A young musician in the community where I live recently killed himself. I didn't know him, but friends tell me he was hit with a "perfect storm" of setbacks -- his girlfriend broke up with him, he lost his job, and a couple of other things that seem so trivial in relation to his fatal act. He was only 21. Nearly all adults (and many children) knew somebody who died by their own hand. Suicide is depressingly common. In fact, depression is the strongest risk factor for suicide, according to Suicide Awareness Voices of Education, a non-profit group dedicated to prevent this final, desperate action. SAVE has compiled a long list of facts about suicide here. Here are some of them:
Suicide kills nearly 30,000 Americans every year, including nearly 37,000 in 2009.
More than half of all suicides are committed by men ages 25-65.
The No. 1 location in the U.S. for suicides is the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, where more than 1,500 people have jumped to their deaths.
Suicide rates in the United States are highest in the spring.
More than half of all suicides (56% from 2005-2009) are committed with a gun.
Suicide is the third-leading cause of death for people ages 15-24.
For every successful suicide, there are an estimated eight to 25 attempts.The highest suicide rate is among men over 85 years old: 65 per 100,000 persons.
The country with the highest suicide rate is Greenland, where 100 per 100,000 residents kill themselves annually. This is 24 times the rate of the U.S. and twice the rate of Japan, another country well-known for suicides. Now read this: