Suicides are on the rise;
are they preventable?

Here are the alarming facts about suicide:

  • In 2016, approximately 9.8 million people considered taking their own life.
  • On an average, one person dies by suicide every 12 minutes in the US.
  • We lose more than 800,000 people to suicide each year.
  • In 2017, there were twice as many suicides than homicides in the US.
  • Suicide is the 10th major cause of death worldwide.
  • It is the leading cause of death in men under the age of 50.
  • It was the second leading cause of death for people aged 10 to 34 in the US in 2017.
  • Lesbian, gay, bisexual and questioning youth are almost five times more likely to attempt suicide.
  • Approximately 40 percent of transgender adults reported having made a suicide attempt.
  • Nearly 10.5 percent of people age 18 to 25 in the US had serious suicidal thoughts in 2017.
  • For every suicide, there are 25 attempts.
  • Depression, a major contributing factor to suicide, affects 20 percent to 25 percent of Americans over the age of 18.
  • Only half of all Americans experiencing an episode of major depression receive treatment.
  • Approximately 80 percent to 90 percent of people who seek treatment for depression are treated successfully using therapy or medication.

Suicide is now considered a public health emergency. Rates of suicide​​ are at historically high levels, having jumped 27 percent since 2000, according to a report from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

Suicidal thoughts can affect anyone regardless of age, gender or background.

Even though suicide has become a huge national concern, often it still is shrouded in stigma, pain and judgment. People tend to tip toe around the subject, and often they need to talk about it, especially if they feel a loved one may be in trouble.

Up to 90 percent of those who die by suicide have an underlying mental health issue, and about 46 percent have a diagnosed mental health issue.

Unfortunately, individuals with mental health conditions face on average an 11 year delay between experiencing symptoms and starting treatment. We need to change this. We all can benefit from honest conversations about mental health and suicide. Just one conversation may change a life.

Suicide always leaves the question of why, and this is especially true when the person who commits the act seemingly has so much to live for.

Are there warning signs?

Is suicide preventable?

What can you do if someone you love is in danger of harming themselves?

Here are a few signs that you, or a loved one, may be suffering from a mental health issue:

  • Prolonged depression, sadness or anxiety
  • Feelings of extreme highs and lows
  • Excessive fears, worries and anxieties
  • Social withdrawal
  • Dramatic changes in eating or sleeping habits
  • Strong feelings of anger
  • Growing inability to cope with daily problems and activities
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Numerous unexplained physical ailments
  • Substance use

In adolescents or young children, you may see these signs:

  • Changes in school performance
  • Poor grades despite strong efforts
  • Changes in sleeping or eating habits
  • Excessive worry or anxiety (
  • Refusing to go to school or bed
  • Hyperactivity
  • Persistent nightmares
  • Persistent disobedience or aggression
  • Frequent temper tantrums

If you, or someone you know, is struggling with a mental health issue, seek help. The Center for Relationship and Sexual Health has a full team of qualified and highly trained mental health therapists who can help you. Simply call the center at 248.399.7447 for an appointment.

With effective treatment, suicide can be prevented.