About Suicide


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

Around the World

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), every year, almost one million people die from suicide; a “global” mortality rate of 10 per 100,000. There are 800,000 more deaths by suicide than war and homicide combined.

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 1.4% of the total global burden of disease in 2015.  More than 75% of suicides occur in low and middle income countries.

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

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) WISQARS Leading Causes of Death Reports, in 2017:

  • Suicide was the tenth leading cause of death overall in the United States, claiming the lives of over 47,000 people.
  • Suicide was the second leading cause of death among individuals between the ages of 10 and 34, and the fourth leading cause of death among individuals between the ages of 35 and 54.
  • There were more than twice as many suicides (47,173) in the United States as there were homicides (19,510).

For more statistical information, please also visit the websites for the National Institute of Mental Health, the U.S. Surgeon General and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

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 is available on the RI Department of Health website.

Suicide Prevention Resources for Rhode Island Residents

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