Suicide: Symptoms & Signs

Medically Reviewed on 9/10/2019

Suicide is a potentially preventable public health problem that is the 10th leading overall cause of death in the U.S. In 2015, suicide was the third leading cause of death in the U.S. among people 10-14 years of age and the second leading cause of death among those 15-34 years of age.

Risk factors for thoughts of suicide can vary with age, gender and ethnic group, and these risk factors often occur in combination. Over 90% of people who die by suicide have depression or another diagnosable mental or substance abuse disorder, often in combination with other mental disorders. Adverse or traumatic life events in combination with other risk factors such as depression may lead to suicide, but suicide and suicidal behavior should not be considered normal responses to stress.

Other risk factors for suicide include prior suicide attempt(s), family history of mental disorder or substance abuse, family history of suicide, family violence, physical or sexual abuse, keeping firearms in the home, incarceration, and exposure to the suicidal behavior of others.

Related Symptoms & Signs

Other causes of suicide

  • Chronic or Terminal Illness
  • Conduct Disorder
  • Medications
  • Physical or Emotional Abuse
  • Sexual Abuse
  • "Suicide Contagion"
  • Traumatic or Tragic Life Events

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United States. National Institute of Mental Health. National Institutes of Health. "Suicide." <>.