from the National Center for Health Statistics 2005
- Over 32,000 people in the United States die by suicide every year.
- Suicide is the 11th leading cause of death in the United States.
- Ninety percent of all people who die by suicide have a diagnosable psychiatric disorder at the time of their death.
- There are four male suicides for every female suicide, but twice as many females as males attempt suicide.
- Suicide is the fifth leading cause of death among those 5-14 years old.
- Suicide is the third leading cause of death among those 15-24 years old.
- The suicide rates for men rise with age, most significantly after age 65.
- The rate of suicide in men 65+ is seven times that of females who are 65+.
- The suicide rates for women peak between the ages of 45-54 years old, and again after age 75.
- Over 60 percent of all people who die by suicide suffer from major depression. If one includes alcoholics who are depressed, this figure rises to over 75 percent.
- Depression affects nearly 10 percent of Americans ages 18 and over in a given year, or more than 19 million people.
- Alcoholism is a factor in about 30 percent of all completed suicides.
Preventing Suicide in Communities
Colorado has among the highest suicide rates in the country. Depression Center faculty and staff work with schools and communities to assist in the immediate response to deaths and the prevention of future deaths by suicide. The Depression Center’s Suicide Prevention Team is led by Michael H. Allen, MD, a nationally recognized expert in emergency psychiatry and a member of the Governor’s Advisory Panel on Suicide Prevention. Dr. Allen works closely with national experts in suicide prevention and post-vention to ensure that the services offered by the Depression Center utilize the best evidence and include innovative approaches in preventing and responding to suicide.
The Suicide Prevention Team’s work includes:
Responding to Suicides in the Community. The impact of a suicide on a school or community can be devastating. The Center’s faculty and staff offer assistance in responding to crises by helping people with coping and grieving, developing crisis response plans to help reduce the likelihood of additional suicides taking place and to assist the media in the sensitive and accurate reporting of suicides.
Developing Suicide Prevention Plans. Many communities wish to address their suicide rate in an effort to prevent such tragedies from occurring. But often a community’s approach to suicide prevention is to stage a one-time training session or media campaign that may help in the short run but over time the effect wears off and rates go back up. By working with employers, schools, civic groups, first responders and suicide survivor groups, the Depression Center helps develop plans that are comprehensive, creating a multi-layer safety net in the community, and that are sustainable and ongoing.
Gatekeeper Training. The Question, Persuade and Refer (QPR) program is an evidence-based suicide prevention program offered to individuals and groups nationally. Like CPR for heart attacks, QPR is an intervention that helps people recognize the warning signs of someone who is in danger of committing suicide, gives strategies for asking them about their intent to commit suicide, how to persuade them to get help, and how to help them access that help. The Depression Center has staff and faculty certified to provide this training to groups and individuals in the state.
Research. The Depression Center participates in research to further explore and evaluate ways to improve the identification and treatment of suicidal persons and ways to prevent suicide in different populations.
Strong Partnerships. The Depression Center is an active member of the Suicide Prevention Coalition of Colorado and has strong relationships with their member organizations. The Suicide Prevention Team also works closely with the State Office of Suicide Prevention in the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.
Suicide Prevention Resources
Anonymous and free crisis intervention, counseling and referral
Questions, Persuade and Respond. A simple yet highly effective training teaching people to recognize the warning signs for suicide and how to intervene to save a life.