SUICIDE - 10 Facts You Need to Know

A nationwide survey of high school students in the United States found that 16% of students reported seriously considering suicide. If you haven't thought about killing yourself, chances are you know someone who has. High school suicide is more common than most people realize. One study I read revealed that, within a typical high school classroom of 20 students, it is likely that three students have made a suicide attempt in the past year.

Think about that for a moment the next time you are in a classroom. Look around and realize that 3 people you see have felt overwhelmed and considered suicide as their only option out.

Jess has those very feelings: "I have considered suicide many times in my life. I am bipolar and when I get really depressed I want to kill myself. Life also becomes overwhelming with school and things going on at home."

Suicide is the second leading cause of death for 15-34 year-olds in the U.S.

On Saturday and Sunday nights, my radio show Dawson McAllister Live went for two hours. Sometimes just after the show, I'd say to myself, "While the show was going on, some teenager or young adult across America died by suicide." I am deeply grateful that my show and TheHopeLine have saved thousands of people from killing themselves. Yet I am still haunted by the many we could not reach.

If our resources on suicide can help one person turn away from taking their life, it will all be worth it. Maybe it will be Jess, or the person who emailed me anonymously: "I struggle with suicide. I just need some help." Or maybe that someone is you.

Here Are 10 Depression and Suicide Statistics

1. Males take their own lives at nearly four times the rate of females and represent 77.9% of all suicides.

2. Females are more likely than males to have suicidal thoughts.

3. About 2/3 of people who complete suicide are depressed at the time of their deaths. Depression that is untreated, undiagnosed, or ineffectively treated is the number one cause of suicide.

4. People who have a dependence on alcohol or drugs in addition to being depressed are at greater risk for suicide.

5. Most suicidal people give definite warning signals of their suicidal intentions, but others are often unaware of the significance of these warnings or unsure of what to do about them.

6. Suicide is preventable. Most suicidal people desperately want to live; they are just unable to see alternatives to their problems.

7. Talking about suicide does not cause someone to become suicidal. It actually helps to talk about suicide, and the feelings and thoughts behind it.

8. Surviving family members not only suffer the loss of a loved one to suicide, but are also at higher risk of suicide and emotional problems.

9. People who are depressed and exhibit the following symptoms are at particular risk for suicide:

  • Extreme hopelessness
  • A lack of interest in activities that were previously pleasurable
  • Heightened anxiety and/or panic attacks
  • Global insomnia
  • Talk about suicide or a prior history of attempts/acts
  • Irritability and agitation

10. Peer support plays an important role in the treatment of mental and substance use disorders and holds the potential for helping those at risk for suicide.

We Can All Help

As Roselyn wrote: We need to find ways among ourselves to prevent suicide from happening, not just leave it to experts or therapists. She is right. Experts are needed, but most people turn to their friends for help first. That's why I wrote this blog on how to help a suicidal friend.

If you or a friend need support right now, please visit the suicide prevention resource page. Head here for a list of crisis centers around the world.

Center for Disease Control 2015 Report
World Health Organization GHO(Global Health Observatory)
TN Suicide Prevention Network Facts About Suicide
National Strategy for Suicide Prevention (NSSP)

Dawson McAllister
Dawson McAllister, also known as America's youth pastor, was an author, radio host, speaker, and founder of TheHopeLine. McAllister attended Bethel College in Minnesota for undergraduate work where he graduated in 1968, began graduate studies at Talbot School of Theology in California, and received an honorary doctorate from Biola University.
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6 comments on “SUICIDE - 10 Facts You Need to Know”

    1. Rylee, Thank you for reaching out to talk about this. You are worthy and your life matters. It's important that you talk to someone about this. They can help you with your thoughts of suicide and give you some ways to cope when you are feeling suicidal. We have a partner that you can help you through this. We are emailing you with some information to help you so please check your email. If you need someone to talk to right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1.800.273.8255 or chat online with them at You can reach the Crisis Text Line 24/7 by texting “START” to 741-741 too.
      Here is a list of additional suicide prevention resources

  1. I'm 16. Self diagnosed bipolar disorder. The one psychiatrist I had didn't bother confirming or denying my analysis so I'm still in doubt. My family knows this. They know I'm suicidal and that I self harmed. They've witnessed most of the hours long uncontrollable sobbing episodes and they've seen the over-ecstasy. They still try to pretend that it isn't serious. Or maybe they've just genuinely forgotten about it. I don't know which is worse. I don't want to die. But life hurts a lot and I'm trying but I'm alone and scared and clueless. I don't know what to do. I don't know how long I can manage staying alive.

    1. praying for ya im in similar boat and im not sure what will help maybe just that you still want to live thats a big deal! live its worth it to stick around

  2. Of course there is a reason for why I feel suicidal it comes from being mentally and physically abused most of my life and the feeling that no matter how hard I try I can't escape the feelings of worthlessness associated with it honestly suicide feels like the easiest answer for how genuinely awful life has been Im only 22 and I feel like I've experienced enough pain and grief to last forever I've been chronically depressed for as long as I can remember and the thought of spending even 5 more years like this is unbearable

    1. im so sorry for the pain i hear in your words that comes from your heart im 28 and find life really dang hard to keep living in but trying counts and believe it or not but there is other options and easier solutions than suicide

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