Suicide Prevention Resource Guide

Together we have the power to prevent harm and suffering from injury and violence.

Suicide has emerged as the second leading cause of death for children ages 10-19 years old in the United States. More than 1,000 Washington residents die by suicide every year.

Key Facts:

  • For every person who dies by suicide in the U.S., 60 will survive a suicide attempt.
  • 20 percent of tenth grade students in Washington have seriously considered suicide.
  • Nationally, suicide is the second leading cause of death among youth ages 15–24

Youth and Suicide

  • 18 percent of Washington 10th graders report they considered attempting suicide in the past year, 12 percent report having a plan for a suicide attempt, and 7 percent report attempting suicide.
  • An average of 2.6 young people between the ages of 10 and 24 kill themselves each week in Washington State. An average of 17 adolescents are admitted to the hospital with non-fatal suicidal behavior.
  • More than 50 percent of adolescent suicides were carried out with guns from the victim’s home. Always lock up firearms.

Recognize the signs. Know what to do.

Risk Factors

  • Mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety or bipolar disorder
  • Drug or alcohol abuse
  • Previous suicide attempt
  • Stressful live events such as loss of job, death in family, or relationship problems
  • Prolonged stress factors such as harassment, bullying, or unemployment
  • Access to firearms, drugs or other lethal means
  • Family history of suicide
  • Chronic health conditions/pain

Warning Signs

  • Giving away of personal items or saying goodbye to others
  • Withdrawal from family or friends
  • Talking or writing about suicide or death
  • Getting affairs in order (paying debt, changing wills)
  • Depressed, sadness, loss of interest
  • Desperate comments about being a burden, feeling trapped, no reason to live
  • Increased alcohol or drug use
  • Self-harm behaviors (eg, cutting, risky behaviors)
  • Newly attained weapon or medication
  • Erratic sleep patterns
  • Moods of irritability, anxiousness, anger and/or humiliation.

What You Can Do

  • If someone talks about or exhibits behaviors that make you suspect the person is suicidal, follow these steps.
  • Take it seriously.
  • Talk to the person. Listen and show compassion. “I know you’ve had a hard time lately, how are you holding up?”
  • Ask, “Are you thinking about hurting yourself?”.
  • If you feel the person is suicidal, do not leave them alone. Remove all possible lethal means from the area (including firearms and medications).
  • Refer the person to help (National suicide support: www.SuicidePreventionLifeline.org; Seattle-King County: www.CrisisClinic.org)
  • Get help: If they don’t or can’t contact someone, do it for them.

For more information visit Pacific Northwest Suicide Prevention Resource Center

Resources for youth, educators and parents.

  • Forefront is changing the way we talk – and what we do – about suicide in Washington, particularly on campuses and in K-12 schools.
  • Youth Suicide Prevention Program – Tools, curriculum ,training, information, and data for youth, parents, LGBTQ, and teachers.
  • The Trevor Project provides crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning youth.
  • National Child Traumatic Stress Network – Helping children understand trauma.
  • The Jed Foundation – Suicide prevention resources for college and university campuses, including campus faculty and staff, students and parents.

Additional resources:

Suicide Statistics

King County

Suicide Rate = 12.84/100,00

  • In a study of King County firearm suicides and suicide attempts, 65 percent of children and adolescents used weapons stored in their home.
  • The King County suicide rate has increased by about 18 percent in the last decade.
  • Firearm injury is the leading cause of suicide death in King County.
  • Seattle-Tacoma has the second highest suicide attempt rate out of the 33 largest metropolitan areas in the United States.

Washington State

Suicide Rate = 15.78/100,00

  • Suicide is the #2 cause of death for 10-24-year-olds.
  • Firearms were the leading method of suicide for both males and females.
  • In 2014, 1,111 Washington residents died by suicide.
  • American Indians and Alaska Natives die by suicide at a higher rate than every other ethnic and racial group.
  • From 2012-2015, 77 percent of suicide deaths were males.

United States

Suicide Rate = 13.0/100,00

  • One person dies of suicide every 12.3 minutes.
  • Suicide is the #10 leading cause of death overall.
  • Females attempt suicide three times as often as males, though males die by suicide at four times the rate of females.
  • Despite having a much lower suicide rate overall, the firearm suicide rate in the U.S. is six times that of other high-income countries.

Suicide accounts for more deaths than homicide in the United States.

Suicides are preventable. Know the risk factors and warning signs so you can help.

While mental health problems are an important risk factor for suicide, they do not fully explain the differences in suicide between states and regions. Other factors, such as demographics and the prevalence of firearm ownership are important in explaining differences in suicide.

While suicide is a leading cause of death among adolescents and young adults, the highest rate of suicide is in middle aged adults.

While females are more likely to attempt suicide; males, particularly white males, are more likely to die by suicide. 7 in 10 suicides in 2014 were white males.

A vast majority of individuals who attempt or commit suicide have risk factors or show warning signs ahead of time. Learning about those signs can help you save a life.

Studies have found that more than 75 percent of all completed suicides did things in the few weeks or months prior to their deaths to indicate to others that they were in deep despair. Anyone expressing suicidal feelings needs immediate attention.

It’s best to talk to the person as soon as you suspect something might be wrong. In a study of suicide survivors, 24 percent reported that less than five minutes elapsed from the time they decided to end their life and their suicide attempt.

While pill overdoses account for a large number of suicide and suicide attempts each year, most suicides are actually firearm-related.

An estimated 90 percent of suicide attempts using a firearm result in death, while those who attempt suicide by other means are far more likely to survive a suicide attempt. 2 percent of suicide attempts by pill overdose and 1 percent of suicide attempts by cutting survive their attempt. Means matter.

Keeping firearms locked and unloaded is associated with a lower risk of suicide among those living in the household, including children and adults.

In a nationwide study of adolescents who live in households with firearms, 41 percent reported that they could easily access the gun. Adolescents with mental health problems were just as likely to report easy access to a household firearm as adolescents without mental health or substance abuse problems.

Do you need help right now? Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1.800.273.TALK.

This web site is provided for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute providing medical advice or professional services. The information provided should not be used for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, and those seeking personal medical advice should consult with a licensed physician. No physician-patient relationship is created by this web site or its use. Neither HIPRC, the University of Washington, nor its employees, nor any contributor to this web site, makes any representations, express or implied, with respect to the information provided herein or to its use.