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About Suicide

 What is it?

Suicide is the intentional taking of one's own life.


 Why do people struggle with suicide?

While the reasons a person may experience thoughts of suicide are complex and varied, suicidal thoughts indicate that a person is in need of support and resources for what they are experiencing. It could be related to depression, the loss of a friend, loss of a job, divorce/affair, or any number of events that may be disrupting their life. Many may or may not be receiving help for a mental or emotional disorder.
No matter the “why,” it is important to remember that suicide is preventable. When linked with support, the vast majority of people who experience thoughts of suicide go on to live fulfilling lives. Suicide is not inevitable. Help works. And remember, talking with someone about suicide in a gentle and caring manner does not make someone suicidal.

  What are the warning signs?

Some warning signs may help you determine if a loved one is at risk for suicide, especially if the behavior is new, has increased or seems related to a painful event, loss or change. 

  • Acting anxious or agitated; behaving recklessly
  • Extreme mood swings
  • Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs
  • Looking for a way to kill themselves, including online searches for suicide-related topics or buying a firearm
  • Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge
  • Talking about wanting to die or to kill themselves
  • Talking about feeling hopeless or having no reason to live
  • Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain
  • Talking about being a burden to others
  • Sleeping too little or too much
  • Withdrawing or isolating themselves

 Who does suicide affect?

Suicide thoughts, attempts and completion affect many Iowans. Suicide does not discriminate, and can affect anyone. In 2015, suicide was the 10th leading cause of death for all Iowans

  • Suicide disproportionately affects some age groups. In 2018, suicide was the second leading cause of death for Iowans ages 15-44, third leading cause of death for Iowans ages 5-14, and fifth leading cause of death for Iowans ages 45-54.
  • Approximately 47,511 Americans die by suicide every year – an average of one person every 11.1 minutes (Source:
  • Four times as many men kill themselves as women, although 3 times as many women attempt suicide. In Iowa, suicide was the eighth leading cause of death for men. 
  • Firearms are the most utilized method of suicide.
  • Surviving family members and friends are at a higher risk for suicide and emotional problems.

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