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Suicide: Consequences

Suicide and Suicide Attempts Take an Enormous Toll on Society

  • Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death among Americans.
  • More than 38,000 people died by suicide in 2010.
  • More than 1 million people reported making a suicide attempt in the past year.
  • More than 2 million adults reported thinking about suicide in the past year.
  • Most people who engage in suicidal behavior never seek health services.

Costs to Society

  • Suicide costs society approximately $34.6 billion a year in combined medical and work loss costs.
  • The average suicide costs $1,061,170.
    (CDC cost estimates based on 2005 data. Refers to people age 10 and over.)


  • A survivor of suicide is a family member or friend of a person who died by suicide.
  • Surviving the loss of loved one to suicide is a risk factor for suicide. (Brent, 2010; Brent et. al., 2006)
  • Surviving family members and close friends are deeply impacted by each suicide, and experience a range of complex grief reactions including, guilt, anger, abandonment, denial, helplessness, and shock (Jordon, 2001; AAS, 2008).
  • No exact figure exists, but it is estimated that a median of between 6 and 32 survivors exist for each suicide, depending on the definition used. (Berman, 2011).
  • According to another estimate, approximately 7% of the US population knew someone who died of suicide during the past 12 months. (Crosby and Sacks, 2002).


  1. American Association for Suicidology. Surviving after suicide factsheet. Available online:
  2. Berman, A. L. Estimating the population of survivors of suicide: Seeking an evidence base. Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior 2011. 41(1), 110–116.
  3. Brent, D. What family studies teach us about suicidal behavior: implications for research, treatment, and prevention. Eur Psychiatry 2010. 25(5):260–263.
  4. Brent, D.A., Bridge, J., Johnson, B.A., and Connolly, J. Suicidal behavior runs in families. A controlled family study of adolescent suicide victims. Arch Gen Psychiatry 1996. 53(12):1145–1152.
  5. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System (WISQARS). Atlanta, GA: National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. Available at Last modified January 2012.
  6. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Cost of Injury Reports 2005. Available online at Last updated April 2012.
  7. Crosby AE, Sacks JJ. Exposure to suicide: Incidence and association with suicidal ideation and behavior – United States, 1994. Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior 2002. 32:321–328.
  8. Jordan J. Is Suicide bereavement different? A reassessment of the literature. Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior 2001. 31(1): 91–102.


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  • Page last reviewed: December 31, 2013
  • Page last updated: December 31, 2013 The U.S. Government's Official Web PortalDepartment of Health and Human Services
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