Depression and Suicide

Depression and Suicide

Suicide was the 10th leading cause of death in the United States in 2017, and depression or another diagnosable mental or substance use disorder was estimated to be a factor in 90 percent of these. The rate of suicide is highest in individuals 45 – 54 years old (20.2%) and 85 and older (19.4%). Young people are also at risk, with suicide being the second leading cause of death in individuals 10 to 34 years old.

If you know someone who is considering suicide,

  • Show concern and compassion by saying, “Things must really be awful for you to be feeling that way.”
  • Let them know you are there to listen.
  • Encourage them to share what they are feeling.
  • Let them know that people sometimes feel like there is no answer, but that treatment can help them to feel better.
  • Tell them you will support them to find help.
  • Ask if they have a specific suicide plan. If they do, do not leave them alone, and take away any firearms, drugs or objects they could you use to hurt themselves.
  • Take them to a doctor, mental health professional, or hospital emergency room, or call 911 or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1.800.273.8255 for help.

If you are in crisis, call the toll-free National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1.800.273.TALK (8255), available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.


Suicide is often preventable. Knowing the warning signs and who is at risk can help reduce the suicide rate.

Suicide Warning Signs

People who die by suicide exhibit one or more warning signs, either through what they say or what they do. The more warning signs, the greater the risk.

  • Talks about wanting to die or committing suicide
  • Seems preoccupied with death and dying
  • Looking for a way to end his or her life, such as searching online or buying a gun
  • Prepared for death by writing a will and making final arrangements
  • Talks about feeling hopeless, having no reason to live, feeling trapped, being in unbearable pain, or being a burden on others
  • Increases use of alcohol or drugs
  • Sleeps too little or too much
  • Acts recklessly
  • Withdraws from activities
  • Isolates from family and friends
  • Visits or calls people to say goodbye
  • Gives away prized possessions

 

Learn more about suicide prevention.