About Suicide

Around the world, across the United States and in Rhode Island, suicide is considered a public health crisis.

Around the World

Every year, almost one million people die from suicide; a “global” mortality rate of 16 per 100,000, or one death every 40 seconds.

In the last 45 years suicide rates have increased by 60% worldwide. Suicide is among the three leading causes of death among those aged 15-44 years in some countries, and the second leading cause of death in the 10-24 years age group; these figures do not include suicide attempts which are up to 20 times more frequent than completed suicide.

Suicide worldwide is estimated to represent 1.8% of the total global burden of disease in 1998, and 2.4% in countries with market and former socialist economies in 2020.

Although traditionally suicide rates have been highest among the male elderly, rates among young people have been increasing to such an extent that they are now the group at highest risk in a third of countries, in both developed and developing countries.

Mental disorders (particularly depression and alcohol use disorders) are a major risk factor for suicide in Europe and North America; however, in Asian countries impulsiveness plays an important role. Suicide is complex with psychological, social, biological, cultural and environmental factors involved.

For more information visit the World Health Organization (WHO) website.

In the United States

In 2007, it was the tenth leading cause of death in the U.S., accounting for 34,598 deaths. The overall rate was 11.3 suicide deaths per 100,000 people.

An estimated 11 attempted suicides occur per every suicide death.

For more information visit the websites for the National Institute of Mental Health and the U.S. Surgeon General.

In Rhode Island

Suicide, death by self-harm, is the leading cause of intentional injury death in Rhode Island.

Statewide, there are more than twice as many suicides as homicides.

Unlike national suicide rates which peak among the elderly, Rhode Island suicide rates peak among individuals between the ages of 35 and 54.

Rhode Island males have a suicide rate more than double that of Rhode Island females (12. vs. 5.1/100,000), accounting for 78.5% of all suicides in the state.

For more information visit the RI Department of Health Report report “The Burden of Injury in Rhode Island.” Other suicide related information by topic is available on the RI Department of Health website.

Suicide Prevention Resources for Rhode Island Residents

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