Sep 7, 2021
10 Stats About Suicide to Raise Awareness and Drive Prevention

Suicide is a public health issue all over the world—but it’s one than can be prevented.

Driving awareness around mental health and removing the stigma around asking for help is the key to suicide prevention, as research finds that suicide is most often tied to mental illness as well as substance misuse.

In honor of National Suicide Prevention Week (September 5-11), we’ve scoured the web for some of the latest stats on suicide: The what, why and who. Read on to better understand how suicide risk is tied to social and economic status, gender, mental health, and more.

1. Nearly 800,000 people die worldwide each year from suicide, which is about one person every 40 seconds. (Source: World Health Organization)

2. Death by suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the U.S., and the second leading cause of death for people 15-34. (Source: American Association of Suicidology)

3. The highest suicide rates in the U.S. are found in Caucasian men over age 85. However, suicide is also one of the leading causes of death in adolescents and adults ages 15 to 24. (Source: John Hopkins Medicine)

4. There are 3.6 male suicide deaths for every female death by suicide. (Source: American Association of Suicidology)

5. Forty-six percent of people who die by suicide had a known mental health condition. (Source: National Alliance on Mental Illness)

6. Seventy-seven percent of suicides occur in low- and middle-income countries, where most of the world’s populations reside. (Source: World Health Organization)

7. Veterans are at 50% higher risk of suicide than their peers who have not served. (Source: Stop Soldier Suicide)

8. By 2030, the total of veteran suicides will be 23x higher than the number of post-9/11 combat deaths, accounting for more than $221 billion in public costs. (Source: Stop Soldier Suicide)

9. At least one LGBTQ youth between the ages of 13-24 attempts suicide every 45 seconds in the United States. (Source: The Trevor Project)

10. The financial toll of suicide on society is costly. Suicides and suicide attempts cost the nation over $70 billion per year in lifetime medical and work-loss costs alone. (Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

"Mental health issues like depression, anxiety and stress are some of the leading causes of suicide, and the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated mental health challenges for many people all over the world," said Dr. Douglas Nemecek, chief medical officer of behavioral health at Cigna. "While we can't accurately predict a suicide attempt, it can be helpful to understand what might put a person at risk. Education is key. At Cigna, we are committed to raising awareness around mental health. The more that we do to create a safe space for people to get help and confront their mental health issues, the more resilient they can be in dealing with these challenges.”

Check out this livestream event hosted by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), which goes through suicide prevention research, including ways of identifying risk, and effective prevention strategies. 

Suicide Awareness and Prevention

Suicide and suicide attempts are devastating acts that can seem to have come from nowhere. Cigna wants everyone affected to know you are never alone.

Browse expert advice and information around suicide awareness and prevention in our Wellness Center.