Survivors of Suicide

by Peggy Sweeney

Suicide is a serious topic that we rarely discuss. Yet, each year thousands of adults and children either attempt or complete suicide to resolve problems or put an end to emotional pain. As a result of their deaths, surviving family members and friends not only grieve but must cope with feelings of guilt and anger as well.

According to the American Association of Suicidolgy, statistics show that in 2014 approximately 42,773 people completed suicide [a minimal rate increase was seen from 2013 to 2014, continuing the recent rate increases after long-term trends of decline]. Suicide was the tenth leading cause of adult deaths in the United States; homicide ranked seventeenth. Specifically, more Americans kill themselves than are killed by others. 3.4 male deaths by suicide for each female death by suicide. An alarmingly high rate of suicide deaths was seen in young adults age 15-24 (second leading cause of death for this age group). Approximately 1,069,325 suicide attempts are made annually.

Survivors “know someone who died by suicide” and Suicide Loss Survivors are “those bereaved of suicide”. Research-based estimate suggests that for each death by suicide 147 people are exposed (6.3 million annually), and among those, 18 experience a major life disruption (1Cerel, 2015).

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