World Suicide Prevention Day: Suicide 10th Leading Cause of Death among Americans

First Posted: Sep 10, 2013 10:14 AM EDT

For what has become known as World Suicide Prevention Day, medical professionals are looking into preventable measures regarding mental disorders and various high-stress environmental factors that may lead someone to contemplate ending his or her life. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows from collected data regarding mortality that in the United States as of 2010, 38,364 suicides were reported, making suicide the 10th leading cause of death among Americans. The statistics show in fact that during that year, someone died in the country by suicide every 13.7 minutes.

In order to measure changes in the prevalence of suicide over time, the CDC calculated the country's suicide rate each year, showing the number of suicide deaths that occur for every 100,000 people in the population that is reported.

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention shows that over a 20-year-period from 1990 to 2010, suicide rates in the U.S. dropped and then rose again.

Certain factors may put various individuals at a greater risk for suicide, including four key demographic variables via the CDC: age, sex, race/ethnicity and geographic region/state.

Much research suggests that other variables also affect suicide rates, including socioeconomic status, employment, occupation, sexual orientation and gender identity.

Background information shows that men are more likely than women to commit suicide. In fact, previous statistics rank them at four times more likely to kill themselves than women.

Among ethnicities, whites and American Indians were more likely to commit suicide than other racial counterparts.

Western regions of the United States experienced the highest rates of suicide, followed by the South, the Midwest and the Northeast.

And lastly, the most common method of suicide was firearm, with suffocation methods and poisoning following after.

Having a serious mental disorder can greatly increase suicide risk, including the following disorders: depression, manic-depressive bipolar disorder, alcohol or substance abuse, schizophrenia, etc.

Various environmental factors that encompass highly stressful situations can also be a cause for concern when looking at suicide warnings.

If you, a friend or loved one may be suffering from these symptoms, don't wait to get help and call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. Just remember that 90 percent of people who do commit suicide have a treatable psychiatric disorder at the time of death.  

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