Facts and Myths about Suicide

An estimated quarter million people each year become suicide survivors.

American Association of Suicidology

Suicide Statistics

The following statistics statistics on suicide are compiled by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Click here to view their statistics page.

Suicide claims more lives than war, murder, and natural disasters combined.

American Association for Suicide Prevention

Facts About Suicide in the US

  • Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the US for all ages.

  • Every day, approximately 123 Americans die by suicide. (CDC)

  • There is one death by suicide in the US every 12 minutes. (CDC)

  • Depression affects 20-25% of Americans ages 18+ in a given year. (CDC)

  • Suicide takes the lives of over 44,965 Americans every year. (CDC)

  • The highest suicide rates in the US are among Whites, American Indians and Alaska Natives.

  • Only half of all Americans experiencing an episode of major depression receive treatment. (NAMI)

  • 80% -90% of people that seek treatment for depression are treated successfully using therapy and/or medication. (TADS study)

  • An estimated quarter million people each year become suicide survivors (AAS).

  • There is one suicide for every estimated 25 suicide attempts. (CDC)

  • There is one suicide for every estimated 4 suicide attempts in the elderly. (CDC)

  • Nearly 800,000 people die by suicide in the world each year, which is roughly one death every 40 seconds.

  • Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death in the world for those aged 15-24 years.

  • Depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide.

  • On average, there are 129 suicides per day.
  • In 2017, firearms accounted for 50.57% of all suicide deaths.
  • In the U.S., no complete count of suicide attempt data are available. The CDC gathers data from hospitals on non-fatal injuries from self-harm as well as survey data.
  • In 2015, approximately 575,000 people visited a hospital for injuries due to self-harm.
  • Based on the 2017 National Survey of Drug Use and Mental Health it is estimated that 0.6 percent of the adults aged 18 or older made at least one suicide attempt.
    • This translates to approximately 1.4 million adults.
    • Adult females reported a suicide attempt 1.4 times as often as males.
  • Based on the 2017 Youth Risk Behaviors Survey, 7.4 percent of youth in grades 9-12 reported that they had made at least one suicide attempt in the past 12 months.
    • Female students attempted almost twice as often as male students (9.3% vs. 5.1%).
    • Black students reported the highest rate of attempt (9.8%) with white students at 6.1 percent.
    • Approximately 2.4 percent of all students reported making a suicide attempt that required treatment by a doctor or nurse. For those requiring treatment, rates were highest for Black students (3.4%).
AFSP’s latest data on suicide are taken from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Data & Statistics Fatal Injury Report for 2017. Suicide rates listed are Age-Adjusted Rates.

Suicide in Collier and Lee Counties

The News-Press reviewed Lee and Collier medical examiners’ reports on suicides between 2004 and 2014 and interviewed dozens of prevention experts and survivors to determine the extent of Southwest Florida’s suicides.

Patterns in Lee and Collier Counties

  • Men kill themselves most often. They are overwhelmingly white, middle-aged, and more than half the time, use guns.
  • Drugs prescribed to treat physical pain and mental illness are frequently the lethal means by which people end their lives.
  • Deaths from suicide in Lee and Collier are most prevalent in the adults older than 45, following the national pattern. The average age of those committing suicide in Lee and Collier in 2014: 51 and nearly 54, respectively.
  • The youngest person in Southwest Florida to die from suicide in the last decade was 8 years old.
  • The oldest in person in Southwest Florida to die from suicide was 100, medical examiner’s records show
  • The public Lee Memorial Health System, which operates nearly 95 percent of Lee County’s acute-care hospital beds, counted 871 cases of attempted suicides and self-harm requiring medical treatment in 2014, according to records obtain under Florida’s open records law.

Local barriers to mental health assistance 

  • Florida has infamously ranked 49th or 50th in recent per capita spending for mental health care. But government funding is hardly the region’s only mental health deficiency.
  • Lee County has 580 mental health care providers, or 1 for every 1,140 residents, according to data compiled by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute. That is nearly half the rate for Florida overall and roughly a third of those in U.S. communities considered “top performers.”
  • Collier County has 331 such providers, or 1 for every 1,026 people.
  • A typical mental health counseling session locally runs $100 to $180 per session, a steep price tag in a region whose median wages are $14 to $15 an hour.

 

Myths about Suicide

MYTH: PEOPLE WHO KILL THEMSELVES ARE “WEAK,” OR “COWARDS” OR “SELFISH.”

FACT: An estimated 90 percent of people who kill themselves have one or more treatable mental illnesses, such as depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and/or a substance abuse problem. Most people thinking about suicide want to end the intense mental or physical pain they are suffering.

MYTH: TALKING ABOUT SUICIDE TO SOMEONE AT RISK WILL PUT THE IDEA INTO THEIR HEAD AND CAUSE THEM TO TRY IT.

FACT: Talking about it gives a person a chance to talk about their problems and lead them to find help.

MYTH: TEENAGERS AND COLLEGE STUDENTS ARE AT THE HIGHEST RISK FOR SUICIDE.

FACT: The highest rates of U.S. suicides (and those in Southwest Florida) are people between the ages of 45 and 65. The rate is highest among white men over 65.

MYTH: PEOPLE WHO TALK A LOT ABOUT SUICIDE ARE JUST SEEKING ATTENTION AND DON’T ACTUALLY WANT TO DO IT.

FACT: People who talk frequently about suicide are at risk for dying by suicide. They are cries for help.

If you have lost a loved one to suicide. We are here to support you in your time of grief and healing. Join us at our weekly Surviving After a Suicide Loss support group.

References

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Data & Statistics Fatal Injury Report for 2017, Facts about Suicide any Myths about Suicide, Retrieved from  https://afsp.org/about-suicide/suicide-statistics/

Gluck, F, Newspress.com, Out of the darkness: Putting a face on suicide (2015 – updated 2017), Patterns in Lee and Collier County, Barriers to mental health assistance, Retrieved from  https://www.news-press.com/story/news/investigations/2016/01/15/suicide-prevention-deaths-southwest-florida-lee-county-collier-county/74212084/