Suicide is when people direct violence at themselves with the intent to end their lives, and they die as a result of their actions. Suicide is a leading cause of death in the United States. A suicide attempt is when people harm themselves with the intent to end their lives, but they do not die as a result of their actions. Many more people survive suicide attempts than die, but they often have serious injuries. However, a suicide attempt does not always result in a physical injury.
Suicide is a significant problem in the United States, according to the National Centers For Disease Control (CDC). For example, according to 2013 statistics: 41,149 people killed themselves that year, and over 494,169 people were treated in U.S. emergency departments for self-inflicted injuries. Suicides result in an estimated $44.6 billion in combined medical and work loss costs.
In 2013, suicide was the second leading cause of death among persons aged 15-24 years, the second among persons aged 25-34 years, the fourth among person aged 35-54 years, the eighth among persons aged 55-64 years, the seventeenth among persons 65 years and older, and the tenth leading cause of death across all ages.
How can we help prevent this epidemic? One strategy is to learn about the warning signs of suicide, which can include individuals talking about wanting to hurt themselves, increasing substance use, and having changes in their mood, diet, or sleeping patterns. When these warning signs appear, quickly connecting the person to supportive services is critical. Promoting opportunities and settings that strengthen connections among people, families, and communities is another suicide prevention goal.
Call 911 if someone is in immediate danger of hurting himself/herself.
For more information about suicide prevention and connectedness, see Preventing Suicide: Program Activities Guide (www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/suicide/index.html) and Promoting Individual, Family, and Community Connectedness to Prevent Suicide Behavior (www.cdc.gov/ViolencePrevention/ pdf/Suicide_Strategic_Direction_Full_Version-a.pdf).