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Suicide and Self-Harm

Suicide and Self-Harm

If you or a loved one are thinking about suicide, remember that you are NOT alone and help is available.

As the second leading cause of death (after accidents) for people aged 10 to 34, suicide is a serious public health problem. Learn more about suicide prevention at In 2020 in the United States, over 45,000 people died by suicide. An estimated 1.4 million adults attempt suicide each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). More than one in five people who died by suicide had expressed their suicide intent. Men are more than three times more likely than women to take their lives. Firearms are the most common method of suicide (used in about half of all suicides). Yet, suicide is preventable. Knowing the risk factors and recognizing the warning signs for suicide can help prevent suicide. Risk Factors, Warning Signs and Protective Factors Suicide is linked to mental disorders, particularly depression and alcohol use disorders, and the strongest risk factor for suicide is a previous suicide attempt. The Suicide Prevention Resource Center defines risk and protective factors and warning signs: Risk factors are characteristics that make it more likely that an individual will consider, attempt or die by suicide. Warning signs indicate an immediate risk of suicide. Protective factors are characteristics that make it less likely that individuals will consider, attempt or die by suicide. Risk Factors for Suicide Certain events and circumstances may increase risk (not in particular order, except first one). Previous suicide attempt(s) A history of suicide in the family Substance misuse Mood disorders (depression, bipolar disorder) Access to lethal means (e.g., keeping firearms in the home) Losses and other events (for example, the breakup of a relationship or a death, academic failures, legal difficulties, financial difficulties, bullying) History of trauma or abuse Chronic physical illness, including chronic pain Exposure to the suicidal behavior of others In some cases, a recent stressor or sudden catastrophic event, failure or can leave people feeling desperate, unable to see a way out, and become a “tipping point” toward suicide.

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