A woman experiencing signs of suicide.
Healthy Living

Who’s Most at Risk for Suicide?

Sep 6 2022

You can now connect with mental health counselors across the country by using a 988 dialing code, the new three-digit suicide and crisis lifeline, to call, text or chat. Like 911 operators assist with medical, safety or fire emergencies, the new 988 lifeline service providers will help people experiencing mental distress.

As a health care system, we are committed to providing enhanced access to services for our patients that address a variety of behavioral and mental health issues, including suicide.

To help everyone understand potential risk factors and signs, Dr. Balaji Saravanan and our highly skilled behavioral health team in Lorain, Ohio have compiled the following important information about suicide.

Who’s most at risk for suicide?

When it comes to who is at greater risk with suicide, we’ll start by looking at the differences in gender. Although females are more likely to attempt suicide, males are more likely to die by suicide.

Currently, white males older than 65 years old hold the highest suicide rate in the country; however, children, African American males and Native American males are among the fastest-growing groups to die from suicide. It also has become the second-leading cause of death among those between 25 to 34 years of age. Risk of death by suicide is two to three times greater in youth who identify as a member of the LGBTQ community.

Risk factors influencing suicide are multiple.

Individuals with prior attempts are at increased risk. Having access to firearms as well as knowing someone who has completed suicide, especially if it were a family member, increases your risk. Having a mental health disorder as well as the use of drugs and alcohol increases the risk. In fact, alcohol contributes to roughly 30 percent of suicides, with depression and other mood disorders including anxiety contributing to 60 to 90 percent of all suicides.

Social isolation, chronic health conditions and chronic pain issues further affect suicide. Practitioners and researchers are closely monitoring the ramifications of the COVID-19 pandemic and its role in any increases in suicide rates.

What are signs someone may be in trouble?

We all need to be invested in reducing this increasing statistic. Being mindful of warning signs can save lives. Although now you know who is at most risk, it is important to also understand that not everyone will exhibit the same warning signs, much like other illnesses or diseases.

Some warning signs may include, but are not limited to:

  • Dramatic mood swings or changes in behavior and/or appearance
  • Impulsive or reckless behavior
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Recent trauma or life crisis

Read this blog post for additional suicide warning signs.

Our Mercy Health providers are keenly aware of factors that play into thoughts of suicide. By listening, observing and caring with compassion, they can recognize risks in vulnerable populations. Learn more about the integrated behavioral health services we offer at Mercy Health. 

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