Thursday, September 10, 2015

Report Finds 9.4 Million U.S. Adults Had Serious Thoughts of Suicide in 2014

In 2014, an estimated 9.4 million U.S. adults aged 18 or older (3.9% of all adults) had serious thoughts of suicide in the past year, including 2.7 million who made suicide plans and 1.1 million who made a nonfatal suicide attempt, according to a report released today by the Substance Abuse and Mental Services Administration (SAMHSA). The report also shows that these percentages have remained relatively stable since SAMHSA started tracking these issues in 2008.

The findings—which are based on SAMHSA’s 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health report, an annual national survey of 67,500 Americans aged 12 and older—point to several groups that may be at a particularly high risk of suicide. For example, 11.9% of adults with a substance use disorder in the past 12 months had serious thoughts of suicide, 3.9% of these adults made suicide plans, and 2.1% of these adults made nonfatal attempts at suicide. Similarly, rates of suicidal thoughts and behaviors were higher among adults who experienced a major depressive episode in the past 12 months. Around 29.5% of these adults reported serious thoughts of suicide, 9.7% made suicide plans, and 3.4% made nonfatal attempts at suicide.

Among adults in 2014 who had serious thoughts of suicide in the past year, nearly half (48.6%) did not receive any mental health services in the past year, and about 1 in 7 perceived a need for mental health care but did not obtain care.

“We can help prevent suicide through effective, science-based services,” Acting SAMHSA Administrator Kana Enomoto said in a press statement. “By reaching out to people contemplating suicide—everyone—family, friends, teachers, faith community leaders, co-workers, health care providers—can make a positive difference.”

SAMHSA is providing free copies of a booklet designed to help people who have attempted suicide take their first steps toward healing and recovery. A Journey Toward Health and Hope: Your Handbook for Recovery after a Suicide Attempt features firsthand experiences of individuals who have survived a suicide attempt and their supporters.

Today is World Suicide Prevention Day. The theme for this year—Preventing Suicide: Reaching Out and Saving Lives—is meant to highlight the importance of support and the role it can play in combating suicide. APA is posting messages on its social media throughout the day on suicide prevention. APA members are urged to join the conversation on Twitter at @APAPsychiatric and #SuicidePrevention and follow American Psychiatric Association on Facebook.


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