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The Facts About Suicide

The Facts
Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S.

However, it is the 2nd leading cause of death on college campuses

 Institutes of higher education across the nation are increasingly concerned about the relatively high rates of suicidal behaviors among college-aged students. Suicide: it is the 3rd leading cause of death during late adolescence and early adulthood (ages 15 and 24), following accidental injury and homicide. But 2nd among college students, making it a serious public health concern for ETSU.

  • Over 90 percent of youth who die by suicide had at least one psychiatric illness at the time of death
  • In about half such cases, the psychiatric illness was present, although often unrecognized, for two years or more.
  • The most common diagnoses among youth are depression, substance abuse and conduct disorders.
  • Men are four times more likely than women to die by suicide, but women attempt suicide four times as often.
  • Men tend to choose more violent means and women choose less violent means that increase the opportunity for discovery before death.
  • People who chronically abuse alcohol are six times more likely to try suicide than non-abusers.
  • For every one death by suicide, at least six other people are severely affected.


People consider suicide when they become hopeless, feel helpless to change their situation, and see suicide as their only option to end their unbearable pain. People who are suicidal perceive suicide as the solution to an unsolvable problem, and are often ambivalent about dying. Speaking openly with a suicidal person communicates interest and caring. For the suicidal individual, communication can reduce anxiety and decrease the likelihood that the individual will engage in an impulsive act.


Knowledge of risk and protective factors is important. Please take a few minutes to familiarize yourself with the following important factors:

Risk Factors:

• Mental illness and substance use disorder
• Previous suicide attempts
• Firearms in the household
• Non-suicidal self-injury
• Exposure to a friend's or family member's suicidal behavior
• Low self-esteem


Protective Factors:

• Family connectedness and school connectedness
• Reduced access to firearms
• Safe schools
• Academic achievement
• Self-esteem




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