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Suicide Prevention

What is suicide?

Suicide is a very difficult topic for most people to talk about.  It is when a person takes his or her own life, or does something to make himself or herself die. Most often, people who choose suicide are severely depressed and feel that death is the only way to get out of their situation. It’s important for every person to know that help is available to anyone dealing with these types of feelings, and suicide can be prevented.  

Why does it happen?

The reasons for suicide are complex.  Research shows that 90% of people who die from suicide had a potentially treatable mental health problem at the time of their death, a problem that may have gone unrecognized or untreated. However, most experts agree that it is a unique combination of factors that contribute to any individual suicide. Some examples of contributing factors include stressful situations such as loss of employment, traumatic military service, being a victim bullying, substance abuse, or prolonged stress or physical pain. 

Who is most at risk for suicide? 

A person who is dealing with multiple types of stressors such as those described above is usually the most at-risk for suicide.  While suicide affects people from all different walks of life, rates of suicide do vary quite a bit between different groups of people. People between the ages of 45-59 have the highest rates of suicide, followed by those who are 75 years and older.  Males have a rate of suicide that is 4 times higher than that of females. Teens have a lower rate of suicide than adults; however suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death amongst this age group. 

What is suicide prevention?

Suicide prevention is an effort to reduce or end the number of suicides.  There are many different approaches to reach people who may be thinking of suicide.  Hotlines, support groups, counselors, and family and friends can all work towards helping a person realize that there is a light at the end of the tunnel to whatever situation they are facing; and that they are loved and important and that the world wouldn’t be the same without them in it. 

Need help? The national suicide prevention hotline for U.S. residents is: 1-800-273-8255.

Learn More

Suicide Facts and FiguresWarning Signs of Suicide(PDF) Books on this topic

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