Suicide Is A Growing Problem. These Numbers Show By How Much.

It's time to address this problem.
tyannar81 via Getty Images

Suicide, already a major issue across the country, is continuing to grow: A report published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2016 found that rates have spiked in the last 15 years.

While many factors contribute to deaths by suicide, experts point to a troubling lack of access to professional treatment as an element. A confluence of roadblocks ― from the stigma of seeking help for mental illness, to the difficulty of finding a therapist in some communities to the financial investment that is out of reach for many ― keep people from getting the help that they need.

Experts stress that education and awareness around mental health issues can help to an extent, particularly to tear down negative stereotypes and help encourage others to get help.

In acknowledgment of World Suicide Prevention Day on September 10, here are data that illuminate the scope of this growing problem:


The percent increase in suicide rates in the United States from 1999 to 2014, a 2016 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report found.


The ranking of suicide among leading causes of death in teenagers in the U.S. In 2006, suicide was the third-leading cause of death, behind accidents and homicide.


The percentage increase in suicide rates over the last 15 years of middle-aged men between 45 to 64. They had the greatest uptick in suicides among any other male age group, according to the CDC study.


The percentage increase in suicide rates over the last 15 year years among young women ages 10 to 14, according to the CDC report.


The percentage increase in Google searches on “how to commit suicide” following the release of Netflix’s “13 Reasons Why,” a show about a high school student who dies by suicide. Experts say entertainment programming that highlights suicide can have an effect on outcomes, including increasing the risk of copycat acts that may be portrayed on screen.


The number of American Indians per every 100,000 who died by suicide in 2015. It’s the second-highest rate of any ethnicity (with whites having the highest rate). In 2000, only 9.8 per every 100,000 American Indians died by suicide.


The percentage of young adults who had serious thoughts of suicide in 2015, according to a 2016 Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration report. That figure rose from 7.5 percent in 2014.

If you suspect someone you know is at risk for suicide, there are ways to help. Here’s what to do if someone posts an alarming status on social media or makes a comment about hurting themselves. There are also helpful phrases you can say to someone who may be dealing with a mental health issue.

The stats on suicide are striking. And they’re proof it’s an issue that deserves to be addressed as seriously as other public health issues.

If you or someone you know needs help, call 1-800-273-8255 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. You can also text HELLO to 741-741 for free, 24-hour support from the Crisis Text Line. Outside of the U.S., please visit the International Association for Suicide Prevention for a database of resources.

Go To Homepage

Before You Go