• Over 47,000 people die by suicide each year.
  • The rate has gone up by 30% over the last 16 years.
  • The rate of suicide among young Black children between the ages of 5 -12 has doubled in the last 15 years.  
  • Native Americans have the greatest incidence of suicide.
  • About 85 percent of suicide attempts with a firearm end in death. (Drug overdose, the most widely used method in suicide attempts, is fatal in less than 3 percent of the cases.) 
  • For attempted suicides, Men are more likely to complete suicide compared to women.
  • The rate of suicide is highest in middle-age white men.
  • In 2017, men died by suicide 3.54 times more often than women. 
  • On average, there are 129 suicides per day.     
  • White males accounted for 69.67% of suicide deaths in 2017. 
  • In 2017, firearms accounted for 50.57% of all suicide deaths.

Youth and Suicide

  • The rate of high school-aged youth considering and committing suicide continues to rise, particularly among female students.
  • Children do not have the words to express hurts, disappointments or observations. 
  • Getting Black youth linked to culturally-affirming counselors is key to decreasing the rate of suicide. 
  • Give the youth a safe space to express and process stress, issues, and concerns. 
  • Value children and allow children to feel loved.  

Risk Factors Leading to Suicide

  • Exposure to trauma, response/reaction to trauma, and how trauma is processed are directly correlated to a suicide attempt. 
  • Negative engagement by others due to a person’s sexual orientation. 
  • Depression – issue of hopelessness and not being able to see your way out.  
  • Substance abuse. 
  • Being bullied or enduring a hostile work or home environment.
  • Experiencing life-changing situations – job loss, death of a friend or family member, relationship break-up.


Protective Factors Preventing Suicide

For The Individual at Risk

  • Feeling comfortable in your emotions knowing that they are temporary.
  • Having a trusted mental health provider when stress, depression, or overwhelming emotions are present for more than several weeks.
  • Exercising – physical movement for 20 – 30 minutes, three times a week. 
  • Gaining coping skills.
  • Having spirituality or a belief in a higher power.

For Family and Friends of Individuals at Risk

  • Get Educated and gain awareness about signs of depression, suicide ideation.
  • Create intentional safe spaces for those with mental health challenges.
  • Listen without always having a solution if the person discusses their issues. 
  • Ask the person directly if they are thinking of harming themselves with a non-judgmental disposition

Warning Signs of Suicidal Ideation

  • Giving away possessions  
  • Demeanor and change in mood – very irritable
  • Isolating and withdrawing from others.
  • May actually speak about self-harm and suicide. Not your job to know if someone is seeking attention behavior. Take every suicide threat seriously.  
  • Verbal cues such as  “I don’t want to be here”, “I don’t want to be a burden to you”, and “you all would be better off without me.” 


Resource Information

  • The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention has resources on their website.
  • Visit the CDC’s Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS) to analyze national, state, and local youth risk behaviors
  • The web-based program, CALM Tools for Living, is available for use by clinicians or agencies. CALM is a structured therapeutic approach that has been demonstrated to be effective in helping people to reduce their anxiety and depression symptoms.