs or the conservative political culture have become a major voting bloc. And the tech jobs that are fueling growth in Portland, a three-hour drive north, are mostly just a dream.

But what is even more significant is that for many years, timber-harvesting operations on public lands here paid the bills, and people got used to it. A law passed by Congress in the 1930s specified that a vast swath of forest lands that had passed into corporate hands and back into federal control would be managed for county benefit. But then logging declined, starting in the 1980s and 1990s, as it did across many other parts of the West, and the flood of timber money slowed to a trickle, with only a stunted tax base to pick up the difference. The property tax rate in Curry County is less than a quarter of the statewide average. Douglas County residents pay about 60 percent less than most state residents.

President Trump’s plan to overhaul the nation’s corporate and personal income-tax systems adds another wrinkle. His proposal would not directly affect local property tax rates, but the ripple effects, several local officials said, could be profound and unpredictable. More money in voters’ wallets from tax cuts in Washington could reduce the sting in asking people to pay more at home, or it could just reinforce the idea that all taxes are meant to go down.

Oregon has no state sales tax, and also limits some property tax growth rates, through laws passed in the 1990s.

“Back in the heyday it was great,” said Jim Kolen, the Curry County assessor, and the husband of the county clerk, recalling the flush days of timber revenue. “But it was a curse, too.”

Some residents said they thought local governments here could simply self-destruct and shut down in bankruptcy or paralysis, while others saw a window of experimentation and reinvention, and a new path forward through interconnecting government with nonprofits, volunteers and private companies.

Jerry Wyatt, 66, a sales manager and lifelong resident of the Roseburg area, said conservatives like him had seen the truth that government often operated for its own benefit, not the people’s. Like most people here, Mr. Wyatt is a strong supporter of Mr. Trump, who got two-thirds of the vote in Douglas, even as a majority of voters in Oregon supported Hillary Clinton. Mr. Trump is changing Washington, Mr. Wyatt said. Change on the local level starts in places like Douglas County.



One million lives and counting

one million and a half


Bullying and Suicide
There is a strong link between bullying and suicide, as suggested by recent bullying-related suicides in the US and other countries. Parents, teachers, and students learn the dangers of bullying and help students who may be at risk of committing suicide.

In recent years, a series of bullying-related suicides in the US and across the globe have drawn attention to the connection between bullying and suicide. Though too many adults still see bullying as “just part of being a kid,” it is a serious problem that leads to many negative effects for victims, including suicide. Many people may not realize that there is also a link between being a bully and committing suicide.

The statistics on bullying and suicide are alarming:

  • ?Suicide is the third leading cause of death among young people, resulting in about 4,400 deaths per year, according to the CDC. For every suicide among young people, there are at least 100 suicide attempts. Over 14 percent of high school students have considered suicide, and almost 7 percent have attempted it.
  • ?Bully victims are between 2 to 9 times more likely to consider suicide than non-victims, according to studies by Yale University
  • ?A study in Britain found that at least half of suicides among young people are related to bullying
  • ?10 to 14 year old girls may be at even higher risk for suicide, according to the study above
  • ?According to statistics reported by ABC News, nearly 30 percent of students are either bullies or victims of bullying, and 160,000 kids stay home from school every day because of fear of bullying

Bully-related suicide can be connected to any type of bullying, including physical bullying, emotional bullying, cyberbullying, and sexting, or circulating suggestive or nude photos or messages about a person.

Some schools or regions have more serious problems with bullying and suicide related to bullying. This may be due to an excessive problem with bullying at the school. It could also be related to the tendency of students who are exposed to suicide to consider suicide themselves.

Some of the warning signs of suicide can include:

  • Showing signs of depression, like ongoing sadness, withdrawal from others, losing interest in favorite activities, or trouble sleeping or eating
  • Talking about or showing an interest in death or dying
  • Engaging in dangerous or harmful activities, including reckless behavior, substance abuse, or self injury
  • Giving away favorite possessions and saying goodbye to people
  • Saying or expressing that they can’t handle things anymore
  • Making comments that things would be better without them

If a person is displaying these symptoms, talk to them about your concerns and get them help right away, such as from a counselor, doctor, or at the emergency room.

In some cases, it may not be obvious that a teen is thinking about suicide, such as when the suicide seems to be triggered by a particularly bad episode of bullying. In several cases where bullying victims killed themselves, bullies had told the teen that he or she should kill him or herself or that the world would be better without them. Others who hear these types of statements should be quick to stop them and explain to the victim that the bully is wrong.

Other ways to help people who may be considering suicide include:

  • Take all talk or threats of suicide seriously. Don’t tell the person they are wrong or that they have a lot to live for. Instead, get them immediate medical help.
  • Keep weapons and medications away from anyone who is at risk for suicide. Get these items out of the house or at least securely locked up.
  • Parents should encourage their teens to talk about bullying that takes place. It may be embarrassing for kids to admit they are the victims of bullying, and most kids don’t want to admit they have been involved in bullying. Tell victims that it’s not their fault that they are being bullied and show them love and support. Get them professional help if the bullying is serious.
  • It is a good idea for parents to insist on being included in their children’s friends on social networking sites so they can see if someone has posted mean messages about them online. Text messages may be more difficult to know about, so parents should try to keep open communications with their children about bullying.
  • Parents who see a serious bullying problem should talk to school authorities about it, and perhaps arrange a meeting with the bully’s parents. More states are implementing laws against bullying, and recent lawsuits against schools and criminal charges against bullies show that there are legal avenues to take to deal with bullies. If school authorities don’t help with an ongoing bullying problem, local police or attorneys may be able to.

People who are thinking about suicide should talk to someone right away or go to an emergency room. They can also call a free suicide hotline, such as 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or text "SOS
to 741741

Friends and relatives of suicide victims also need to find someone to talk to as they grieve, especially if they are suffering from depression or suicidal thoughts themselves.


WebMD, Depression Guide, “Recognizing the Warning Signs of Suicide” [online]

Nemours, KidsHealth, “Helping Kids Deal with Bullies” [online]

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Suicide Prevention, “Youth Suicide” [online]

Yale University, Office of Public Affairs, “Bullying-Suicide Link Explored in New Study by Researchers at Yale” [online]

Matt Dickinson, The Independent, “Research finds bullying link to child suicides” [online]

Michael Inbar, MSNBC Today, “Sexting bullying cited in teen’s suicide” [online]

Susan Donaldson James, ABC News, Health, “Teen Commits Suicide Due to Bullying: Parents Sue School for Son’s Death” [online]

Erik Eckholm and Katie Zezima, The New York Times, “6 Teenagers Are Charged After Classmate’s Suicide” [online]




1.Every 7 MINUTES a child is bullied. Adult intervention – 4%. Peer intervention – 11%. No intervention – 85%.

2.Biracial and multiracial youth are more likely to be victimized than youth who identify with a single race.

3.Bullied students tend to grow up more socially anxious, with less self-esteem and require more mental health services throughout life.

4.Only 7% of U.S. parents are worried about cyberbullying; yet 33% of teenagers have been victims of cyberbullying

5.Kids who are obese, gay, or have disabilities are up to 63% more likely to be bullied than other children.

6.1 MILLION children were harassed, threatened or subjected to other forms of cyberbullying on FACEBOOK during the past year.

7.86% of students said, “other kids picking on them, making fun of them or bullying them” causes teenagers to turn to lethal violence in schools.

8.It is estimated that 160,000 children miss school every day due to fear of attack or intimidation by other students. Source: National Education Association.

9.American schools harbor approximately 2.1 million bullies and 2.7 million of their victims. Dan Olweus, National School Safety Center.


1.Suicide remains among the leading causes of death of children under 14. In most cases, the young people die from hanging.

2.Suicide rates among 10 to 14-year-olds have grown more than 50 percent over the last three decades. (The American Association of Suicidology, AAS)

3.A new review of studies from 13 countries found signs of an apparent connection between bullying, being bullied, and suicide. (Yale School of Medicine)

4.Suicide rates among children between the ages of 10 & 14 are very low, but are “creeping up.” (Ann Haas, Director of the Suicide Prevention Project at the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention)

5.The suicide rate among young male adults in Massachusetts rose 28 percent in 2007. However, that does not reflect deaths among teenagers and students Carl’s age. (Massachusetts Dept. of Public Health, in a report released April 8, 2009)

6.Since 2002, at least 15 schoolchildren ages 11 to 14 have committed suicide in Massachusetts. Three of them were Carl’s age. (“Constantly Bulled, He Ends His Life at Age 11,” by Milton J. Valencia. The Boston Globe, April 20, 2009)

7.Suicide rates among 10 to 14-year-olds have grown more than 50 percent over the last three decades. (The American Association of Suicidology, AAS)

8.In 2005 (the last year nationwide stats were available), 270 children in the 10-14 age group killed themselves. (AAS)

9.1 in 7 Students in Grades K-12 is either a bully or a victim of bullying.

10.56% of students have personally witnessed some type of bullying at school.

11.15% of all school absenteeism is directly related to fears of being bullied at school.

12.71% of students report incidents of bullying as a problem at their school.

13.1 out of 20 students has seen a student with a gun at school.

14.282,000 students are physically attacked in secondary schools each month.

15.Those in the lower grades reported being in twice as many fights as those in the higher grades. However, there is a lower rate of serious violent crimes in the elementary level than in the middle or high schools.

16.90% of 4th through 8th graders report being victims of bullying.

17.Among students, homicide perpetrators were more than twice as likely as homicide victims to have been bullied by peers.

18.Bullying statistics say revenge is the strongest motivation for school shootings.

19.87% of students said shootings are motivated by a desire to “get back at those who have hurt them.”

20.86% of students said, “other kids picking on them, making fun of them or bullying them” causes teenagers to turn to lethal violence in the schools.

21.61% of students said students shoot others because they have been victims of physical abuse at home.

22.54% of students said witnessing physical abuse at home can lead to violence in school.

23.According to bullying statistics, 1 out of every 10 students who drops out of school does so because of repeated bullying.

24.Harassment and bullying have been linked to 75% of school-shooting incidents.


1.In a 2007 study, 86% of LGBT students said that they had experienced harassment at school during the previous year. (Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network — GLSEN)

2.Research indicates that LGBT youth may be more likely to think about and attempt suicide than heterosexual teens. (GLSEN)

3.In a 2005 survey, students said their peers were most often bullied because of their appearance, but the next top reason was because of actual or perceived sexual orientation and gender expression. (“From Teasing to Torment: School Climate of America” — GLSEN and Harris Interactive)

4.According to the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network 2007 National School Climate Survey of more than 6,000 students…

5.Nearly 9 out of 10 LGBT youth reported being verbally harassed at school in the past year because of their sexual orientation

6.Nearly half (44.1 percent) reported being physically harassed

7.About a quarter (22.1 percent) reported being physically assaulted.

8.Nearly two-thirds (60.8 percent) who experienced harassment or assault never reported the incident to the school

9.Of those who did report the incident, nearly one-third (31.1 percent) said the school staff did nothing in response



1.32% of online teens say they have been targets of a range of annoying or potentially menacing online activities. 15% of teens overall say someone has forwarded or posted a private message they’ve written, 13% say someone has spread a rumor about them online, 13% say someone has sent them a threatening or aggressive message, and 6% say someone has posted embarrassing pictures of them online.

2.38% of online girls report being bullied, compared with 26% of online boys. In particular, 41% of older girls (15-17) report being bullied—more than any other age or gender group.

3.39% of social network users have been cyber bullied in some way, compared with 22% of online teens who do not use social networks.

4.20% of teens (12-17) say “people are mostly unkind” on online social networks. Younger teenage girls (12-13) are considerably more likely to say this. One in three (33%) younger teen girls who use social media say that people their age are “mostly unkind” to one another on social network sites.

5.15% of teens on social networks have experienced someone being mean or cruel to them on a social network site. There are no statistically significant differences by age, gender, race, socioeconomic status, or any other demographic characteristic.

6.13% of teens who use social media (12-17) say they have had an experience on a social network that made them feel nervous about going to school the next day. This is more common among younger teens (20%) than older teens (11%).

7.88% of social media-using teens say they have seen someone be mean or cruel to another person on a social network site. 12% of these say they witness this kind of behavior “frequently.”

8.When teens see others being mean or cruel on social networks,frequently 55% see other people just ignoring what is going on, 27% see others defending the victim, 20% see others telling the offender to stop, and 19% see others join in on the harassment.

9.36% of teens who have witnessed others being cruel on social networks have looked to someone for advice about what to do.

10.67% of all teens say bullying and harassment happens more offline than online.

11.1 in 6 parents know their child has been bullied over social media. In over half of these cases, their child was a repeat victim. Over half of parents whose children have social media accounts are concerned about cyberbullying and more than three-quarters of parents have discussed the issue of online bullying with their children.

12.11% of middle school students were victims of cyberbullying in the past two months. Girls are more likely than boys to be victims or bully/victims.

13.“Hyper-networking” teens (those who spend more than three hours per school day on online social networks) are110% morelikely to be a victim of cyberbullying, compared to those who don’t spend as much time on social networks.

14.95% of social media-using teens who have witnessed cruel behavior on social networking sites say they have seen others ignoring the mean behavior; 55% witness this frequently. (Pew Internet Research Center, FOSI, Cable in the Classroom, 2011) 1.84% have seen the people defend the person being harassed; 27% report seeing this frequently.

2.84% have seen the people tell cyberbullies to stop bullying; 20% report seeing this frequently.

15.66% of teens who have witnessed online cruelty have also witnessed others joining; 21% say they have also joined in the harassment. (Pew Internet Research Center, FOSI, Cable in the Classroom, 2011)

16.Only 7% of U.S. parents are worried about cyberbullying, even though 33% of teenagers have been victims of cyberbullying (Pew Internet and American Life Survey, 2011)

17.85% of parent of youth ages 13-17 report their child has a social networking account. (American Osteopathic Association, 2011)

18.52% of parents are worried their child will be bullied via social networking sites. (American Osteopathic Association, 2011)

19.1 in 6 parents know their child has been bullied via a social networking site. (American Osteopathic Association, 2011)

20.One million children were harassed, threatend or subjected to other forms of cyberbullying on Facebook during the past year. (Consumer Reports, 2011)

21.43% of teens aged 13 to 17 report that they have experienced some sort of cyberbulying in the past year.

22.More girls are cyberbullys than boys (59% girls and 41% boys).

23.Cyberbullies spend more time online than other teens overall (38.4 hours compared to 26.8 hours).


School Violence STATISTICS:

•100,000 students carry a gun to school each day

•28% of youths who carry weapons have witnessed violence at home

•Among students, homicide perpetrators were more than twice as likely as homicide victims to have been bullies by peers.

•More youth violence occurs on school grounds as opposed to on the way to school.

•1/3 of students surveyed said they heard another student threaten to kill someone.

Teachers & Bullying:

• Teachers are also assaulted, robbed & bullied. 84 crimes per 1,000 teachers per year.


•Bureau of Justice Statistics – School Crime & Safety


There is a strong link between bullying and suicides. In the last few years a string of suicides in the United States and around the world has called attention to this problem. This article looks at suicides in relation to both physical bullying and cyber bullying. Learn about Bullying Suicide Statistics. 

Many parents view bullying as simply a part of growing up. Often they do not realize the devastating effects. It can easily escalate from one or two incidents, and becomes a regular problem. soon it is a steady barrage of demeaning incidents on a regular occasion. Suicide is the second leading cause of death for 10 to 34 year olds, according to the Center for Disease Control. It was the cause of about 6,078 deaths in a year in the 15 to 24 age group.

Bullying and Suicide Statistics

Bullied victims are 7 to 9 per cent more likely to consider suicide according to a study by Yale University. Studies in Britain have found half of the suicides among youth related to bullying. According to a study by ABC News over 30,000 children stay home every day due to the fear of being bullied. Bullying can be related to physical, emotional, cyber bullying, and sexting, i.e. circulating nude or suggestive pictures or messages about of a person.

The Urban Institute’s study on bullying showed 17 per cent of students reported being victims of cyber bullying, 41 per cent victims of physical bullying, and 15 per cent experienced different kinds. The types and rates of bullying varied according to gender in this study. About 50 per cent of girls experienced psychological bullying, and 45 per cent males physical bullying.

The Center For Disease Control reported that students that experience bullying are twice as likely to suffer from various problems. These include depression, sleep difficulties, anxiety, and trouble adjusting to school. They are twice as likely to get stomach-aches and headaches.

The National Center for Educational Statistics reports that in 2014 1 of 3 students reported being bullied during the school year. In the National Crime Victimization Survey of 2014 about 64.5 per cent reported incidents that occurred twice in the year. About 18.5 per cent reported incidents reported bullying twice a month, and 7.8 per cent reported bullying being bullied daily.

According to another study, by J. Anderson, Many students reported bullying that involved being made fun of and called names. Other methods of bullying were having rumours spread about them, threating the person with bodily harm, being pushed or shoved, and spit on. Others students had their belongings stolen or destroyed and were excluded from the groups on purpose. Bullying often produces depression, lowers self-esteem, and produces a mentality of helplessness in victims.

According to the Suicide Awareness Voices for Education, suicide is, among 15 to 24 years olds, one of the leading causes of death for youth. Over 16 per cent of students seriously consider suicide, 13 per cent create a plan, and 8 per cent have made a serious attempt.

About 80 per cent of youth that commits suicide have depressive symptoms. Peer victimizations and bullying causes higher rates of suicide among youth according to the JAMA Paediatrics. Cyber bullying leads to thoughts of suicide more than traditional bullying. Many students are bullied and engage in bullying behaviour.

Cases of Suicides Due to Bullying

A young male from Ireland named Joshua Unsworth hanged himself after frequent cyber bullying on a social network that he belonged to. He was teased about his father being a farmer and peers made fun of his dating habits. This constant barrage of bullying lead to depression and suicide.

On January 12, 2012 Amanda Diane Cummings, a 15 year old Staten Island youth, jumped in front of a bus. She carried a note on her that stated that classmates were constantly teasing her and stole her personal possessions. While she recovered in the hospital classmates posted cruel comments on her Facebook page. Bullying is not considered a serious crime by many. Kids that report incidents are told to toughen up or fight back. Sometimes authorities tell children no one likes a tattletale, so they do not get the help they need.

Audrie Pott was attacked sexually at a party she attended by three boys. Photos were taken of the incident and posted online. She was at a sleepover and alcohol was involved. The girl hunged herself about 8 days after the incident. The Photos were shared with classmates from Saratoga High School. She did not tell anyone about the attack or the incident. Her parents did not know about it until after her death.

A 15 year old Connecticut boy, Bart Palosz, took his life by shooting himself. His death is linked with many years of bullying at school and on social networks. He was a quiet boy that related better to adults than his peers. He was 6 feet 3 inches tall and had a Polish accent, which making him a target for bullying. Incidents include boys in town calling him names, pushing him into bushes, and destroying his cell phone.

He did not fight back or tell any adult about the bullying .The boy met with a guidance counsellor several times but told the woman everything was fine. Although his parents claim they asked the school for help, nothing was done. He also posted comments about suicide on social media recently a sign of trouble.

Another girl Cynthie Sanchez killed herself after years of peer bullying and cyber bullying. Sometimes kids just called her name but online they told her to kill herself. She suffered from depression, which is believed to have contributed to her to her suicide. She was only 14 years old.

These are a few of the many cases that show bullying contributing to suicide in youth.

Cyber Bullying and Suicide

Cyber bullying is another form of bullying that is more prevalent due increased access to cell phones and the Internet. About 42 per cent of youth report being bullied online. Approximately 69 per cent of teens own their own computer, cell phone, and use social media.

infographic bullying suicide statistics Bullying Suicide Statistics infographic

An average teen often sends 60 text messages a day. These are around double the rates for adults. Girls in the age group of 14 to 16 years old text often send 100 messages a day. Over 7.5 million Facebook users are under 13 years old. Over 81 per cent of teens admit that bullying is easier to get away with online. About 20 per cent of kids that are cyber bullied think about suicide.

The Hartford County Examiner reports that 1 to 10 kids that are cyber bullied do not tell their parents. Only 1 of 5 cyber bullying incidents is reported to authorities. The Cyberbullying Research Center reported that mean comments and spreading rumours are the most common type of cyber bullying. Cyber bullying victims often have low self esteem and are likely to consider suicide.

According to the American Association of Suicidology rates for suicide among 10 to 14 year olds has grown 50 per cent over the last three decades. Parents and educators should know the signs of youth and teens at risk for suicide. This can help save lives. Looking at bullying and statistics often helps adults learn to see the problem before it become serious.

Signs of Depression in Youth And Suicide

Adults and teachers should learn the signs of serious depression in youth. They are:

  • Talking or joking about committing suicide with friends or family and on social media.
  • Writing poems or stories about death, dying and suicide primarily.
  • Engaging in reckless behaviour that results in accidents or giving away prized possessions.
  • Talking about ways to kill themselves using pills or weapons.
  • An outgoing person that withdraws from family and friends is a sign.
  • A good student whose grades plummet and they lose interest in learning is a sign of depression.
  • Trouble sleeping.
  • Frequent nightmares.
  • Change in eating habits.
  • Weight loss or extreme weight gain.

Parents and teachers should watch students and note incidents of bullying on the playground, cafeteria or in the neighbourhood. Talk to kids about suicide, and tell them it is not the way to solve problems. It is wrong and should not ever be attempted.

Encourage kids to tell an adult or teacher so that they can get help. When a child is depressed and does not seem to be getting any better get them help. Talk with your doctor who may be able to recommend psychiatric help. Bullying suicide statistics are just a sign that adults need to be more involved with their kids. In this way, tragedies can be prevented and kids can be saved.

Please help us combat bullying in all its forms by carrying on the discussion. A fact-driven awareness is vital to progressing this cause.

The Six Reasons People Attempt Suicide


Though I’ve never lost a friend or family member to suicide, I have lost a patient (who I wrote about in a previous post, The True Cause Of Depression). I have known a number of people left behind by the suicide of someone close to them, however. Given how much losing my patient affected me, I’ve only been able to guess at the devastation these people have experienced. Pain mixed with guilt, anger, and regret makes for a bitter drink, the taste of which I’ve seen take many months or even years to wash out of some mouths.

The one question everyone has asked without exception, that they ache to have answered more than any other, is simply: why? Why did their friend, child, parent, spouse, or sibling take their own life? Even when a note explaining the reasons is found, lingering questions usually remain: yes, they felt enough despair to want to die, but why did they feel that? A person’s suicide often takes the people it leaves behind by surprise (only intensifying survivor’s guilt for failing to see it coming).

People who’ve survived suicide attempts have reported wanting not so much to die as to stop living, a strange dichotomy but a valid one nevertheless. If some in-between state existed, some other alternative to death, I suspect many suicidal people would take it. For the sake of all those reading this who might have been left behind by someone’s suicide, I wanted to describe how I was trained to think about the reasons people kill themselves. They’re not as intuitive as most think.

In general, people try to kill themselves for one of six reasons:

They’re depressed. This is without question the most common reason people commit suicide. Severe depression is always accompanied by a pervasive sense of suffering as well as the belief that escape from it is hopeless. The pain of existence often becomes too much for severely depressed people to bear. The state of depression warps their thinking, allowing ideas like “Everyone would all be better off without me” to make rational sense. They shouldn’t be blamed for falling prey to such distorted thoughts any more than a heart patient should be blamed for experiencing chest pain: it’s simply the nature of their disease. Because depression, as we all know, is almost always treatable, we should all seek to recognize its presence in our close friends and loved ones. Often people suffer with it silently, planning suicide without anyone ever knowing. Despite making both parties uncomfortable, inquiring directly about suicidal thoughts in my experience almost always yields an honest response. If you suspect someone might be depressed, don’t allow your tendency to deny the possibility of suicidal ideation prevent you from asking about it.

They’re psychotic. Malevolent inner voices often command self-destruction for unintelligible reasons. Psychosis is much harder to mask than depression—and arguably even more tragic. The worldwide incidence of schizophrenia is 1% and often strikes otherwise healthy, high-performing individuals, whose lives, though manageable with medication, never fulfill their original promise. Schizophrenics are just as likely to talk freely about the voices commanding them to kill themselves as not, and also, in my experience, give honest answers about thoughts of suicide when asked directly. Psychosis, too, is treatable, and usually must be for a schizophrenic to be able to function at all. Untreated or poorly treated psychosis almost always requires hospital admission to a locked ward until the voices lose their commanding power.

They’re impulsive. Often related to drugs and alcohol, some people become maudlin and impulsively attempt to end their own lives. Once sobered and calmed, these people usually feel intensely ashamed. The remorse is usually genuine, and whether or not they’ll ever attempt suicide again is unpredictable. They may try it again the very next time they become drunk or high, or never again in their lifetime. Hospital admission is therefore not usually indicated. Substance abuse and the underlying reasons for it are generally a greater concern in these people and should be addressed as aggressively as possible.

They’re crying out for help, and don’t know how else to get it. These people don’t usually want to die but do want to alert those around them that something is seriously wrong. They often don’t believe they will die, frequently choosing methods they don’t think can kill them in order to strike out at someone who’s hurt them—but are sometimes tragically misinformed. The prototypical example of this is a teenage girl who—suffering genuine angst because of a relationship with a friend, boyfriend, or parent—swallows a bottle of Tylenol not realizing that in high enough doses Tylenol causes irreversible liver damage. I’ve watched more than one teenager die a horrible death in an ICU days after such an ingestion when remorse has already cured them of their desire to die and their true goal of alerting those close to them of their distress has been achieved.

They have a philosophical desire to die. The decision to commit suicide for some is based on a reasoned decision often motivated by the presence of a painful terminal illness from which little to no hope of reprieve exists. These people aren’t depressed, psychotic, maudlin, or crying out for help. They’re trying to take control of their destiny and alleviate their own suffering, which usually can only be done in death. They often look at their choice to commit suicide as a way to shorten a dying that will happen regardless. In my personal view, if such people are evaluated by a qualified professional who can reliably exclude the other possibilities for why suicide is desired, these people should be allowed to die at their own hands.

They’ve made a mistake. This is a recent, tragic phenomenon in which typically young people flirt with oxygen deprivation for the high it brings and simply go too far. The only defense against this, it seems to me, is education.

The wounds suicide leaves in the lives of those left behind by it are often deep and long lasting. The apparent senselessness of suicide often fuels the most significant pain survivors feel. Thinking we all deal better with tragedy when we understand its underpinnings, I’ve offered the preceding paragraphs in hopes that anyone reading this who’s been left behind by a suicide might be able to more easily find a way to move on, to relinquish their guilt and anger, and find closure. Despite the abrupt way you may have been left, those don’t have to be the only two emotions you’re doomed to feel about the one who left you.


  • Facts about Suicide
  • Eating Disorders
  • Anxiety Disorders
  • Codependency
  • Codependent Behavior
  • Mood Disorders
  • Somatoform Disorders
  • Self Harm
  • Aspergers Syndrome

Suicide, defined as intentionally ending one's life, can be committed for varied, complex, and deeply personal reasons, though there are a number of common factors usually involved. Like cannibalism and incest, suicide is taboo in most societies, though cultural perceptions of suicide do vary greatly from nation to nation. The reasons behind a person's suicide often determine how his or her suicide is viewed by the people of a particular society or culture.

Reasons People Commit Suicide

According to Dr. Alex Lickerman, people end their lives for one or more of six reasons both intentionally and unintentionally:

  • Depression
  • Psychosis
  • Impulsivity
  • A means to cry out for help
  • Physical illness
  • By accident, including drug overdose

Depression is the reason most people associate with suicide, and it is also the most common reason for attempted and completed suicides. Feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness, and despair become pervasive in severely depressed individuals, and they see suicide as the only means to relieve suffering. They typically plan their suicides weeks or even months in advance, often without the knowledge of family or loved ones. Additionally, family and friends of people who are suicidal may be in denial that someone they love dearly is at risk to commit such an extreme and often violent act. Depression can be successfully treated with talk therapy and medication.

Psychosis, particularly schizophrenia, is another major cause of suicide. Though often manageable with medication, many medicated schizophrenics are unable to fulfill their pre-psychotic potential, which can lead to depression. People who are psychotic often hear voices commanding them to either harm others or harm themselves. Psychosis must be treated with medication, and may require hospitalization in the worst situations. Approximately 1% of the world's population is known to suffer from schizophrenia.

Impulsivity, a common trait among those suffering from addiction, bipolar disorder, and borderline personality disorder, is often linked with self-harm, a precursor to the act of taking one's life. People who experience mental illness have a heightened risk of addiction, and drug and alcohol use increases the user's lack of inhibition and impulsivity towards high risk behavior. Sometimes an "impulsive" suicide may be committed in the spur of the moment after weeks or months of planning. Though people who attempt or complete the act of suicide tend to be more impulsive than the overall population, most suicides are planned rather than impulsive acts.

People who attempt suicide as a means to seek help for emotional suffering do so with the belief that their attempt will not be lethal. Sometimes the person attempting suicide does so to inflict guilt or shame on someone who has harmed him or her in some way, be it real or perceived. This kind of suicide attempt is considerably more common in adolescents and young adults and can cause unintended permanent damage or even death

Some people dying from terminal illnesses commit suicide to alleviate suffering in their last months, weeks, or days of life. Depending where they live, assistance may be provided by a health care professional.

A person may kill him - or herself by mistake, through an accidental gunshot wound, oxygen deprivation (used to get high or to achieve sexual arousal, as in the case of erotic asphyxiation), or an unintentional drug or alcohol overdose.

Reasons NOT to Commit Suicide

What to do if you feel suicidal (in the non-euthanasia context)?

Here are the common refrains heard again and again in the rooms of 12-step meetings and therapeutic contexts:

Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.

Ask for help. Reach out.

Call a suicide hotline 1-800-273-8255 or text "SOS" to 741741

Get to a hospital and tell them you are feeling suicidal. Tell a therapist or doctor.

Call 911.

You can recover. There is help and hope.



More than 32,000 people commit suicide each year in the United States. Additionally, there are more than half a million unsuccessful suicide attempts. Nearly 1 million people commit suicide worldwide annually, and the estimated number of suicide attempts ranges from 10 million to 20 million.

Males commit suicide at nearly four times the rate of females, while females attempt suicide at three times the rate of males. In the United States, boys aged 10-14 commit suicide at twice the rate of girls their age. At ages 15-19, males commit suicide at five times the rate of same-age females. By ages 20-24, the ratio increases to six times. Suicide is the 8th leading cause of death among males in the U.S. and the 16th leading cause of death among females.

In terms of ethnicity, non-Hispanic whites and Native Americans have the highest rates of suicide in the United States, while non-Hispanic blacks, Asians, Pacific Islanders, and Hispanics have the lowest. People in rural areas and western states have higher incidences of suicide than their counterparts in urban areas and eastern states. Worldwide, former Eastern bloc European nations have the highest rates of suicide and countries in South America have the lowest. These patterns reflect current trends and change over time.


Nearly 60% of suicides in the U.S. are committed with firearms, and older people are more likely to use a firearm when killing themselves than young people.

  • Other means of committing suicide include:
  • Hanging
  • Drug overdose
  • Poisoning
  • Suffocation
  • Self-mutilation
  • Jumping from a tall structure
  • Vehicular crash

Some have taken extreme measures when committing suicide, including intentional starvation, self-immolation, decapitation, drowning, and lying on a train track as an oncoming train approaches.

Risk factors

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, risk factors for suicide include:

  • Depression and other mental disorders, or a substance-abuse disorder (often in combination with other mental disorders). More than 90 percent of people who die by suicide have these risk factors.
  • Prior suicide attempt
  • Family history of mental disorder or substance abuse
  • Family history of suicide
  • Family violence, including physical or sexual abuse
  • Firearms in the home; firearms are the method used in more than half of all suicides
  • Incarceration
  • Exposure to the suicidal behavior of others, such as family members, peers, or media figures.

People diagnosed with borderline personality disorder (BPD) are particularly vulnerable to suicide, and people with the disorder are more likely to succeed than individuals with any other psychiatric disorder. Approximately 10% of people with the BPD commit suicide, compared to 6% of people with mood disorders. The rate of suicide for people with BPD is more than 50 times greater than that of the general population. Individuals with BPD tend to suffer from rapid and intense mood swings, impulsivity, and negative self-image and emotional experiences, all factors contributing to suicidal behavior. Additionally, BPD often co-occurs with substance abuse, another major risk factor for suicide.


Jack Kervorkian became famous and infamous in the 1990's after inventing a so-called "suicide machine" to administer lethal doses of substances, hastening the deaths of mostly terminally ill clients. The media-dubbed "Doctor of Death" helped more than 130 people end their lives, and spent eight years in a Michigan prison after being convicted of second-degree murder in March 1999. The widow and brother of his terminally ill client supported Kervorkian during his trial. In November 1998 the voters of Michigan defeated a ballot initiative that would have legalized physician-assisted suicide by a wide margin.

Laws authorizing physician-assisted suicide were passed in Oregon in 1994, Washington in 2008, and Montana in 2009. The Oregon law, known as the Death with Dignity Act, was enacted in 1997 and upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2006. Since going into effect, an average of 40 people per-year in Oregon have obtained lethal prescriptions from their doctors and ended their lives following the completion of a waiting period. In 2009, 60 individuals ended their lives by physician-assisted suicide.

Warning Signs

There are certain common signs that a person is planning to kill him- or herself. Those signs include making a will, getting his or her affairs in order, suddenly visiting friends and family members, purchasing instruments of suicide (including a gun, rope, or pills), sudden and significant changes in mood, talking about death or suicide, or writing a suicide note.

MedicineNet lists the following risk factors for suicide:

  • Sex (male)
  • Age younger than 19 or older than 45 years of age
  • Depression (severe enough to be considered clinically significant)
  • Previous suicide attempt or received mental health services of any kind
  • Excessive alcohol or other drug use
  • Irrational thinking
  • Separated, divorced, or widowed (or other ending of significant relationship)
  • Organized suicide plan or serious attempt
  • No or little social support
  • Sickness or chronic medical illness


Widespread treatment is available for people at risk for suicide. Comprehensive inpatient and outpatient treatment plans can be devised by mental health professionals to address an individual's needs. Talk therapy, including cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), has been shown to be effective in helping patients better understand their thoughts, emotions, and behaviors, and how the three affect and feed each other. Pharmacology is also used to treat mood-related symptoms of suicidality. Mood stabilizers, such as lithium and lamictal, and anxiety medications, including chozpine (Clozaril), risperidone (Risperdal), and aripiprazole (Abilify), have been effective in relieving depression, mania, and/or anxiety-related symptoms in patients exhibiting suicidal behavior.

Historical Context of Suicide

Though the earliest instances of suicide are not known, and the act of suicide likely originates long before any written history. The practice of intentionally ending one's life was known to ancient Egyptians, who viewed suicide as an acceptable means of dealing with unbearable physical or emotional suffering. Killing oneself as a form of martyrdom was also as acceptable when done to escape or protest perceived civil, religious, or political persecution.

Though Socrates opposed the act of suicide, believing human life was the property of the gods, the Greek philosopher was forced to carry out his own execution by consuming the poisonous plant hemlock after being found guilty of impiety and corrupting the youth.

Seppuku, or hara-kiri, was a form of ritual suicide practiced by the samurai and daimyo of Japan from the 12th to 19th centuries, and was seen as a heroic and dignified act to avoid shame.

During World War II, Japanese pilots, known as kamikazes, intentionally flew their explosives-laden aircraft into enemy aircraft and warships. Such actions were viewed as honorable and those unwilling to sacrifice themselves for their nation and emperor were often viewed as cowards. Adolf Hitler and his wife Eva committed suicide in 1945 as Soviet troops descended upon the German capital of Berlin. Adolf killed himself with a gunshot wound to the head as a means to either avoid being captured by Allied forces or executed publicly in a humiliating manner similar to his WWII ally, Italian dictator Benito Mussolini. His wife, Eva, died after ingesting a cyanide capsule.

In recent decades, suicide has been glorified in Muslim countries as a means of political protest with the goal of killing as many other individuals as possible, particularly Israelis and people in the West. The 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon involved the suicide of the terrorists who perpetrated them. Those attacks were celebrated in parts of the Muslim World.

The suicide of Mohamed Bouazizi was the catalyst for the Arab Spring protests of 2010 and 2011 in North Africa and the Middle East. The 26 year-old street vendor set himself ablaze in protest of mistreatment at the hands of Tunisian officials in December 2010, dying from injuries sustained in the burning 18 days later. His suicide sparked outrage in the Muslim world and led to the overthrown of several governments, including those in Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya. Cultural Beliefs Around Suicide Through History.

People throughout history have committed the act of suicide in order to avoid religious persecution. Early Christians often chose to be martyrs for their beliefs rather than renounce their faith. After Jewish authorities forbade eulogies or public mourning for those who willfully ended their own lives, suicide began to be stigmatized throughout the Judeo-Christian world. St. Augustine's denouncement of suicide as a sin in the 4th century was the first significant public condemnation of the act by a Christian leader, and came in reaction to the high number of suicides by Christians at that time. In the 13th century, Italian priest Thomas Aquinas denounced suicide as an unforgivable sin for which there was no repentance. His views on the matter inspired criminal and civil laws that heavily discouraged the act of taking one's life.

Suicide was further stigmatized in The Middle Ages as more European societies enacted laws criminalizing suicide. During this time, perpetrators of suicide were not allowed proper burials and their bodies were often disgraced in public. One common practice was to drag the bodies of the dead who died by their own hands in public and deface them. Other common practices were the confiscation of the deceased's property and possessions, leaving the bodies for animals to consume, and publicly shaming or even (ironically) executing those unfortunate enough to survive their suicide attempts.

The stigma of suicide began to wane during the Renaissance and Reformation periods, as long-held assumptions were examined and often challenged. Many of William Shakespeare's plays dealt with suicide; English poet John Donne defended the act of suicide during times of intense personal crisis and suffering; and French philosopher Voltaire wrote in support a person's right to commit suicide in certain circumstances.

In the 19th century, the burgeoning fields of psychology and sociology examined the role society and external influences played in the decision-making processes of people who committed suicide. Societal stressors, while not the sole cause of a person's suicidal behavior, was considered a contributing factor for the first time. Early psychologists such as Theodule-Armand Ribot, Pierre Marie Felix Janet, and Sigmund Freud connected suicide with mental illness, a medical condition requiring treatment by professionals rather than stigma and condemnation. Laws prohibiting suicide were repealed in most western nations during the 19th and 20th centuries.

Suicide has become increasingly destigmatized in the late 20th and early 21st centuries, and laws allowing for assisted suicide's often referred to as "right to die" law's have been enacted in several nations, including the United States, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and Luxembourg. Current trends suggest more liberal attitudes towards assisted suicide in certain circumstances, such as severe physical limitations or terminal illness, will continue to be adopted in countries throughout the world.

Suicide in Popular Culture

Suicide has been addressed in popular throughout history. In recent decades, it has been the subject of numerous films, television episodes, and songs.

Films that have included suicide in their storylines include:

  • An Officer and a Gentleman
  • Coming Home
  • Harold and Maude
  • Heathers
  • Leaving Las Vegas
  • Love and Suicide
  • Ordinary People
  • The Pallbearer
  • Permanent Record
  • The Power and the Glory
  • Romeo + Juliet
  • Vanilla Sky
  • Vertigo
  • The Virgin Suicides

The interaction of dissociation, pain tolerance, and suicidal ideation in predicting suicide attempts


  • Dissociation in relation to suicide attempts is understudied.
  • Dissociation statistically predicted suicide attempts.
  • The suicide ideation and dissociation interaction significantly predicted attempts.
  • The interaction of ideation, dissociation, and pain tolerance predicted attempts.
  • Higher ideation and dissociation predicted attempts, regardless of pain tolerance.


Pain tolerance and dissociation have individually been shown to be risk factors for suicidal behaviors. The aim of the current study was to investigate how dissociation and physiological pain tolerance influence the relation between suicidal thoughts and behaviors. The sample consisted of 70 undergraduate college students who completed self-report measures of suicidality and dissociation and an electrical stimulation task to measure physiological pain tolerance. Results showed that dissociation and suicidal ideation, but not pain tolerance, were independently associated with increased suicide attempts. A three-way interaction of suicidal ideation, physiological pain tolerance, and dissociation statistically predicted number of suicide attempts, with an increased number of suicide attempts associated with high suicidal ideation and dissociation, regardless of pain tolerance. These results suggest that dissociation plays a significant role in predicting suicide attempts, perhaps by engendering a state of disconnect from one's body.

After a Suicide Attempt, the Risk of Another Try

My family is no stranger to suicide and suicide attempts, and we are not alone. To recount just two instances:

A 20-year-old nephew, after receiving a very caring letter from his sister-in-law explaining why she could not be his lover, went to his room, shot himself in the head and died.

A beloved uncle, who had been plagued for years by bouts of severe depression that alternated with mild mania, was seen at a major hospital psychiatric clinic on a Friday and told to come back on Monday. Instead, he took every pill in the house and lay down on a rock jetty in the ocean waiting to die. Luckily, he was found alive by the police, and after hospitalization, a proper diagnosis and treatment for bipolar disorder, he lived into his 80s.

Suicide surpasses homicide in this country. Every 13 minutes someone in the United States dies by his own hand, making suicide the nation’s 10th leading cause of death over all (42,773 deaths in 2015), but second among those aged 15 to 34. Among children aged 10 to 14, the suicide rate has caught up to the death rate from traffic accidents.

Many times that number – more than a million adults and 8 percent of high school students — attempt suicide each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Yet a woeful minority receive the kind of treatment and attention needed to keep them from repeating a suicide attempt.

A common yet highly inaccurate belief is that people who survive a suicide attempt are unlikely to try again. In fact, just the opposite is true. Within the first three months to a year following a suicide attempt, people are at highest risk of a second attempt — and this time perhaps succeeding.

A recent analysis of studies that examined successful suicides among those who made prior attempts found that one person in 25 had a fatal repeat attempt within five years.

Now a new study reveals just how lethal suicide attempts, as a risk factor for completed suicide, are. The study, led by Dr. J. Michael Bostwick, a psychiatrist at the Mayo Clinic, tracked all first suicide attempts in one county in Minnesota that occurred between January 1986 and December 2007 and recorded all the deaths by suicide for up to 25 years thereafter. Eighty-one of the 1,490 people who attempted suicide, or 5.4 percent, died by suicide, 48 of them in their first attempt. The findings were reported in the American Journal of Psychiatry.

When all who succeeded in killing themselves were counted, including those who died in their first attempt, the fatality rate among suicide attempters was nearly 59 percent higher than had been previously reported.

“No one had included people who died on their first recorded attempt, so it’s not in the medical literature,” Dr. Bostwick explained in an interview. “That almost two-thirds end up at the medical coroner after a first attempt is astounding. We need to rethink how we look at the data and the phenomenon of suicide. We need to know more and do more for those who will complete suicide before they get to us for any kind of help.”

The study also showed that the odds of successfully committing suicide are 140 times greater when a gun is used than for any other method. Dr. Bostwick said that most suicide attempts are “impulsive acts, and it’s critical to prevent access to tools that make impulsive attempts more deadly.

“Suicide attempters often have second thoughts, but when a method like a gun works so effectively, there’s no opportunity to reconsider,” he said.

In an accompanying editorial entitled “You seldom get a second chance with a gunshot,” Dr. Merete Nordentoft, a mental health specialist in Copenhagen, and her co-authors wrote that “a suicidal act is the result of a temporary state of the mind.” Given “the high lethality of guns,” they urged that availability should be restricted through such measures as “legal restrictions regarding permission to purchase firearms, waiting periods, safe storage, background checks and registration guidelines.” Such measures have been linked to decreased rates of firearm suicides.

“Most people who attempt suicide change their mind,” they wrote, adding that “most often, firearms do not allow for a change of mind or medical attention to arrive in time. It is, thus, alarming that 21,175 (51 percent) persons who died by suicide in the U.S. in 2013 used firearms.”

In the Minnesota study, men were more than five times as likely to die by suicide as women; they were also more likely to use a gun. However, women who used guns were as likely to die as a result as were the men.

Equally if not more important to preventing successful suicide is paying attention to premonitory signs of suicidal intent and taking appropriate action to diffuse it. People who are depressed, who abuse substances like alcohol or illegal drugs or are having serious relationship difficulties should be considered high risk, Dr. Bostwick said.

In urging practicing physicians to pay more attention to the mental health of their patients, Dr. Catherine Goertemiller Carrigan and Denis J. Lynch wrote in the Primary Care Companion Journal of Clinical Psychiatry that “over 90 percent of persons who commit suicide have diagnosable psychiatric illness at the time of death.”

Psychiatrists, too, need to pay more attention to physical ills, they wrote. “Up to 50 percent of patients with psychiatric complaints have been found to harbor unrecognized medical illnesses that may have contributed to their mental deterioration,” yet fewer than one in five psychiatrists routinely perform physical examinations.

But more often than not, family members and friends are in the best position to spot a potential suicide and take steps to head it off. In addition to depression and substance abuse, signs include making statements (verbal or written) of being better off dead; withdrawing from family and friends; feeling helpless, hopeless, enraged, trapped, excessively guilty or ashamed; losing interest in most activities; acting impulsively or recklessly; and giving away prized possessions.

Most important is to take the person or your suspicions seriously and get immediate professional help even if the person resists. Unless you are a mental health professional, don’t assume you can talk the person out of suicidal intent.

For those who attempt suicide, the chances of a subsequent suicidal death are greatly reduced if one or more follow-up appointments are scheduled, and even further reduced if the person keeps the appointments, Dr. Bostwick said.