Suicide is a severe mental health problem that plagues the majority of countries in the world. It affects not just adults of all races and ethnicities but teenagers and children as well. This makes dealing with the problem all the more urgent.
The efforts of private organizations and governments worldwide appear to do little to curb the problem, as evidenced by current suicide statistics. Clearly, there’s so much about suicide and the risk factors that researchers and governments don’t understand.
This article attempts to paint a picture of how grave the problem of suicide is in the world, using some of the latest global facts and statistics.
Top Suicide Facts and Stats (Editor’s Choice)
- About one person in the US dies every 11 minutes because of suicide.
- Suicide costs the US approximately $70 billion a year.
- Law enforcers are 54% more likely to end their lives by suicide than the general public.
- The suicide death rate among bipolar patients is 10 to 30 times higher than the general public.
- The suicide death rate among teens in the first half of 2020 was nearly twice as high as the 2019 rate for the same period.
- Every year, approximately 700,000 people die of suicide.
- More than three-quarters of suicide incidents take place in low and middle-income countries.
Facts About Suicide
1. Suicide is the fourth leading cause of death among 15 to 19-year-old teenagers.
There is no single demographic or age group that is not affected by this severe mental health problem. It affects both adults and teenagers.
According to the World Health Organization, the stats on teenage suicide and mental illnesses report that approximately 10% to 20% of adolescents battle mental health problems globally. Unfortunately, most of the cases are underdiagnosed and undertreated.
Unsurprisingly, these mental health problems lead to severe depression and anxiety, which plague many adolescents today. The problem is untreated depression and anxiety among teenagers can lead to self-harm and suicide.
2. About a fifth of people who commit suicide use pesticides to poison themselves.
Knowing which methods people who commit suicide most commonly use is a key to its prevention. For example, global suicide statistics show that 20% of suicides were carried out by self-poisoning with pesticides. Nations and communities can employ strategies and policies to limit access to these chemicals and circumvent suicide incidents.
3. Studies show that the suicide death rate among bipolar patients is 10 to 30 times higher than the general public.
According to bipolar suicide statistics, people suffering from bipolar disorder have 15% to 20% increased chances of dying by suicide than the general population. In addition, the suicide rate for bipolar disorder patients is two times higher than in patients with major depression.
The figures led researchers to believe in biological and genetic suicide risk factors specific to individuals with bipolar disorder.
US Suicide Statistics
4. Wyoming leads as the state with the highest suicide death rate in the country, with 30.5 per 100,000 people.
According to the latest data from the CDC, Wyoming had the highest suicide death rate in 2020, with 30.5 deaths per 100,000 population. Meanwhile, California has the largest volume with 4,144 suicide deaths.
Since the agency has yet to release the list of the highest suicidal states for 2022, most possibly the rankings will be different in the next few years because of the coronavirus pandemic.
5. About one person in the US dies every 11 minutes because of suicide.
Suicide is becoming a severe public health problem in the US. From 2000 to 2019, national suicide statistics recorded a 30% growth in suicide rates in the US. And in 2020, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention recorded about 45,979 deaths by suicide, which loosely translates to five deaths per hour on average.
6. Millions of Americans plan their suicide.
Suicide is one of the leading causes of death in the US, and it affects all age groups. This is why it’s not surprising that a significant percentage has contemplated and attempted suicide. In fact, suicide attempts statistics report that 12.2 million people in the US thought about suicide. 3.2 million conceived a suicide plan, and 1.2 million attempted to carry out that plan.
7. Nine out of ten suicide attempts don’t end in death; the victims continue to live on and don’t actually die by suicide.
While suicide significantly impacts families and the community, many people who attempt suicide don’t die from the act. The statistics on suicide attempts from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention show that 90% of those who attempt suicide live on. However, suicide attempt has lasting effects, which include severe physical injuries and mental illness.
8. Suicide costs the US approximately $70 billion a year.
The problems arising from suicide and its attempts aren’t limited to physical injuries and mental illnesses. It’s also costly. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention suicide statistics, the country loses approximately $70 billion annually in medical expenses and lost productivity.
9. Law enforcers are 54% more likely to end their lives by suicide than the general public.
The country’s problems with suicide aren’t limited to the general population.
A significant percentage of law enforcement officers have committed suicide in the last two decades. Statistics show that law enforcement workers, including sheriffs, wardens, police, and corrections personnel are 54% more likely to die by suicide than the general population.
Suicide among police officers is most prevalent. According to police suicide statistics, this category has a 64% higher proportion of deaths by suicide compared to other jobs in law enforcement.
Researchers believe exposure to the nature of police work is a factor in the increased risk of suicide among people in uniform.
10. The latest veteran suicide statistics show a 7.2% drop in suicide deaths among veterans in 2019 compared to 2018.
(US Department of Veterans’ Affairs)
The most recent suicide count in veterans shows there were 399 fewer deaths by suicide in this demographic. This is a 7.2% decline from the figures recorded in 2018. Many believe this results from the collective efforts of the public and private organizations and agencies on suicide prevention.
11. Records show that one person goes to the Golden Gate Bridge every seven to ten days to commit suicide.
(The NAN Project)
The Golden Gate Bridge has been dubbed as the suicide magnet of the world because it seems to attract individuals with suicidal ideation.
According to Golden Gate Bridge suicide attempt statistics, this national historic landmark entices one individual to commit suicide every seven to ten days. Unfortunately, 98% of the attempts are said to be fatal. This prompted survivors and the people who lost a loved one to suicide to propose the erection of a suicide deterrent barrier on the Golden Gate Bridge.
12. The suicide death rate among teens in the first half of 2020 was nearly twice as high as the 2019 rate for the same period.
Suicide among teenagers is one of the most pressing health issues the US is dealing with today. The disturbing figures in suicidal behavior and mortality rate are further aggravated by the stress and trauma caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
The recent adolescent suicidal behavior statistics show that 17% of high school students have considered ending their lives. Even more disturbing is that 8% of high school students have acted on those thoughts.
13. Suicide attempts among adolescent girls from February to March 2021 have increased by 50.6% compared to the same period in 2019.
The pandemic is taking its toll on the mental health of adolescents in the US. Proof of this is the rising teen suicide statistics across the country, as reported by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
Records of emergency department visits from July to August 2020 show a 26.2% increase in suspected suicide cases among teenage girls (12-17 years old) compared to the records of the same period a year before. From February to March 2021, the agency reported an astounding 50.6% increase in suspected suicide cases among girls compared to the same period in 2019.
The rising figures suggest the need for a more comprehensive approach that involves multisectoral partnership in dealing with factors that affect an adolescent’s risk for suicide.
14. Alaska had the highest adolescent suicide death rate in the US in 2021, with 44,9 deaths per 100,000 teens.
The US teenage death statistics 2022 show that Alaska leads in the country as the state with the highest adolescent suicide death rate. There were approximately 44,9 suicide deaths per 100,000 teenagers in Alaska. This is more than four times the national average suicide death rate of 11 per 100,000 adolescents.
Researchers point to mental health problems like depression and bipolar disorder, and substance abuse as primary culprits behind the staggering statistics.
15. The suicide attempt rate among adolescent boys amid the coronavirus pandemic increased by 3.6%.
The answer to how many suicidal deaths in 2021 CDC expects is primarily affected by the suicide attempts adolescents make.
While there was a 50.6% increase in suicide attempts among teenage girls at the beginning of 2021, adolescent boys only had a 3.6% increase in suicide attempts which is close to the pre-pandemic rate. However, researchers think this is an underrepresentation of the exact figures since many adolescents who attempt suicide are unlikely to seek medical attention.
16. Out of 100,000 men in the US, about 22 die by suicide.
Suicide statistics by gender in the US show consistently higher suicide rates for men than women since 1950. The suicide death rate may have fluctuated throughout the years, but the pattern remains the same.
In 1950, about 21.2 men for every 100,000 male population died of suicide, while only 5.6 per 100,000 women successfully committed suicide.
Almost 70 years later, the latest suicide stats still display a similar model, with approximately 22.8 men per 100,000 male population dying by suicide, and about 6.2 women per 100,000 female population successfully committing suicide.
17. The distribution of deaths by suicide in the US shows that most suicide cases are non-Hispanic white Americans.
A breakdown of the suicide stats by race in the US shows that some ethnic groups are more susceptible to suicide than others. Non-Hispanic whites account for an astounding 80.4% of suicide cases in the US. Meanwhile, only 7% and 7.2% of deaths by suicide are from non-Hispanic Black American and Hispanic groups.
A similar pattern is observed in a gender-adjusted breakdown of suicide rates.
18. According to transgender suicide statistics, about 43% of the transgender population in Australia has attempted suicide.
(University of Melbourne)
The transgender community is one of the most diverse people groups in the world. People from all walks of life are well represented in this community. Yet, despite the diversification, this group is one of the most discriminated and marginalized groups worldwide.
The mounting discrimination and deprecating experiences impact the wellbeing of transgender individuals. As a result, a significant percentage of the group’s population battles anxiety and depression, leading to suicidal ideation.
About 63% of surveyed transgender people in Australia admitted to self-harm. What’s more disconcerting, 43% have actually attempted suicide. To circumvent the disturbing trend, researchers believe interventions geared toward social inclusion are necessary.
World Suicide Statistics
19. Every year, approximately 700,000 people die of suicide.
Despite being a preventable occurrence, the World Health Organization still documents a very high global suicide rate that reaches hundreds of thousands. The latest stats on suicide show the number remains somewhere near 703,000 per annum. Sadly, this tragedy has a lasting impact on communities and countries.
20. The number of suicide cases in Canada is expected to increase by at least 418 more deaths if the unemployment rate increases.
(Centre for Suicide Prevention)
Based on Canada’s data for unemployment and suicide death rates since 2000, a single percentage point increase in unemployment resulted in a 1% increase in suicide mortality.
Researchers presented two figures based on the projected unemployment rate. If the unemployment rate increases by 1.6% in 2020 and 1.2% in 2021, the suicide rates 2020-2021 will result in 418 excess suicides for 2020 to 2021. On the other hand, if the unemployment rate increases by 10.7% and 8.9% in 2020 and 2021, that period will witness 2,114 additional suicides.
21. More than three-quarters of suicide incidents take place in low and middle-income countries.
Suicide is a persistent health issue happening on a global scale. It’s a problem not just among developed nations but also among low and middle-income countries. As a matter of fact, suicide statistics worldwide for 2019, the year for which the most recent data is available, report that 77% of suicides happened in underdeveloped and developing countries.
22. Children and teenagers who experience cyber-bullying are 1.9 times more likely to commit suicide.
Studies show that cyber-bullying leads to fatigue, insomnia, depression, and poor performance in its victims. All these effects are detrimental to the victim’s mental health and school performance. But, nothing is worse than the loss of life.
A study on cyber-bullying suicide stats has led researchers to conclude that victims of cyber-bullying are 1.9 times more predisposed to commit suicide than non-victims. This increased risk is caused by the feelings of helplessness and depression cyberbullying causes in children and teenagers.
23. Greenland had the highest number of suicidal deaths per country in 2020.
According to the current statistics on suicide per country, Greenland leads the world with 51 suicidal deaths per 100,000 population. Social problems like alcoholism, depression, dysfunctional families, and conflict in marriages are the most common driving factors for suicide in the country.
24. In Belgium, 2,444 people died by assisted death in 2020.
Ever since Belgium decriminalized euthanasia and assisted deaths for terminally ill patients in 2002, the physicians assisted suicide statistics in the country have been on the rise.
In 2002, only 24 people underwent assisted deaths. This figure rose to 2,444 in 2020. However, researchers believe the numbers are conservative estimates of the actual figure since there are likely unofficial cases unaccounted for due to the socially unaccepted nature of the practice.
25. Japan’s suicide count in 2021 slightly decreased from the number of cases in 2020.
After almost a decade of a downward trend in suicide cases, Japan witnessed a rise in suicide count in 2020 and 2021.
The recent Japan suicide statistics documented 21,081 deaths by suicide in 2020 and 21,007 cases in 2021, almost a thousand more than the 20,169 cases recorded in 2019. Analysts believe the increase is the result of the difficulties and economic problems brought by the coronavirus pandemic.
26. About 3.5% of suicide deaths in women are likely due to PTSD.
Researchers infer that PTSD is one of the risk factors for suicide and suicide ideation. This hypothesis is based on a study of PTSD suicide statistics in Sweden.
According to researchers’ findings, the suicide rate for women with PTSD was 6.7 times higher than for women without the condition. They also discovered that the increased rate wasn’t unique to women since men with PTSD were four times more likely to die because of suicide.
Further, the study revealed that it only takes two and a half years, on average, from a PTSD diagnosis for an individual to die by suicide. This makes treatment of the disorder all the more urgent.
27. The British suicide rates 2000-2020 show fluctuating death rates between 9 and 11.1 per 100,000 population.
The suicide mortality rate in the UK dropped to 10 deaths per 100,000 population in 2020 amid the coronavirus pandemic. While this decline is worth celebrating, a retrospective look at Britain’s suicide death rate since 2000 shows that numbers fluctuated between 9 and 11.1 deaths for 20 years.
28. One in eight UK adults is contemplating suicide because of an unhealthy body image.
A growing number of adults in the UK exhibit unhealthy perceptions of their bodies, leading to higher percentages of the population struggling with anxiety and depression. This is alarming since the UK suicide statistics report that 13% of UK adults had suicidal thoughts because of their bodily self-image.
Based on the statistics we’ve discussed, it’s clear that suicide is one of the global health concerns with no clear solution in sight. At best, we have clues of possible correlations between suicide and some risk factors such as depression, bipolar disorder, and anxiety.
However, governments worldwide still don’t have concrete strategies and policies to battle this problem and reduce the suicide mortality rate. Therefore, private organizations and public agencies need to develop policies and strategies to reduce suicide mortality.
Why do people commit suicide?
People commit suicide for various reasons. Sometimes these reasons are a complex combination of mental health problems and social conditions. Other researchers would even argue that a person’s biological makeup or genes possibly play crucial roles in a person’s decision to commit suicide.
Here are some of the possible circumstances or situations that might lead to suicide:
- Mental illnesses like depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder
- Stress from traumatic experiences such as sexual abuse, physical abuse, and war
- Use of psychoactive substances that leads to impulsivity
- Terminal illnesses and chronic pain
- Social isolation
Who is most likely to commit suicide?
Although suicide affects people of all ages, genders, races, ethnicities, and social standing, some groups seem to face greater risks than others.
For example, statistics show that people with unhealthy body image are at greater risk of developing depression and anxiety, leading to suicidal tendencies. Among this group with a negative perception of their bodies, LGBT people were more likely to think about inflicting harm on themselves.
Data also shows that veterans and older adults are more susceptible to suicidal thoughts because of loss of purpose and chronic illnesses.
Interestingly, non-Hispanic White Americans also have higher suicidal risks since the group accounts for about 80.4% of all suicide cases in the country.
How many suicide cases are reported per year?
According to statistics, approximately 700,000 people die every year worldwide because of suicide. About 77% of these suicide deaths belong to low and middle-income countries.
In the US, over 40,000 people die by suicide each year. This includes adolescents between 15 to 19 years old, the age group that is said to have suicide as the fourth leading cause of death.
How many kids commit suicide due to bullying?
It’s difficult to know for sure how many children and teenagers committed suicide because of bullying. But studies show that kids who experience different kinds of bullying such as physical bullying, cyberbullying, and sexting are two to nine times more likely to attempt suicide.
Survey shows that students who experienced bullying and suicidal thoughts say that feelings of powerlessness and depression pushed them to entertain those thoughts and consider suicide an escape.
Which state has the most cases of suicide and mental illness?
Suicide rates and statistics per state vary every year. But the latest records from CDC show that Wyoming has the highest death rate with 30.5 suicide deaths per 100,000 population.
When it comes to the highest number of cases, California leads with 4,144 deaths by suicide. These suicide statistics are likely to change significantly because of the pandemic’s impact on the mental state of Americans.