Suicide in the United States
Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States. In 2009, the total number of suicide deaths was 36,909. It was the 7th leading cause of death for males, and 16th leading cause of death for females. Suicide was the third leading cause of death for young people ages 15 to 24. In 2008, it was observed that U.S. suicide rates, particularly among middle-aged white women, had increased, although the causes were unclear. The government seeks to prevent suicides through its National Strategy for Suicide Prevention, a collaborative effort of Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institutes of Health, Health Resources and Services Administration, and Indian Health Service. Their plan consists of 11 goals aimed at preventing suicides. Older adults are disproportionately likely to die by suicide.
Number of suicides by age group and gender
|Age (years)||5 - 14||15 - 24||25 - 34||35 - 44||45 - 54||55 - 64||65 - 74||75+||All|
There have been many high-profile incidents in the United States in the 1990s, 2000s and 2010s of individuals committing "suicide by cop" or killing others before killing themselves. Examples include the 1999 Columbine High School massacre, the 2007 Virginia Tech massacre, the 2010 Austin plane crash and the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.
Rates compared to other countries
A 2009 U.S. Army report indicates military veterans have double the suicide rate of non-veterans, and more active-duty soldiers are dying from suicide than in combat in the Iraq War (2003-2011) and War in Afghanistan (2001–present). Colonel Carl Castro, director of military operational medical research for the Army noted "there needs to be a cultural shift in the military to get people to focus more on mental health and fitness."
Suicide rates for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) youth and adults in the U.S. are three times higher than national averages. According to some groups, this is linked to heterocentric cultures and institutionalised homophobia in some cases, including the use of LGBTQ people as a political wedge issue, such as in the contemporary efforts to halt legalizing same-sex marriages. Many tie bullying, including cyberbullying to suicides of LGBTQ youth. Singer Lady Gaga has been outspoken on these issues, and has met U.S. President Barack Obama to urge that bullying of this nature be declared a hate crime. Founded in 1998 to address suicide among LGBT youth, The Trevor Project has enlisted a variety of celebrities, including Ellen DeGeneres, Daniel Radcliffe, Neil Patrick Harris, James Marsden, Chris Colfer, Kim Kardashian, Darren Criss, Dianna Agron, George Takei, and Anderson Cooper. They use National Suicide Prevention Week to launch new initiatives and campaigns utilizing their celebrity supporters. The project was founded by the Academy Award-winning filmmakers of Trevor, about a gay thirteen-year-old boy who attempts suicide when his friends reject him because of his sexuality. The filmmakers realized that some of the program's viewers might be facing the same kind of crisis as Trevor, and not finding a helpline for LGBTQ youth they created one. The Trevor Lifeline is the only nationwide, around-the-clock crisis and suicide prevention helpline for LGBTQ youth.
- Assisted suicide in the United States
- National Suicide Prevention Week
- Teenage suicide in the United States
- Suicide among LGBT youth
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