Suicide and Depression
Although the majority of people who have depression do not die by suicide, having major depression does increase suicide risk compared to people without depression. The risk of death by suicide may, in part, be related to the severity of the depression. New data from studies that have followed people with depression over long periods of time suggest that:
- About 2 percent of those people ever treated for depression in an outpatient setting will die by suicide. Among those ever treated for depression in an inpatient hospital setting, the rate of death by suicide is twice as high (4 percent).
- Those treated for depression as inpatients following suicide ideation or suicide attempts are about three times as likely to die by suicide (6 percent) as those who were only treated as outpatients.
- There are also dramatic gender differences in lifetime risk of suicide in people with depression. Whereas about 7 percent of men with a lifetime history of depression will die by suicide, only 1 percent of women with a lifetime history of depression will die by suicide.
Some other statistics related to suicide in general include:
- Most popular press articles suggest a link between the winter holidays and suicides (Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania 2003). However, this claim is just a myth. In fact, suicide rates in the United States are lowest in the winter and highest in the spring (CDC 1985, McCleary et al. 1991, Warren et al. 1983).
- Suicide took the lives of 30,622 people in 2001 (CDC 2004).
- Suicide rates are generally higher than the national average in the western states and lower in the eastern and midwestern states (CDC 1997).
- In 2002, 132,353 individuals were hospitalized following suicide attempts; 116,639 were treated in emergency departments and released (CDC 2004).
- In 2001, 55 percent of suicides were committed with a firearm (Anderson and Smith 2003).