Depression and Suicide

Depression and Suicide

Suicide was the 10th leading cause of death in the United States in 2012, and depression is estimated to be a factor in two-thirds of these. Older adults are at the highest risk, with white males age 85 and older consistently having the highest suicide rate. Young people are also at risk, with suicide one of the top three leading causes of death of young people ages 15 to 24.

If you know someone who is considering suicide, show concern and compassion by saying, “Things must really be awful for you to be feeling that way.” Let them know you are there to listen. Encourage them to share what they are feeling. Let them know that people sometimes feel like there is no answer, but that treatment can help them to feel better. Tell them you will support them to find help. Ask if they have a specific suicide plan. If they do, be sure you don’t leave them alone, and take away any firearms, drugs or objects they could use to hurt themselves. Take them to a doctor, mental health professional or hospital emergency room, or call 911 or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1.800.273.TALK (8255) for help.

If you are in crisis, call the toll-free National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1.800.273.TALK (8255), available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Suicide is often preventable. Knowing the warning signs and who is at risk can help reduce the suicide rate.

Suicide Warning Signs

People who kill themselves exhibit one or more warning signs, either through what they say or what they do. The more warning signs, the greater the risk.

  • Talks about wanting to die or committing suicide
  • Seems preoccupied with death and dying
  • Is looking for a way to kill himself or herself, such as searching online or buying a gun
  • Prepared for death by writing a will and making final arrangements
  • Talks about feeling hopeless or having no reason to live
  • Talks about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain
  • Talks about being a burden to others
  • Increases use of alcohol or drugs
  • Sleeps too little or too much
  • Acts recklessly
  • Withdraws from activities
  • Isolates from family and friends
  • Visits or calls people to say goodbye


Learn more about suicide prevention.