Facts and Figures



There is no single cause of suicide. In most cases suicide is the result of a combination of different risk factors (e.g., mental illness, substance abuse, painful losses, family stressors, access to means of self-harm) in conjunction with one or more precipitating life events. These “triggers,” such as a break-up or being bullied are rarely the only “cause” of suicide, but rather the “last straw” that pushes an already at-risk individual over the edge. An important statistic shows that 90% of people across all ages who die by suicide have a diagnosable mental disorder at the time of their death. This is why identifying and treating mental illnesses is crucial in working to prevent suicide.

Click here for more information about Risk Factors


  • Suicide is the second leading cause of death for young people ages 10-34 years olds and results in approximately 4600 young lives lost each year.
  • Across all ages there were 41,149 suicides in 2013 in the United States – a rate of 12.6 per 100,000 is equal to 113 suicides each day or one every 13 minutes.
  • The top three methods used in suicides of young people include firearms (45%), suffocation (40%), and poisoning (8%).
  • Each year, approximately 157,000 youth between the ages of 10-24 receive medical care for self-inflicted injuries at Emergency Departments across the U.S.
  • There is an estimated 100-200 suicide attempts for each death by suicide among young people.

– CDC, Suicide Facts at a Glance (pdf)


Data from the 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health shows that in youth ages 12-17:

  • 4% of adolescents experienced a major depressive episode.
  • Youth who had a major depressive episode in the past year were more likely to have used illicit drugs in the past year
  • 5% or 1 in 20 adolescents had a Substance Use Disorder

– SAMHSA’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 2014

Date from the 2013 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Youth Risk Behavior Survey revealed that in the previous year before the survey:

  • 17% of responding US high school students (Nationally) seriously considered attempting suicide: 15.5% (Chicago), 18.9% (Illinois)
  • 6% of students (Nationally) made a suicide plan: 13.9% (Chicago), 16.9% (Illinois)
  • 8% (Nationally) attempted suicide one or more times: 9.9% (Chicago), 12.4% (Illinois)
  • 7% (Nationally) made a suicide attempt that required medical attention: 3.5% (Chicago), 5.6% (Illinois)

– Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System, 2013

Gender Disparities

  • Boys are four times more likely than girls to die by suicide and most commonly use firearms
  • Girls are three times more likely to report attempting suicide than boys and most commonly use poisoning

– CDC, Suicide datasheet (pdf)

Adolescent Mental Health in Illinois

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s 2014 Behavioral Health Barometer among adolescents 12 to 17 years old in Illinois:

  • 5% suffered a major depressive episode and more than half did not receive treatment
  • 3% reported using illicit drugs within the month prior to being surveyed

– SAMHSA’s Behavioral Health Barometer, Illinois 2014