Preventing Suicide

Suicide is a serious public health problem that affects people of all ages. For Americans, suicide is the eleventh leading cause of death, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It resulted in 34,598 lives lost in 2007. The top three methods used in suicides included firearm (50%), suffocation (24%), and poisoning (18%).

Deaths from suicide are only part of the problem. More people survive suicide attempts than actually die. In 2009, more than 374,000 people received medical care for self-inflicted injuries at Emergency Departments across the United States, according to the CDC.

Several factors can put a person at risk for suicide. However, having these risk factors does not always mean that suicide will occur. Some of the risk factors identified by research include

Most people are uncomfortable with the topic of suicide. Too often, victims are blamed and their families and friends are left stigmatized. As a result, people do not communicate openly about suicide. Thus an important public health problem is left shrouded in secrecy, which limits the amount of information available to those working to prevent suicidal behavior.

If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or visit the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline Web site at

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). (Updated 2012, September 10). Preventing suicide. Retrieved March 4, 2013, from

Disclaimer: This document is intended for general information only. It does not provide the reader with specific direction, advice, or recommendations. You may wish to contact an appropriate professional for questions concerning your particular situation.

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