Facts about Suicide
In 2004, approximately 32,400 people died from suicide in the United States, making it the eleventh leading cause of death in this country. Almost all people who kill themselves have a diagnosable mental disorder, most commonly depression, or a substance abuse problem.
Research helps determine which risk factors can be modified to help prevent suicide and which interventions are appropriate for specific groups of people. For example, because research has shown that mental and substance-abuse disorders are major risk factors for suicide, many programs also focus on treating these disorders.
Studies showed that a type of psychotherapy called cognitive therapy reduced the rate of repeated suicide attempts by 50% during a year of follow up. A previous suicide attempt is among the strongest predictors of subsequent suicide, and cognitive therapy helps suicide attempters consider alternative actions when thoughts of self-harm arise. Other kinds of psychotherapy may be helpful for specific groups of people.
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a toll-free number available to anyone 24 hours a day, every day. The number is 1-800-273-TALK (8255). All calls are confidential.