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Suicide


September is Suicide Awareness Month and it is important that all people know the facts about suicide in America. Suicide is a major public health concern. Around 30,000 people die by suicide each year in the United States. More people die by suicide each year than by homicide. Suicide is tragic, but it is often preventable. Knowing the risk factors for suicide and who is at risk can help reduce the suicide rate.

Who is at risk for suicide?

Suicide does not discriminate. People of all genders, ages, and ethnicities are at risk for suicide. But people most at risk tend to share certain characteristics. The main risk factors for suicide are:

  • Depression, other mental disorders, or substance abuse disorder
  • A prior suicide attempt
  • Family history of a mental disorder or substance abuse
  • Family history of suicide
  • Family violence, including physical or sexual abuse
  • Having guns or other firearms in the home
  • Incarceration, being in prison or jail
  • Being exposed to others' suicidal behavior, such as that of family members, peers, or media figures


The risk for suicidal behavior is also associated with changes in brain chemicals called neurotransmitters, including serotonin, which is also associated with depression. Lower levels of serotonin have been found in the brains of people with a history of suicide attempts. Many people have some of these risk factors but do not attempt suicide. Suicide is not a normal response to stress. It is however, a sign of extreme distress, not a harmless bid for attention.

Men are more likely to die by suicide than women, but women are more likely to attempt suicide. Men are more likely to use deadlier methods, such as firearms or suffocation. Women are more likely than men to attempt suicide by poisoning.

If you know of someone who is considering suicide, do not leave him or her alone. Try to get your loved one to seek immediate help from his or her doctor or the nearest hospital, emergency room, or call 911. Remove any access to firearms or other potential tools for suicide, including medications.
For more information on Suicide Prevention, check out our website at www.mentalhealthamericajc.net.


Contact Us

Mental Health America Jackson County
P.O. Box 51
Seymour, IN 47274
Phone: (812) 522-3480
Fax: (812) 524-8176
E-mail: mhajc@cabjackson.org