What is suicide?

Suicide is the eleventh leading cause of death in the United States and the second leading cause of death among college age students. Suicide is often a cry for help. Individuals may feel hopeless/helpless and think that suicide is the only way out of the feelings or events they are experiencing in their lives.


What can lead to someone feeling suicidal?

Many factors can lead to suicidal thoughts or attempts. These include but are not limited to:

  • Depression, anxiety, and other mental illnesses (i.e. schizophrenia and personality disorders).
  • Alcohol and drug abuse.
  • Loss of a close friend or family member to suicide.
  • Loss of an important relationship.
  • Loss of employment or status.
  • Academic issues.
  • Financial problems.
  • Serious illness.


What are the warning signs?

  • The majority of those who attempt suicide give warning signs.
  • They may talk about suicide and sound helpless and hopeless.
  • They may prepare for their death by making a will, giving away possessions, or by saying good-bye.
  • They may make sudden changes in their personality, eating, sleeping, or sexual habits.
  • They may be deeply depressed.
  • They may show a sudden lift in spirits - this is because they perceive their problems will soon end.


Who dies by suicide?

  • Anyone can die by suicide.
  • Women are more likely to attempt, but men are more likely to die by suicide.
  • Native Americans and Caucasians have higher death by suicide rates.

Visit the following websites regarding suicide among college-age students:

ULifeline Jed Foundation

Myths and Facts about suicide:

Myth: Asking someone if they are feeling suicidal will give them the idea.
Fact: If they are suicidal, they've already been thinking of it. If they haven't, you're not going to give them the idea. It can let them know that it is OK to talk to you about their thoughts regarding suicide because you were comfortable enough to ask them about it.

Myth: Only crazy people think about suicide.
Fact: Most people have thoughts of suicide sometime in their lives. Most people who do attempt suicide or complete a suicide do not suffer from severe chronic mental illness. Rather, they are often confused and feel helpless about a situation.

Myth: If a person is considering suicide, they are beyond help and nothing can be done.
Fact: Most suicidal situations are time-limited crises and are based on unclear thinking. Finding support and solutions to help them through this crisis until they can think clearly again is important.

Myth: People who make unsuccessful suicide attempts just want attention.
Fact: Sometimes suicide is a way to get attention in order to get help. Just dismissing it may make things worse. Without proper help, they may make a more serious suicide attempt next time.

Page last modified August 18, 2017