About Suicide

#Bethe1to Know: the facts

Suicide is the 12th leading cause of death in the US

In 2020 there were 45,979 deaths by suicide and 1.2 million suicide attempts

14.2 per thousand people died by suicide in 2018, on average that equates to 132 suicide deaths per day

The rate of suicide is highest among middle-aged white males 

Firearms accounted for 52.83% of all suicide deaths in 2020

Stats provided by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

According to the NYS Community Health Indicator Report Orange County had 121 deaths by Suicide between 2017 and 2019.

2021 State Fact Sheets New York (PNG) Opens in new window

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Suicides Orange County (PNG)

What Is Suicide?

Suicide is when people direct violence at themselves with the intent to end their lives, and they die because of their actions. It’s best to avoid the use of terms like “committing suicide” or a “successful suicide” when referring to a death by suicide as these terms often carry negative connotations.

A suicide attempt is when people harm themselves with the intent to end their lives, but they do not die because of their actions.

Who Is At Risk For Suicide?

Suicide does not discriminate. People of all genders, ages, and ethnicities can be at risk.

The main risk factors for suicide are:

  • A prior suicide attempt
  • Depression and other mental health disorders
  • Substance abuse disorder
  • Family history of a mental health or substance abuse disorder
  • Family history of suicide
  • Family violence, including physical or sexual abuse
  • Having guns or other firearms in the home
  • Being in prison or jail
  • Being exposed to others’ suicidal behavior, such as a family member, peer, or media figure
  • Medical illness
  • Being between the ages of 15 and 24 years or over age 60 

Even among people who have risk factors for suicide, most do not attempt suicide. It remains difficult to predict who will act on suicidal thoughts.

What Are The Warning Signs Of Suicide?

Something to look out for when concerned that a person may be suicidal is a change in behavior or the presence of entirely new behaviors. This is of sharpest concern if the new or changed behavior is related to a painful event, loss, or change. Most people who take their lives exhibit one or more warning signs, either through what they say or what they do.

Warning sign: Talk

If a person talks about:

  • Killing themselves
  • Feeling hopeless
  • Having no reason to live
  • Being a burden to others
  • Feeling trapped
  • Unbearable pain

Warning sign: Behavior

Behaviors that may signal risk, especially if related to a painful event, loss or change:

  • Increased use of alcohol or drugs
  • Looking for a way to end their lives, such as searching online for methods
  • Withdrawing from activities
  • Isolating from family and friends
  • Sleeping too much or too little
  • Visiting or calling people to say goodbye
  • Giving away prized possessions
  • Aggression
  • Fatigue

Warning sign: Mood

People who are considering suicide often display one or more of the following moods:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Loss of interest
  • Irritability
  • Humiliation/Shame
  • Agitation/Anger
  • Relief/Sudden Improvement

What Can I Do?

What can you do when someone is at risk? 


  • Have an honest conversation
  • Talk to them in private
  • Listen to their story
  • Tell them you care about them

Ask directly if they are thinking about suicide   

  • “Are you thinking about killing yourself?”
  • Have you thought about how you might hurt yourself? 
  • Is there anything that would prevent you from harming yourself? 

Encourage them to seek treatment or contact their doctor or therapist

Avoid debating the value of life, minimizing their problems or giving advice

#Bethe1to: Be there: 

  • Take the person seriously:
    • Listen to their reasons for feeling hopeless and in pain.
    • Listen with compassion and empathy and without dismissing or judging.
    • Help them focus on their reasons for living
  • Stay with them
  • Help them remove lethal means
  • Escort them to mental health services or an emergency room 


988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline Opens in new window

Crisis Text Line:  Text TALK to 741741 to text with a trained crisis counselor from the Crisis Text Line for free, 24/7

Hope Starts Here for the Orange County Crisis Call Center logo with phone number 311 Opens in new windowIn Orange County, NY dial 311 for the Orange County Crisis Call Center for crisis support, information, and linkage to services.

Trevor Project The Trevor Project is the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer & questioning (LGBTQ) young people under 25.

Trevor Project Lifeline1-866-488-7386 or Trevor Text :Text Start to 678-678

Veterans Crisis Line Are you a Veteran in crisis or concerned about one? Connect with the Veterans Crisis Line to reach caring, qualified responders with the Department of Veterans Affairs. Many of them are Veterans themselves.




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The information provided on this page is from the National Institute of Mental Health 
American Foundation for Suicide Prevention