Who is at risk of committing suicide?

Deciding who is at risk of committing suicide is somewhat like asking, "Who is at risk of trauma?" We are all at risk, but certain people may be at higher risk. Some things that put someone at higher risk of suicide include a history of previous suicide attempt, severe depression, substance abuse and access to a method, especially a gun.
Over 42,000 people took their own lives in 2014, making suicide the tenth leading   cause of death in the U.S. Suicide was responsible for more deaths than   either homicide or HIV/AIDS. In that same year, suicide was the second leading   cause of death for 10 to 34 years of age. Certain segments of the population appear   to be at greater risk for suicide. Males in general exhibit higher rates of   suicide, particularly elderly Caucasian men. Whites had the highest suicide rate in 2015, followed by American Indians and Alaska Natives, Hispanics, Asians and Pacific Islanders, and African Americans. Women attempt suicide more frequently than do men by a ratio of 3:1.   However, more men complete suicide with a gender ratio of 3.5:1. For every   suicide completed, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention estimates   that there may be 12 to 25 suicide attempts. Firearms constituted the most common   means used by men to take their lives in 2014, accounting for 55.4% of   suicides. Women used poisoning most often, accounting for 34.1% of female suicides.
One in 10 persons suffering from schizophrenia commits suicide. Four in ten are known to have attempted suicide. Seventy percent of people who commit suicide suffer from depression. We are not telling you anything new when we say that suicide is a serious problem, a problem that many family members have had to deal with and a problem that many families fear mightily. Yet, when we read statistics and listen to radio programs about who is most at risk we rarely hear about the large proportion of people with mental illnesses. One statistic that we did not expect is that only 2% of those with schizophrenia who commit suicide do so in response to command voices.
Young men and those with chronic illness are more at risk. A good educational background and high performance expectations are also risk factors. Some people are more aware of their illness than others and fear for the future and possible deterioration.

Suicide is more likely to happen in an upswing of illness, when the symptoms have abated a little and the person sees reality more clearly. Feelings of hopelessness may run high at this time.

People often keep their thoughts of suicide very private. Rarely do professionals know how they feel. People are more likely to confide in family members, most naturally their mothers or close siblings, but some people confide in no one. Talking about suicide should be taken seriously as it is often a plea for help.

Most people who commit suicide have a history of depression or depressive features. They have taken a bleak view of the future.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.