• The Sorrow of Suicide – National Institute of Health

    Wednesday July 11, 2012

    Suicide is tragic. It cuts a life short, and it devastates the family, friends and loved ones left behind. Those who survive a suicide attempt might end up with severe disability or other injuries. The children of people who die by suicide are more likely to later die by suicide themselves. With such extreme consequences, why would anyone make the dire decision to choose death over life?

    That's a question scientists have been struggling to answer for decades. "When you're in a suicidal state, you're kind of closing down your options. You see it as the only solution. You're not really able to entertain other ideas," says Dr. Jane Pearson, who heads a suicide research consortium at NIH. "What's the science behind that? What's happening in the brain that leads people to think so dysfunctionally?"

     Recognizing those at risk is essential. Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death nationwide, and it's the 3rd leading cause of death among adolescents. Nearly 37,000 Americans died by suicide in 2009, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. More than half of those deaths were from firearms.

    People of all genders, ages and ethnicities are at risk for suicide. Women are more likely than men to attempt suicide, but men are more likely to die by suicide. That's because men often choose deadlier methods, such as firearms or suffocation.

    "The highest risk groups are older men," says Pearson. "In fact, white men who are 85 and older have a rate of suicide that's 4 times the national average."

    To read the entire NIH report in this attachment.

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