Suicide: Consequences

Suicide and Suicide Attempts Take an Enormous Toll on Society

  • Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death among Americans.1
  • Nearly 45,000 people died by suicide in 2016.1
  • An estimated 1.3 million people made a suicide attempt in the past year.2
  • Almost 10 million adults reported having serious thoughts about suicide in the past year.2
  • Suicide and self-harm injuries cost society about $70 billion a year in combined medical and work loss costs.1


  • 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.3
  • 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.4,5
  • No exact figure exists, but it is estimated that between 6 and 32 survivors exist for each suicide, depending on the definition used.6
  • According to another estimate, approximately 7% of the U.S. population knew someone who died by suicide during the past 12 months.7


  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2018). Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System (WISQARS). Available from
  2. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2017). Key substance use and mental health indicators in the United States: Results from the 2016 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (HHS Publication No. SMA 17-5044, NSDUH Series H-52). Retrieved from https://www.
  3. Brent D. (2010). What family studies teach us about suicidal behavior: implications for research, treatment, and prevention.  Eur Psychiatry 25(5):260–263.
  4. Jordan J. (2001). Is suicide bereavement different? A reassessment of the literature. Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior. 31(1): 91–102.
  5. American Association for Suicidology. Surviving after suicide factsheet. Available online: Cdc-pdf[139 KB, 3 Pages, Print Only]External
  6. Berman, AL. (2011). Estimating the population of survivors of suicide: Seeking an evidence base. Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior 41(1), 110–116.
  7. Crosby AE, Sacks JJ. (1994). Exposure to suicide: Incidence and association with suicidal ideation and behavior – United States, 1994. Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior 32:321–328.
Need Help? Know Someone Who Does?

Contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255) or use the online Lifeline Crisis Chat

Contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

Both are free and confidential. You’ll be connected to a skilled, trained counselor in your area.

For more information, visit the National Suicide Prevention LifelineExternal.

Page last reviewed: September 6, 2018