Lake Cumberland District Health Department
A healthy today for a brighter tomorrow.
Suicide is when a person wants to harm themselves with the goal of ending their own life. Suicidal thoughts or actions are a sign of extreme distress and an indicator that someone needs help. Talking about and wanting to die are not a typical response to stress. All talk of suicide should be taken seriously and requires immediate attention.
Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States. Suicide prevention, education, and research can help to prevent the untimely death of over 47,000 Americans each year. In 2019, there were an estimated 1.38 million suicide attempts.
Suicide is the second leading cause of death for youth and young adults in Kentucky. According to the Kentucky Youth Risk Behavior Survey, 15 percent of Kentucky high school students (1 in 7) reported having seriously considered suicide within a 12-month period. In addition, 17.4 percent of Kentucky middle school students (nearly 1 in 5) reported that they had seriously considered killing themselves at some point in their lives. However, experts say that suicide can be preventable. When educators, students and communities learn warning signs and how to take action when a young person might be at risk of a suicidal crisis, lives can be saved. – Ky.Gov
Suicide rates increased approximately 36% between 2000–2021. Suicide was responsible for 48,183 deaths in 2021, which is about one death every 11 minutes.3 The number of people who think about or attempt suicide is even higher. In 2021, an estimated 12.3 million American adults seriously thought about suicide, 3.5 million planned a suicide attempt, and 1.7 million attempted suicide.4
In 2021, suicide was among the top 9 leading causes of death for people ages 10-64. Suicide was the second leading cause of death for people ages 10-14 and 20-34.3
Suicide rates vary by race/ethnicity, age, and other factors, such as where someone lives. By race/ethnicity, the groups with the highest rates are non-Hispanic American Indian/Alaska Native people followed by non-Hispanic White people.3 Other Americans with higher-than-average rates of suicide are veterans, people who live in rural areas, and workers in certain industries and occupations like mining and construction.5,6 Young people who identify as lesbian, gay, or bisexual have higher prevalence of suicidal thoughts and behavior compared to their peers who identify as heterosexual.7 Read more about these suicide disparities and why they exist on this page. – Ky.Gov
Contact the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline if you are experiencing mental health-related distress or are worried about a loved one who may need crisis support.
Connect with a trained crisis counselor. 988 is confidential, free, and available 24/7/365.
Visit the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline for more information at 988lifeline.org.